Connexions web site
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Below are instructions for hosting and building the site and a layout of how the code is organized.

CNX webview is designed to be run as a frontend for cnx-archive.


  1. If necessary, install Node.js and npm (included with Node.js).
  2. Run npm install --global n to install the node version manager
  3. Run ./script/bootstrap in the command line to install all the package dependencies.
  • Note: npm install runs bower install and grunt install, both of which can also be run independently
    • bower install downloads front-end dependencies
    • grunt install compiles the Aloha-Editor (which is downloaded by bower)

By default, webview will use cnx-archive and cnx-authoring hosted on


From the root webview directory, run ./script/setup.

The dist directory containing the built site will be added to the root webview directory.


From the root webview directory, run ./script/test (which runs npm test). npm test failures are not as informative as they could be. If coffeelint fails, you can run it with grunt coffeelint to get more information


From the root webview directory, run ./script/update, which executes the following commands:

  1. npm update
  2. bower update
  3. grunt aloha --verbose


Quick Development Setup

  1. Install nginx
  2. Run ./script/start (uses nginx.development.conf)
  3. (optional) Install
  4. Point your browser to http://localhost:8000
  5. Run ./script/stop to stop nginx

Customization Notes

  1. Update settings in src/scripts/settings.js if necessary to, for example, include the correct Google Analytics ID, and to point to wherever cnxarchive is being hosted.

For example, if the data you are working with is located on, you can change src/scripts/settings.js as follows:

cnxarchive: {
  host: '',
  port: 80
  1. Ensure resources are being served with the correct MIME type, including fonts.
  • Example nginx MIME types that may need to be added:
  types {
      image/svg+xml           svg svgz;
      font/truetype           ttf;
      font/opentype           otf;
      application/font-woff   woff;
  1. Configure your server to point at dist/index.html (or src/index.html for development)
  • Unresolveable URIs should load dist/index.html or src/index.html
  • If not hosting the site from the domain root, update root in src/scripts/settings.js
  • scripts, styles, and images routes should be rewritten to the correct paths

Example nginx config

You can, for example, point at the server hosting the cnxarchive you want to work with. This will point all the resources to the proper server.

server {
    listen 8000; # dev
    listen [::]:8000; # dev ipv6
    listen 8001; # production
    listen [::]:8001; # production ipv6
    server_name  _;

    # Support both production and dev
    set $ROOT "src";
    if ($server_port ~ "8001") {
        set $ROOT "dist";

    root /path/to/webview/$ROOT/;

    index index.html;
    try_files $uri @prerender;

    # Proxy resources and exports to
    # since they are not part of the locally hosted package
    location /resources/ {
    location /exports/ {

    # For development only
    location ~ ^.*/bower_components/(.*)$ {
        alias /path/to/webview/bower_components/$1;

    location ~ ^.*/(data|scripts|styles|images|fonts)/(.*) {
        try_files $uri /$1/$2;

    # Prerender for SEO
    location @prerender {
        # Support page prerendering for web crawlers
        set $prerender 0;
        if ($http_user_agent ~* "baiduspider|twitterbot|facebookexternalhit|rogerbot|linkedinbot|embedly|quora link preview|showyoubot|outbrain|pinterest") {
            set $prerender 1;
        if ($args ~ "_escaped_fragment_") {
            set $prerender 1;
        if ($http_user_agent ~ "Prerender") {
            set $prerender 0;
        if ($uri ~ "\.(js|css|xml|less|png|jpg|jpeg|gif|pdf|doc|txt|ico|rss|zip|mp3|rar|exe|wmv|doc|avi|ppt|mpg|mpeg|tif|wav|mov|psd|ai|xls|mp4|m4a|swf|dat|dmg|iso|flv|m4v|torrent)") {
            set $prerender 0;
        if ($prerender = 1) {
            rewrite .* /$scheme://$http_host$request_uri? break;
            proxy_pass http://localhost:3000;
        if ($prerender = 0) {
            rewrite .* /index.html break;

Note: make sure to disable your browser's cache to view changes made to nginx.development.conf. For example, in Chrome's console, under the network tab, check "Disable Cache".

Directory Layout

  • bower_components/ 3rd Party Libraries (added after install)
  • node_modules/ Node Modules (added after install)
  • dist/ Production version of the site (added after build)
  • src/ Development version of the site
  • src/data/ Hardcoded data
  • src/images/ Images used throughout the site
  • src/scripts/ Site scripts and 3rd party libraries
  • src/scripts/collections Backbone Collections
  • src/scripts/helpers Helpers for Handlebars, Backbone, and generic code
  • src/scripts/models Backbone Models
  • src/scripts/modules Self-contained, reusable Modules used to construct pages
  • src/scripts/pages Backbone Views representing an entire page (or the entire viewport)
  • src/scripts/config.js Require.js configuration
  • src/scripts/ App loader, responsible for setting up global listeners
  • src/scripts/main.js Initial script called by Requirejs
  • src/scripts/ Backbone Router
  • src/scripts/ Session state singleton (Backbone Model)
  • src/scripts/settings.js Global application config settings (remains in place after build)
  • src/styles/ App-specific LESS variables and mixins
  • src/index.html App's HTML Page
  • test/ Unit tests


This software is subject to the provisions of the GNU Affero General Public License Version 3.0 (AGPL). See license.txt for details. Copyright (c) 2013 Rice University.