Carnegie Mellon Activities Board Technical Committee Tracker
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AB Tech Tracker

The tech tracker is a specialized web application used internally by Carnegie Mellon University's Activities Board Technical Committee. Its major features are event planning/organization, incoming email management, financial tracking, and membership management (including payroll and timecard generation). It was originally written in ~2003 in perl-style Rails 1.x, and through the years has been taken over and upgraded by various techies.

The current version of ABTT uses Ruby 2.3.1 and Rails Postfix is used for sending emails, and Sphinx is used for searching events.

Development Notes

Work on large new features should be done in branches and/or forks; smaller changes can be done in master. The production branch should always be deployable.

A few steps are required to start developing with ABTT. You can install all of the required gems using the command bundle install. Rails requires you to generate a secret key which cannot be stored in source control. Running rake secret will generate a token, after which you should create a file config/secrets.yml with the following text, where X is your generated secret token:

  secret_key_base: X
  secret_key_base: X
  secret_key_base: X

Optimally, each X should be a different value.

A Devise configuration file is required for the membership model. One can be generated with the command rails g devise Member. The generated configuration (and therefore, the membership data in the database) may not be compatible with production ABTT. If using a copy of the production database, this may mean you will either have to edit some records with rails c to allow you to log in, or request a copy of the production Devise configuration file.

ABTT does not currently have a database seed, so if you are not provided with a copy of the production database, you need to create a database yourself. The only data required for running the app is a member object that you can log in as. After you have configured the config/database.yml file to point to a local empty MySQL database, you can run the command rake db:schema:load to create the required tables, and you can use rails c to load a console with which you can create a Member object. The syntax for doing so is similar to the following:

Member.create(namefirst: "First Name", namelast: "Last Name", email: "", phone: "5555555555", aim: "", password: "password", password_confirmation: "password", payrate: 0.0, tracker_dev: true)

You must install Sphinx if you wish to use the event search feature. You can then generate an index by running the command rails ts:rebuild on the server.

You must install Postfix if you wish to send emails from ABTT. No configuration for Postfix is required.

Email pulling

ABTT includes a rake task called email:idle which will connect to a Gmail account and continuously pull email from it in the background. To do so, you need to get a client ID/secret from Google, and generate a refresh token for the Gmail account you want to authenticate with. Note: if you do not use the email:idle task, the following instructions are unnecessary.

  1. Go to the Google APIs console, select "APIs & auth > Credentials", and click Create new Client ID.

  2. Choose "Installed Application", and then "Other". If you are requested to set up a Consent screen, enter an email address and a product name, and continue.

  3. Once you have a Client ID and Client secret, download the tool.

  4. python --generate_oauth2_token --client_id=CLIENT_ID --client_secret=CLIENT_SECRET

    Make sure to replace CLIENT_ID and CLIENT_SECRET with the appropriate values.

  5. Among the output will be a value labeled "refresh token". Use this and the client ID and secret to create a configuration file (which should be located at config/email.yml):

  :email: ""
  :name: "inbox"
  :port: 993
  :host: ''
  :ssl: true
  :refresh_token: "REFRESH_TOKEN"
  :client_id: "CLIENT_ID"
  :client_secret: "CLIENT_SECRET"

GroupMe notifications

ABTT can send text messages to a GroupMe chat about upcoming calls and strikes for events that have a "textable" flag set. To enable this, you must set up a GroupMe bot and put the bot ID string in a configuration file, which should be located at config/groupme.yml:

  :bot_id: "BOT_ID"


Capistrano is used for deployment. Configuration is included in source control which can be used for deployment to both the staging server and production. The canonical servers deploy under the abtech account, which you must be able to login to via public-key authentication.

Examples of commands:

cap staging deploy                        # Deploy the master branch to tracker-dev
cap production deploy                     # Deploy the production branch to tracker
cap production thinking_sphinx:rebuild    # Rebuild the production search index
cap production thinking_sphinx:restart    # Restart the production search daemon
cap production foreman_systemd:restart    # Restart the production email pulling daemon