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This is a hackathon boilerplate for new Flask web applications created by Major League Hacking. It is for hackers looking to get started quickly on a new hackathon project using the Flask microframework.

This project requires the following tools:

  • Python - The programming language used by Flask.
  • PostgreSQL - A relational database system.
  • Virtualenv - A tool for creating isolated Python environments.

To get started, install Python and Postgres on your local computer if you don't have them already. A simple way for Mac OS X users to install Postgres is using You can optionally use another database system instead of Postgres, like SQLite.

Getting Started

Step 1. Clone the code into a fresh folder

$ git clone
$ cd mlh-hackathon-flask-starter

Step 2. Create a Virtual Environment and install Dependencies.

Create a new Virtual Environment for the project and activate it. If you don't have the virtualenv command yet, you can find installation instructions here. Learn more about Virtual Environments.

$ virtualenv venv
$ source venv/bin/activate

Next, we need to install the project dependencies, which are listed in requirements.txt.

(venv) $ pip install -r requirements.txt

Step 3: Create an app on GitHub

Head over to GitHub OAuth apps and create a new OAuth app. Name it what you like but you'll need to specify a callback URL, which should be something like:


The default port for Flask apps is 5000, but you may need to update this if your setup uses a different port or if you're hosting your app somewhere besides your local machine.

Step 4: Setup your database

You need to be able to connect to a database either on your own computer (locally) or through a hosted database. You can install Postgres locally and connect to it to provide the database for your app.

You will need to know the connection URL for your application which we will call DATABASE_URL in your environment variables. Learn more about the connection URL format. Here is an example:


Step 5: Update environment variables and run the Server.

Create a new file named .env by duplicating .env.example. Update the new file with the GitHub credentials. It should look similar to this:

# .env file

You replace the GitHub credentials here and update the database URL. Learn more about the required Environment Variables here.

Now we're ready to start our server which is as simple as:

(venv) $ flask run

Open http://localhost:5000 to view it in your browser.

The app will automatically reload if you make changes to the code. You will see the build errors and warnings in the console.

What's Included?

  • Flask - A microframework for Python web applications
  • Flask Blueprints - A Flask extension for making modular applications
  • Flask-SQLAlchemy - A Flask extension that adds ORM support for your data models.
  • Werkzeug - A Flask framework that implements WSGI for handling requests.
  • Bootstrap 4 - An open source design system for HTML, CSS, and JS.
  • Jinja2 - A templating language for Python, used by Flask.

Code of Conduct

We enforce a Code of Conduct for all maintainers and contributors of this Guide. Read more in


The Hackathon Starter Kit is open source software licensed as MIT.