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Repository of AdventureLookup, a search engine for tabletop adventures. AdventureLookup was originally proposed by Matt Colville in this video.

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Contributing to Adventure Lookup

AdventureLookup is an Open Source project. You do not need programming experience to contribute to the project! Please read the file for more information on how to contribute.

Setting up a development environment

We are trying to make contributing as easy as possible by providing the Gitpod and Vagrant setups described in this section. If you run into any issues while setting up your development environment, please let us know by opening an issue.

To get you up and running quickly, you have three options to set up your development environment:

  1. Gitpod online IDE
  2. Vagrant with VirtualBox
  3. Vagrant with Docker

Using Gitpod is by far the simplest approach: All you have to do is click the following button and sign in with GitHub. A VSCode-based online IDE will spin up with all dependencies preinstalled. The rest of this section is only relevant when using Vagrant.

Gitpod Open-Online-IDE

If you don't want to use an online IDE, but instead use your own editor, you should use Vagrant and either VirtualBox or Docker to start up a VM/container with all the dependencies preinstalled.

Using VirtualBox is recommended if you have are using Windows without Hyper-V available/enabled. In all other cases, Docker is recommended and faster.

After downloading and installing Vagrant and either VirtualBox or Docker:

# Clone the repo to your local machine (this is readonly; you need to fork if you want write)
git clone

cd AdventureLookup

# Create and provision the VM
# This takes quite some time on the very first start

# If you installed Docker:
vagrant up --provider=docker

# If you installed VirtualBox
vagrant up --provider=virtualbox

Execute the following commands to finish the installation:

# Log into the VM
vagrant ssh
# You should be inside the /vagrant folder.

# Install PHP dependencies
composer install -n --no-suggest

# Install Frontend dependencies, can be run outside the virtual machine
npm install

# Setup database (confirm with 'y')
php bin/console doctrine:migrations:migrate

# Create Elasticsearch index
# This command will log a warning when run for the very first time.
# You can safely ignore it.
# WARNING   [elasticsearch] Request Failure: ...
php bin/console app:elasticsearch:reindex

# You can either generate random adventures or load real adventures from
# Please note that loading real adventures might not always work, since the development version
# might expect a different API response than the version on provides.
# In addition, adventures fetched from don't include change requests or reviews.

# Either load random adventures (confirm with 'y')
php bin/console doctrine:fixtures:load --fixtures src/AppBundle/DataFixtures/ORM/RandomAdventureData.php

# Or load real adventures (confirm with 'y')
php bin/console doctrine:fixtures:load --fixtures src/AppBundle/DataFixtures/ORM/RealAdventureData.php

# Re-create the search index after loading adventures.
php bin/console app:elasticsearch:reindex

You can execute the following command to create dummy users:

# Creates 'user', 'curator' and 'admin' users, all with password 'asdf'
php bin/console doctrine:fixtures:load --append --fixtures src/AppBundle/DataFixtures/ORM/TestUserData.php

If you didn't use Vagrant but an existing MySQL database, adjust the app/config/parameters.yml file to match your database credentials.

Running the application

# Start Symfony development server on port 8000 to run the application
# Must be run inside the virtual machine you used `vagrant ssh` to get into earlier
php bin/console server:start

# Start webpack to watch changes to assets and recompile them
# Can be run inside the virtual machine or outside of the virtual machine
# If run inside the virtual machine:
npm run dev-server-guest
# If run outside the virtual machine:
npm run dev-server-host

# Wait until you see 'DONE Compiled successfully in XXXXms' (may take a few seconds)

The application is now running at http://localhost:8000. ElasticSearch can be accessed at http://localhost:9200.

Running tests

Tests use PHPUnit to run. There are three testsuites, one with unit tests, one with functional tests and one with browser tests. Unit tests can be executed like this:

php vendor/symfony/phpunit-bridge/bin/simple-phpunit --testsuite unittests

Functional tests can be executed like so:

php vendor/symfony/phpunit-bridge/bin/simple-phpunit --testsuite functional

Browser tests require Google Chrome with remote debugging enabled as well as the application running in the test environment. To do that, execute bash scripts/ once before executing the tests. There is no need to call the script again until you reboot. Then execute the following to run the browser tests:

npm run build
php bin/console cache:clear --env test
php vendor/symfony/phpunit-bridge/bin/simple-phpunit --testsuite browser


If you want to dump the contents of a variable, the simplest way is to call dump($var). dump() is a function provided by Symfony. The result is displayed in the web debug toolbar.

You can also debug your code using XDebug by setting breakpoints.

  • For Gitpod, select "Debug" in the left toolbar and then run the [gitpod] Debug PHP Server task.
  • For Vagrant+VSCode, install the PHP Debug extension and run the [vagrant] Debug PHP Server launch configuration.

Then set a breakpoint and refresh your browser. The code should halt at the breakpoint. You do not need to install a browser extension to enable XDebug.

Ports used in development

Port Forwarded to host machine Purpose
3306 no MySQL
5900 yes VNC server (see scripts/
8000 yes Application dev server
8001 yes Webpack dev server if run from within Vagrant
8002 no Webpack dev server if run from outside Vagrant
8003 no Application test server
9000 no * XDebug
9200 yes ElasticSearch
9222 no Chrome Remote Debugging

* debugging from your host works without forwarding the port, since XDebug connects to your host (in contrast to your host connecting to xdebug).

Tools used

  • Ubuntu 18.04 as the server
  • MySQL 5.7 to store the adventures
  • Elasticsearch 7.16.0 to search the adventures
  • PHP7.4 to run the application
  • Symfony 3 as the web framework
  • Composer as PHP package manager
  • Node.js 12 and npm 6 for frontend package management
  • Symfony Encore / Webpack for bundling frontend assets

Running the application in production

For information about server configuration, checkout the Symfony guide on server config. Make sure to read the Symfony guide on permissions if you run into permission problems.

You should configure your websever to set never-expiring cache headers for the /assets path (located in web/assets). Example Nginx configuration:

location /assets {
    expires max;
    add_header Pragma public;
    add_header Cache-Control "public";