OpenBlock v1.1.0 documentation

Installing and Setting Up the Demo Site

These instructions will install the software in a similar configuration to . To start a custom application instead, please see Creating a Custom Site Based on OpenBlock.

(You can skip this if you are cloning an OpenBlock AMI.)

Step-By-Step Demo Installation

Basic Setup

First, follow all the instructions in the Preparing Your System document and Installing the Openblock Software

If you followed the Installing the Openblock Software instructions properly, you've already got a virtualenv ready. Go into it and activate it, if you haven't yet:

$ cd path/to/your/virtualenv
$ source bin/activate

Installing obdemo - stable release

obdemo is included as part of Installing Stable Packages.

You'll then want to make a copy of the skeleton settings file for editing, which lives at $VIRTUAL_ENV/lib/python2.*/site-packages/obdemo/

Installing obdemo for development

You can work on the latest development code of obdemo and its dependencies like this, assuming you've already taken care of Installing Development Code:

$ cd $VIRTUAL_ENV/src/openblock
$ pip install -r obdemo/requirements.txt
$ pip install -e obdemo

Editing Settings

You'll want to edit the demo's django settings at this point, or at least look at it to get an idea of what can be configured. There is also some configuration documentation you should look at.

obdemo doesn't come with a; it comes with a template that you can copy and edit.

(If you've installed OpenBlock sources from git, this file will be at $VIRTUAL_ENV/src/openblock/obdemo/obdemo/ If you've installed a stable release from pypi, it will be at $VIRTUAL_ENV/lib/python2.*/site-packages/obdemo/

$ cd path/to/obdemo
$ cp
$ favorite_editor

At minimum, you should change the values of:

  • PASSWORD_CREATE_SALT - this is used when users create a new account.
  • PASSWORD_RESET_SALT - this is used when users reset their passwords.
  • STAFF_COOKIE_VALUE - this is used for allowing staff members to see some parts of the site that other users cannot, such as types of news items that you're still working on.

You'll also want to think about Choosing Your Map Base Layer.

Database Initialization

You should already have taken care of Database Setup. Create the (empty) database with this command:

$ sudo -u postgres createdb -U openblock --template template_postgis openblock

Now initialize your database tables:

$ export DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE=obdemo.settings
$ syncdb --migrate

(The --migrate option is important; it loads some initial data that openblock depends on including stored procedures, and some default Schemas that you can try out, modify, and delete as needed.)

This will also prompt you to create an administrative user, which is a good idea.

Starting the Test Server

Run these commands to start the test server:

$ export DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE=obdemo.settings
$ runserver
  Development server is running at

You can now visit in your Web browser to see the site in action (with no data). You can log in to view the administrative site at .

Loading Demo Data

OpenBlock is pretty boring without data! You'll want to load some geographic data and some local news. We've included some example data for Boston, MA, and scraper scripts you can use to start with if you don't have all of your local data on hand yet.

Set your DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE environment variable before you begin:

$ export DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE=obdemo.settings

First you'll want to load Boston geographies. This will take several minutes:

$ import_boston_zips
$ import_boston_hoods
$ import_boston_blocks

Then fetch some news from the web, this will take several minutes:

$ import_boston_news

For testing with random data you might also want to get the misc directory from the OpenBlock source code, and try the random-news script like so:

$ src/openblock/misc/bin/ 10 local-news

... where 10 is the number of random articles to generate, and 'local-news' is a Schema slug. You must first have some blocks in the database; it will assign randomly generated local news articles to randomly chosen blocks.

Next Steps

Now that you have the demo running, you might want to add some more custom content types to it, and write some scraper scripts to populate them.