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Local development

In addition to the more specific requirements below you need the standard set of software to get playdoh installed:

  • Xcode (with the Command Line Tools installed)
  • mySQL (a playdoh dependancy - though we're not using it for this project)
  • node and lessc
  • wget

We're using PostGIS + GeoDjango for the DB, so you'll also need the following installed:

  • Postgresql 8.4 +
  • PostGIS >= 1.4 && < 2.0
  • Geos
  • Proj4
  • GDAL

Mac OS X

With Homebrew, installing PostGIS and GDAL will install all you need:

brew update
brew install postgis gdal

Note The current version of PostGIS in Homebrew is version 2.0.0 - you need to install 1.5.3 (due to a numder of compatibility issues)


For Ubuntu 10.04, see the information in our Puppet config (./puppet/manifests/dev.pp and the classes in ./puppet/manifests/classes)

For Ubuntu release >= 11.10, this should work:

sudo apt-get install binutils gdal-bin libproj-dev postgresql-9.1-postgis \

Once those are installed, then pip install -r requirements/compiled.txt should work as expected.

Making it run locally

Checkout the sourcecode and init the git submodules:

git clone --recursive git://

If at any point you realize you forgot to clone with the recursive flag, you can fix that by running:

git submodule update --init --recursive

Once you have all the dependencies installed, you need to create a settings file.

cp make_mozilla/settings/{-dist,}

And then edit the settings file to match your needs, here is the section about the databases:

    'default': {
        'ENGINE': 'django.contrib.gis.db.backends.postgis',
        'NAME': 'webmaker',
        'USER': 'postgres',
        'PASSWORD': 'postgres',
        'HOST': 'localhost',
        'PORT': '5432',
        'TEST_CHARSET': 'utf8',
        'TEST_COLLATION': 'utf8_general_ci',

Setting up the database


GeoDjango is installed as part of Django. You need to take a look at the installation instructions at [] to get PostGIS configured properly with Django. Ubuntu's version ships with a postgis-template generation script, which you can see used in ./puppet/manifests/classes/postgis.pp

Once you've installed postgis, you need to create a template for it, and then create your database with this template. For postgis 1.5:

cd /tmp && wget
sudo su postgres

And finally create the database:

createdb -T template_postgis webmaker

Populating it

./ syncdb
./ migrate

Compiling the assets

You also need to compile the assets, be sure to update your settings with the path to your LESS executable:

LESS_BIN = "/usr/local/bin/lessc"

And then run:

./ compress_assets

playdoh: about the framework

This app is built using Mozilla's Playdoh.

Mozilla's Playdoh is a web application template based on Django.

Patches are welcome! Feel free to fork and contribute to this project on github.

Full Playdoh documentation is available as well.


This software is licensed under the New BSD License. For more information, read the file LICENSE.