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College Scorecard

A website that allows students (high school and adult) and those who support them (parents, guidance counselors) to not only search among colleges to find schools that would meet their desires, but also encourage them to consider "value" factors, be exposed to schools with better outcomes, and allow users to compare and contrast schools across different dimensions of "fit," highlighting "value" factors. The goal is to enable people to find schools that are best suited to them, and ensure a broad and flexible definition of elements that contribute to "fit."

This repo contains the front end of a web app with its API created by an instance of Open Data Maker which is configured with a specific data set. For more details on setting up the back end of the web app, see below: Running the API Locally. However, you can run the web app with the hosted API following the installation instructions in the next section.

Installation

Create a local development environment using Docker containers or with a traditional unix system.

Docker Container

  • Copy .env.example to .env
  • Add values to .env
  • In App Root: Start Docker Containers
    • docker-compose up
    • You can start it with docker-compose up -d to detach the process from the current shell if desired.
  • Wait for output:
web_1   |     Server address: http://0.0.0.0:4000/
web_1   |   Server running... press ctrl-c to stop.
  • Start a new cli tab/window (if not running detached)
  • Only on first run: Install Dependencies in node container
    • docker-compose exec node npm install
    • Wait
  • Launch webpack with watch on the node container:
    • docker-compose exec node npm run watch
    • Wait for: Entrypoint main = app.js app.js.map
  • Site will be available at: http://localhost:4000/

Traditional Unix Development Environment

This site is made with [Jekyll]. Once you've got [Ruby] on your computer, you can run:

gem install github-pages

(Note: depending on how Ruby was installed, you may need to prefix the above command with sudo.)

Then install all the ruby gems you need:

bundle

Environment Variables

This Jekyll site features dynamic JavaScript that queries api.data.gov. For the JavaScript to work, ensure that all of the following keys are configured via local environment variables.

Required Environment Variables

  • API_KEY: The api key used to submit requests to Open Data Maker. Authorization is handled by api.data.gov. Sign up for a key at: api.data.gov/signup/
  • API_BASE_URL: The API base URL for Open Data Maker.
  • BASE_URL: The base URL of the frontend application. We use this value to assist with pathing during JavaScript builds. This variable is automatically populated by federalist during remote builds but needs to be configured for local building.

Typical configuration on a Unix based development environment:

export API_KEY=<API_KEY_HERE>
export API_BASE_URL=https://api.data.gov/ed/collegescorecard/v1/
export BASEURL=http://localhost:4000

Optional Environment Variables

The following environment variables should be set to ensure full functionality for all pages. These configurations are not required to view the site locally but will ensure all items are working as intended.

  • API_SIGNUP_KEY: API key for api.data.gov used during the embedded sign up form submission process (data/documentation/#api-key-signup). This key should be configured by following this documentation
  • RECAPTCHA_SITE_KEY: Key used during V2 ReCaptcha workflows. See documentation for registration and configuration information.
  • API_KEY_GOOGLE_MAPS: API key for Google Static Maps functionality. Refer to Google Maps Developer Documentation for configuration information.

Typical configuration on a unix based development environment:

export API_SIGNUP_KEY=<API_KEY_HERE>
export RECAPTCHA_SITE_KEY=<RECAPTCHA_API_KEY_HERE>
export API_KEY_GOOGLE_MAPS=<GOOGLE_MAPS_API_KEY_HERE>

To start up the local server, run:

jekyll serve --baseurl='' -w

Then visit http://localhost:4000 to view it. The -w (or --watch) flag tells Jekyll to rebuild the relevant pages when you edit the source files.

Front End Development

Stylesheets

JavaScript

See the JavaScript docs for more information on our scripting tools and workflows.

Accessibility

Running the API Locally

To set up the API (as a developer), follow the Open Data Maker installation instructions then:

  1. download the [full data set] into open-data-maker directory and rename the folder as "real-data"

  2. set DATA_PATH environment variable. On the command line:

    export DATA_PATH=./real-data
  3. This application uses only most recent data. To speed up start up time, edit data.yaml file inside the real-data directory to limit the number of files indexed to 4 (year 2013 is included twice, once for the columns that are not specific to any year, and once for the 2013 data, then 2012 and 2011). Optionally, limiting the number of rows will reduce the set of colleges in the data set and is helpful for testing since it speeds startup time significantly:

    options:
      limit_files: 4
      limit_rows: 100

    To create the API for the complete set of schools, comment out the limit_rows option by adding a # to the start of the line:

    options:
      limit_files: 4
    #  limit_rows: 100
  4. Start Open Data Maker. On the command line, from the open-data-maker directory:

    padrino start
  5. To view progress of indexing, it is helpful to look at the development log in another terminal window:

    tail -f log/development.log