Content Management System for the Parliamentary Monitoring Group
Python HTML CSS JavaScript
Latest commit 9c80a0e Feb 20, 2017 @xybrnet xybrnet committed on GitHub Merge pull request #195 from Code4SA/fix-user-following-list
Show all committees a user follows under 'Committees you follow' tab

Parliamentary Monitoring Group website

Parliamentary monitoring application for use by the Parliamentary Monitoring Group in Cape Town, South Africa. See:

What does this project do

Allow citizens and other interested parties to monitor what's going on in the South African parliament. With specific focus on tracking the progress of legislation as it moves through the various phases: from being introduced for the first time to finally being approved and signed into law.

The purpose of the project is to improve parliamentary oversight, make the parliamentary process more accessible and improve transparency surrounding the activities of parliament.

How it works

The project consists of the following major components:

  • User-facing website, including free and paid-for content (built using Flask, Jinja2 templates, Bootstrap and jQuery)
  • Database (PostgreSQL)
  • Search engine (Elastic Search)
  • Admin interface (Flask-Admin, integration with Mandrill for email notifications)
  • API (Flask)

Making use of the API

All of the data that is displayed through the frontend website, is served through an API at which is freely accessible. However, please note that access to some content on the frontend website is restricted, and the same restrictions apply for the API.

Contributing to the project

This project is open-source, and anyone is welcome to contribute. If you just want to make us aware of a bug / make a feature request, then please add a new GitHub Issue (if a similar one does not already exist).

NOTE: On 2015-07-05 we removed some very large files from the repo and its history, reducing the size of the repo from over 100MB to 30MB. This required re-writing the history of the repo. You must pull and rebase your changes.

If you want to contribute to the code, please fork the repository, make your changes, and create a pull request.

Local setup

Install the PostgreSQL database server. It's a useful idea to setup [passwordless authentication for local connections][].

You'll also need the psql and libxml development libraries. On Ubuntu, use sudo apt-get install libpq-devel libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev python-dev. On Mac OS X, use brew install libxml2.

You'll need python 2.7 and virtualenv.

Clone this repo, and setup a virtualenv:

virtualenv --no-site-packages env
source env/bin/activate

Install requirements:

pip install -r requirements.txt

Add the following lines to your .hosts file:

Create the pmg user with password pmg, and an empty database:

createuser pmg -P
createdb -O pmg pmg

Get a copy of the production database from a colleague, or setup a blank database. If you have a database copy, run:

gunzip -c pmg.sql.gz | psql -U pmg

Start the server:

python runserver

You should now see it running at and

Running tests

Create a test database:

psql -c 'create database pmg_test'
psql -c 'grant all privileges on database pmg_test to pmg'

Then run the tests:

nosetests tests

Deployment instructions

Deployment is to dokku, a Heroku-like environment. To deploy, simply push to the git remote:

git push dokku

Sensitive configuration variables are set as environment variables using Heroku or dokku config:set, the important ones are:

  • FLASK_ENV=production

Reindexing for Search

To re-index all content for search, run:

ssh run python bin/ --reindex all

This isn't normally necessary as the search index is updated as items are created, updated and deleted. It can be useful when the index has become out of date. Search functionality will fail while the indexing is in progress. Re-indexing takes about 10 minutes.

Database migration

We use Flask-Migrate and Alembic for applying changes to the data model. To setup a migration script:

python db migrate -m "<revision description>"

Then to run the script on your local machine:

python db upgrade