Getting Started

Local environment setup

When developing your Keel app locally there are two things which you'll probably want to setup - our CLI and our VSCode extension. Our CLI lets you run your project and develop against your APIs locally whilst our VSCode extension provides inline validation, formatting, and syntax highlighting for Keel schema files.

Install the CLI

The easiest way to install our CLI is via Homebrew (opens in a new tab).

$ brew tap teamkeel/homebrew-keel
$ brew install keel

You can check the installation by running keel version in your termimal.

$ keel version

In the future we'll support other installation methods for the CLI (such as npm) and also platforms other than Mac. In the interim, linux users can install the CLI via Homebrew, and Windows users can do the same via WSL (opens in a new tab).


You will need to install the following dependencies in order to use the Keel CLI locally:


Node.js is used for running your functions and tests. We require Node version 18 or higher.

You can install Node.js using the installer which is available from (opens in a new tab).


Docker is used to run a local Postgres database. We only require that Docker is installed and running, you don't need to configure it in any way.

On a Mac the easiest way to run Docker is by installing Docker Desktop (opens in a new tab).

As well as being installed Docker needs to be running, which you can check by running docker ps in your terminal. If you see an error that says "Cannot connect to the Docker daemon" then most likely Docker Desktop is not running.


You need postgres (opens in a new tab) installed on your machine to run Keel locally.

VSCode Extension


This extension only works in the desktop version of VSCode and not in the browser.

The Keel VSCode extension provides inline validation, formatting, and syntax highlighting for Keel schema files. You can find the extension by searching for “Keel” in the Extensions tab in VSCode, or click the button below:

Autoformatting in the extension

You can enable autoformatting of your Keel schema by opening your VSCode settings (CMD + P and then type and select "Preferences: Open User Settings (JSON)"), and add the following configuration:

  "[keel]": {
    "editor.formatOnSave": true

If you already have the top-level configuration value editor.formatOnSave set to true, then this will also work too.