Developer Setup

Below componets must all exist and correctly setup.

Install browser extension

git clone
cd localnative-browser-extension/app
npm i -g web-ext
web-ext run --verbose # firefox

Setup browser extension host binary

  • Download and run the desktop applcation from release archive

    this will create ~/LocalNative/bin directory containing the host binary

  • or use cargo install localnative_cli, and find the binary at ~/.cargo/bin/localnative-web-ext-host

  • or build from source, via cargo

cd localnative-rs
cargo build

Setup native messaging manifest to point to extension host binary

  • Copy manifest json template file app.localnative.json from localnative-browser-extension/host to your browser's specific manifest location
  • Change the host path in app.localnative.json to where localnative-web-ext-host binary is from previous step
Firefox example manifest file


  "name": "app.localnative",
  "description": "Local Native Host",
  "path": "/home/USER/.cargo/bin/localnative-web-ext-host",
  "type": "stdio",
  "allowed_extensions": [
Chromium example manifest file


  "name": "app.localnative",
  "description": "Local Native Host",
  "path": "/home/USER/.cargo/bin/localnative-web-ext-host",
  "type": "stdio",
  "allowed_origins": [
    // use this ID if you install from chrome web store,
    // or add/change to what the actual ID is if you "LOAD UNPACKED" from source.

Setup Node.js global binaries

currently the rust host binary calls some node.js binaries for ssb work, so

npm i -g localnative

the host may not know the global node bin path, if so cd to where you node global bin directory, and

(sudo) ln -s localnative-ssb* /usr/local/bin/

Start a sbot server

The web extension send message to localnative-web-ext-host and writes new note to sqlite first, upon response to display the search result, and finally try to sync with ssb.

If sbot server is not running, the host will just error out, next requet will still be fine because each message is independent from each other.

You can use those softwares:

Patchwork: simpler user friendly UI.

Patchbay: more advanced, and show the raw json of each message for easiler debugging, combined with custom filter and good enough free text search.


If above things are correctly setup, localnative.sqlite3 database file is created at the directory ~/.ssb/localnative.sqlite3 the first time you click the web ext popup.

hint to see what localnative-web-ext-host went wrong:

RUST_BACKTRACE=1 chromium-browser
RUST_BACKTRACE=1 web-ext run --verbose

You can use DB Browser for SQLite to explore the database, and adding other device's ssb public key as author in the ssb table.