Aggie is a web application for using social media and other resources to track incidents around real-time events such as elections or natural disasters.
JavaScript HTML CSS
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Permalink
Failed to load latest commit information.
config
docker
docs
gulp
lib
migrations
models
public/angular
shared
test
.codeclimate.yml
.eslintignore
.eslintrc.json
.gitignore
.npmignore
.nvmrc
.travis.yml
LICENSE
README.md
app.js
cluster_app.js
contributing.md
experiment.md
gulpfile.js
install.js
karma.conf.js
npm-shrinkwrap.json
package.json
testing.md

README.md

Table of Contents

Aggie

Aggie is a web application for using social media and other resources to track incidents around real-time events such as elections or natural disasters.

Aggie can retrieve data from several sources:

  • Twitter (tweets matching a keyword search)
  • Facebook (comments from publicly accessible groups and pages)
  • RSS (article titles and descriptions)
  • ELMO (answers to survey questions)

Items (called reports) from all sources are streamed into the application. Monitors can quickly triage incoming reports by marking them as relevant or irrelevant.

Relevant reports can be grouped into incidents for further monitoring and follow-up.

Reports are fully searchable and filterable via a fast web interface.

Report queries can be saved and tracked over time via a series of visual analytics.

Aggie is built for scalability and can handle hundreds of incoming reports per second. The backend fetching and analytics systems feature a modular design well-suited to parallelism and multi-core architectures.

Users can be assigned to admin, manager, monitor, and viewer roles, each with appropriate permissions.

Aggie is built using Angular.js and Express.js, both state-of-the-art development frameworks.

Contact mikeb@cc.gatech.edu for more information on the Aggie project.

Sassafras Tech Collective offers managed instances of Aggie, along with development and support services.

Deployment Installation via Docker

  1. Install docker (version >= 1.0.0, such as 1.11.0).
  2. Checkout the aggie repo.
    • In your terminal, navigate to your main projects folder (e.g. Documents).
    • Use this command: git clone https://github.com/TID-Lab/aggie.git.
  3. Start aggie
    • Navigate to the docker directory in aggie: cd aggie/docker
    • run docker-compose up
    • In your terminal, a user and password were generated. You will use these credentials to log into the application. Example: "admin" user created with password "password".
  4. Navigate to the IP address of your docker machine in your browser, e.g. typing http://192.168.99.100. You can get the IP address of your docker machine running docker-machine ip.
    • This will show you the running site. Login with the user name and password from your terminal mentioned above.

Source Installation

System requirements

The following need to be installed.

  1. node.js (v.0.10.*, such as 0.10.32)
    • There are two ways to install/update node.js.
      1. Install a specific version of node.js.
        • Documentation and installation instructions can be found on the node.js site.
      2. Use Node Version Manager.
        • Node Version Manager (nvm) allows multiple versions of node.js to be used on your system and manages the versions within each project.
        • After installing nvm:
          1. in your terminal, navigate to the aggie project directory: cd [aggie].
          2. use this command: nvm use to install the version specified in .nvmrc.
  2. Mongo DB (requires >= 2.6, such as 2.6.9)
    1. Follow the installation structions for your operating system.
    2. Stop and restart Mongo DB.
      1. On Linux run sudo service mongod stop. Then run sudo mongod.
      2. Make sure mongodb is running in the terminal and listening on an appropriate port. Your terminal with the mongo db process running should display something similar to the following: [initandlisten] waiting for connections on port 27017.
    3. Note: You do not need to create a user or database for aggie in Mongo DB. These will be generated during the installation process below.
  3. JRE
    • Install the Java SE Runtime Environment (JRE) from Oracle or your package manager
    • Java is only required for running end-to-end tests with protractor. Installing Java can be safely skipped if these tests are not needed.

Installation

  1. Checkout the aggie repo.
    • In your terminal, navigate to your main projects folder (e.g. Documents).
    • Use this command: git clone git@github.com:TID-Lab/aggie.git.
  2. Copy config/secrets.json.example to config/secrets.json.
    1. Set adminPassword to the default password your want to use for the admin user during installation.
    2. For production, set log_user_activity flag to true. For testing, set it as false (default value).
  3. To make https work, you need to copy your SSL certificate information to the config folder (two files named key.pem and cert.pem).
    • If you do not have the certificate you can create a new self-signed certificate with the following command: openssl req -x509 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout key.pem -out cert.pem -days 365
    • This will allow you to start the server but it will generate unsafe warnings in the browser. You will need a real trusted certificate for production use.
    • Adding the -nodes flag will generate an unencrypted private key, allowing you to run tests without going through a password prompt
  4. Run npm install from the project directory.
    • This installs all dependencies and concatenates the angular application.
  5. Run npm install -g gulp mocha karma-cli protractor@2.
    • This installs gulp, mocha, karma, and protractor globally so they can be run from the command line for testing.
    • We are using an old version of protractor so that it works with Node 0.10. If your protractor test fails abruptly, download an updated chromedriver and replace the one found in aggie/node_modules/protractor/selenium with the newer one.
    • This is optional, as npm provides easy access to the local copies of these that are installed by npm install
  6. Run npm install -g migrate.
    • This installs node-migrate globally.
  7. To start server, run npm start.
    • In your terminal, a user and password were generated. You will use these credentials to log into the application. Example: "admin" user created with password "password".
  8. Navigate to https://localhost:3000 in your browser.
    • This will show you the running site. Login with the user name and password from your terminal mentioned above.
    • If you did not set up the SSL certificate, use http://localhost:3000 instead

Maintenance

  1. To run migrations run migrate.
  2. To run unit tests, run npm test.
    • Calling npm run mocha (or mocha if you installed it globally) will run just the backend tests
    • Calling npm run karma (or karma start --single-run if installed globally) will run just the frontend tests
  3. To monitor code while developing, run gulp. You can pass an optional --file=[test/filename] parameter to only test a specific file.
  4. To run end-to-end tests:
    1. first start Aggie on the test database with npm run testrun
    2. then run protractor with npm run protractor
  5. To run end-to-end tests with external APIs
    1. Set up the appropriate keys in secrets.json (e.g. Twitter)
    2. start Aggie on the test database with npm run testrun
    3. run protractor with npm run protractor-with-apis

Intructions on Building and Publishing Aggie's documentation.

The documentation is in the docs directory. These are automatically built and pushed on each commit for the master and develop branches in Github:

To build the docs locally, do the following:

  1. Install Python and pip
  2. Install Sphinx with pip install -U Sphinx
  3. Install recommonmark: pip install recommonmark
  4. Install Read The Docs theme: pip install sphinx_rtd_theme
  5. From the docs directory in Aggie, run make html
  6. The compiled documentation has its root at docs/_build/html/index.html

Project Configuration

You can adjust the settings in the config/secrets.json file to configure the application.

Tests

Set config.adminParty=true if you want to run tests.

Social Media and Feeds

Twitter

  1. Follow these instructions to generate tokens to use the Twitter API.
  2. Go to Settings > Settings and edit the Twitter settings. Remember to toggle the switch on, once you have saved the settings.

Facebook

  1. Visit your apps on the Facebook developers site. Create a new app if needed.
  2. Inside your Facebook app, obtain client_id and client_secret.
  3. To obtain an access token, in a browser, visit https://graph.facebook.com/oauth/access_token?client_secret=xxx&client_id=xxx&grant_type=client_credentials using your client_id and client_secret.
  4. Go to Settings > Settings and edit the Facebook settings. Remember to toggle the switch on, once you have saved the settings.

WhatsApp

The WhatsApp feature is documented in a conference paper. As WhatsApp does not currently offer an API, a Firefox extension in Linux is used to redirect notifications from web.whatsapp.com to Aggie server. Thus, you need a Linux computer accessing WhatsApp through Firefox for this to work. Follow these steps to have it working.

  1. Install Firefox in Linux using your distribution preferred method.
  2. Install GNotifier add-on in Firefox.
  3. Configure the add-on about:addons:
    • Set Notification Engine to Custom command
    • Set the custom command to curl --data-urlencode "keyword=<your own keyword>" --data-urlencode "from=%title" --data-urlencode "text=%text" http://<IP address|domain name>:2222/whatsapp
      • We suggest setting your keyword to a unique string of text with out spaces or symbols, e.g., the phone number of the WhatsApp account used for Aggie. This keyword must be the same one as the one specified in the Aggie application, when creating the WhatsApp Aggie source.
      • Replace IP address|domain with the address or domain where Aggie is installed (e.g., localhost for testing).
  4. Visit web.whatsapp.com, follow instructions, and enable browser notifications
  5. Notifications will not be sent to Aggie when browser focus is on the WhatsApp tab, so move away from that tab if not replying to anyone.

ELMO

  1. Log in to your ELMO instance with an account having coordinator or higher privileges on the mission you want to track.
  2. In your ELMO instance, mark one or more forms as public (via the Edit Form page). Note the Form ID in the URL bar (e.g. if URL ends in /m/mymission/forms/123, the ID is 123).
  3. Visit your profile page (click the icon bearing your username in the top-right corner) and copy your API key (click 'Regenerate' if necessary).
  4. Go to Settings > Settings and edit the ELMO settings. Remember to toggle the switch on, once you have saved the settings.

Google Places

Aggie uses Google Places for guessing locations in the application. To make it work:

  1. You will need to get an API key from Google API console for Google Places API.
  2. Read about Google API usage limits and consider whitelisting your Aggie deployment to avoid surprises.
  3. Go to Settings > Settings and edit the Google Places settings and add the key.

Emails

  1. fromEmail is the email address from which system emails come. Also used for the default admin user.
  2. email.from is the address from which application emails will come
  3. email.transport is the set of parameters that will be passed to NodeMailer 2.1.0. Valid transport method values are: 'SES', 'sendgrid' and 'SMTP'.
  4. If you are using SES for sending emails, make sure config.fromEmail has been authorized in your Amazon SES configuration.

Fetching

  1. Set fetching value to enable/disable fetching for all sources at global level.
    • This is also changed during runtime based on user choice.

Logging

Set various logging options in logger section:

Using the Application

Extensive documentation about using the application can be found in ReadTheDocs page.

Sources

Adding Sources

  1. Inside the application, go to Sources > Create Source.
  2. To add a Twitter search, add all relevant keywords.
  3. To add a Facebook source, copy and paste the URL of the Facebook group or page you want to follow (e.g. https://www.facebook.com/nigerianforum).
  4. To add an RSS feed, visit the website or blog you wish to use and find the RSS or other feed. (For example, https://wordpress.org/news/feed/).
  5. To add a WhatsApp source, in the field keywords enter the value you selected when setting up GNotifier as keyword as explained here.
  6. To add an ELMO source to track responses for a particular ELMO form, enter a URL like this: https://yourdomain.com/api/v1/m/yourmission/responses.json?form_id=123, where 123 is the ID of the form you noted above. The user associated with your API key must have permission to view responses on the mission in order for this to work.
  7. To add an SMSGH source, enter the keyword that the messages are being sent with. SMSGH will forward the messages to Aggie.

Warnings

As the application pulls in data, the app may encounter warnings. These warnings help determine whether or not a feed is pulling in data correctly.

  1. Go to Sources.
  2. In the Name column, click the appropriate source.
  3. Under Recent Events, you can see recent warnings for the source.

Deployment

Internally, we use pm2 to keep Aggie running. Since this is a multi-process application, the pm2 monitor will sometimes hang up when restarting the Aggie process after deploying a new version of the code. In this case, killing the forever process before deploying seems to fix it.

We also use nginx as a web-server. You can get an example of our config file here, which enables https, cache, compression and http2.

Architecture

Aggie consists of two largely separate frontend and backend apps. Some model code (in /shared) is shared between them.

Backend

The backend is a Node.js/Express app responsible for fetching and analyzing data and servicing API requests. There are three main modules, each of which runs in its own process:

  • API module
  • Fetching module
  • Analytics module

See README files in the lib subdirectories for more info on each module.

The model layer (in /models) is shared among all three modules.

Frontend

The frontend is a single-page Angular.js app that runs in the browser and interfaces with the API, via both pull (REST) and push (WebSockets) modalities. It is contained in /public/angular.