Frontend software of Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek
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DDB Next

  • Copyright (C) 2013-2014 FIZ Karlsruhe
  • Licensed under the Apache License

DDB Next is a beta-web interface for Deutsche Digital Bibliothek build with the Grails web framework. More information about current development issues can be found in the DDB Jira.

Getting started

###Software requirements The DDB Next project depends on the following software

  • JDK 1.7
  • Grails 2.4.5

IDE support

DDB Next is developed with Groovy/Grails Tool Suite (download tool link). The Grails Tool Suite is an Eclipse based application with built in support for Grails and vFabric tc Server a neat solution to help developers launch apps easily.


To obtain the latest version of the project please clone the github repository

git clone


In order to run the app from Grails Tools Suite a developer can navigate to the project, right click and Select ''Run As'' > ''Grails Command (run-app)'' or ''Grails Command (test-app)'' This operation is the same as a direct execution from the command line on the

grails run-app

To run Selenium tests use the command

grails run-selenium


####Proxy In development environment, proxies are read from $USER_HOME/.grails/ProxySettings.groovy by default.

####API key For accessing the DDB backend via it's REST API you'll need a API key. If you are a registered user of the DDB you can apply for this key under the following link (

####Application configuration The components and the behaviour of the application can be configured via an external configuration file which is located here:

  • In development and test mode: $USER_HOME/.grails/$
  • In Production Mode: /grails/app-config/$

In case there is a need to change the default configurations, through external configuration files it is possible to override the default configurations. A list of some predefined variables is set below:

# DDB services configuration
ddb.binary.url= (used from the DFG viewer)
ddb.backend.apikey= (put a valid API key here or leave it empty)

# Favorites configuration

# Filter configuration
ddb.backend.facets.filter="[[facetName:language_fct, filter:term:unknown], [facetName:language_fct, filter:term:term:unknown], [facetName:keywords_fct, filter:null], [facetName:provider_fct, filter:null], [facetName:affiliate_fct, filter:null], [facetName:type_fct, filter:null], [facetName:sector_fct, filter:null], [facetName:place_fct, filter:null]]"

# Piwik configuration

# content configuration

# Advanced Search configuration

# AAS user with admin rights

# Logging configuration

# Loadbalance configuration"nid"

# Mail configuration

# static content

####Runtime configuration The tomcat configuration in the server.xml must ensure, that the used Connector must contain a valid URIEncoding tag.

<Connector [...] URIEncoding="UTF-8" /> 

####Piwik configuration The Piwik integration is done by a separate file (tracking.txt) that must be available in the filesystem of the webserver and configured in the file. For example if the file is accessible under "/opt/ddb/tracking.txt", the configuration in would look like "ddb.tracking.piwikfile=/opt/ddb/tracking.txt".

The file tracking.txt must contain the full Piwik tracking code. It will be rendered in the web page in exactly this form.

##DDB service infrastructure The DDB infrastructure is build of a set of services providing digital items, metadata, user data and many more. Hence the operation of the DDB Next portal has several dependencies to external services. Almost all DDB services are web services and use the HTTP protocol for communication. Each DDB service provider is referenced via an url in the configuration file. Some services needs some extra configuration, like the API key for the DDB backend. The following gives a short overview about the services used by the frontend.

####Binary service The binary service provides the digital content (Texts, Images, Videos etc.) for the DDB items and institutions. These binary data is referenced by the items metadata provided by the backend service.

Configuration parameter:

  • 'ddb.binary.url' defines the url for the host which stores the binary content of the DDB

####Static service Provides the static content of the DDB frontend. It includes the content for the help pages, the terms of use page, the contact page and many more.

Configuration parameter:

  • 'ddb.static.url' defines the url for the host which stores the static content for DDB

####API service This service is provided by the DDB frontend itself and used as a wrapper for all backend related requests. By default this url links to localhost to make an efficient loopback call to the frontend (without routing via firewalls etc).

Configuration parameter:

  • 'ddb.apis.url' defines the url to reach the API service

####Backend service The backend service provides metadata for all items and institutions served by the DDB. The service is based on the [IAIS Cortex][IAIS Cortex]. IAIS Cortex is developed by [IAIS][IAIS] (Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information System). The access to the DDB backend is limited and access is restricted via an API key. [IAIS Cortex]: [IAIS]:

Configuration parameter:

  • 'ddb.backend.url' defines the url to reach the backend.
  • 'ddb.backend.apikey' defines the API key to authenticate against the backend.

More information about the backend API can be found here:

####AAS service OpenSource service for handling registration, authentication and authorization functionality for DDB users.

Configuration parameter:

  • 'ddb.aas.url' defines the url to reach the aas service
  • 'ddb.aas.admin.userid' defines an id for a AAS user with administrator rights
  • 'ddb.aas.admin.password' defines the password of the AAS user with administrator rights

More info's about this service can be found here:

####CultureGraph service CultureGraph is a service platform for Data Integration, Persistent Identifier and Linked Open Data for cultural entities. It's a project of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (

Configuration parameter:

  • 'ddb.culturegraph.url' defines the url to reach the culturegraph service.

More information about this service is available under:

####Elastic search service Elastic search is used to manage personal content like bookmarks and saved searches for registered users of the DDB. The service is based on elastic search ( and developed by the DDB-NEXT team

Configuration parameter:

  • 'ddb.elasticsearch.url' defines the url where to retrieve documents of type bookmark

####Content Management System The Content Management System is used to display the main menu (except "My DDB") and the teaser.

Configuration parameter:

  • 'ddb.cms.url' defines the url where to retrieve the data

####OAuth 3 different OAuth providers are currently supported: Facebook, Google and Twitter. For everey provider 2 properties are needed:

  • 'auth.<provider>.key' defines the provider specific OAuth key
  • 'auth.<provider>.secret' defines the provider specific OAuth secret

<provider> can be "facebook", "google" or "twitter".

####Footer menu The footer menu can be given as a JSON file.

Configuration parameter:

  • 'ddb.footerMenu' defines the location of that file. It defaults to "${userHome}/.grails/ddb-next-footer-menu.json"

The description of the JSON structure can be found here:


The DDB Next is a Web Application use the following Grails plugins

  • cache:1.0.0
  • cache-headers:1.1.5
  • rendering:0.4.3
  • resources:1.2.1
  • zipped-resources:1.0
  • compress:0.4

Additionally the application makes use of the following Javascript frameworks

  • Autocomplete 1.10.2
  • Bootstrap 2.2.2
  • History 1.7.1
  • JQuery 1.8.2
  • Jwplayer 6.2.3115
  • Respond.js 1.1.0
  • Underscore 1.3.1