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Edinburgh Collected

This is a city-wide shared memory app developed for City of Edinburgh Council Libraries divsion as part of the Nesta programme.

Running Edinburgh Collected



We are currently using 2.3.0. If you don't want to upgrade your whole system to this version you can install RVM (Ruby Version Manager). This makes it easy to install and run different Ruby versions.

# install rvm and correct version of ruby
sudo curl -L | bash -s stable --ruby=2.3.0

# start rvm in any open shells (will happen automatically in any new shells from now on)
sudo source ~/.rvm/scripts/rvm

# [OPTIONAL] set the installed version to be the system default
rvm use 2.3.0 --default


ImageMagick is required for manipulating images. You can install it using your operating system's package manager. For example:

# using homebrew
brew install imagemagick


We currently use Postgres as our database so that we can use the Full Text Search functionality. It should be relatively easy to refactor to use a separate FTS engine instead and then your choice of database is more open.

Installing Postgres on your operating system is beyond the scope of this README, but if you can probably get most of the way here.


# clone the app (you might want to fork it to your own repo first if you're planning to make any changes)
git clone
cd edinburgh_collected

# install the required gems
bundle install

Post Installation

Setting up environment-specific variables

The app uses certain environment-specific variables to control things such as file uploads and 3rd party services. In order to ensure that you have these setup as required, please do as follows:

# (from the root directory of the project) copy the example application environment variable file
cp config/application.yml.example config/application.yml

# now open in your editor of choice and add the required information
$EDITOR config/application.yml

A note about file storage

The app needs to store the image files that are uploaded when new memories are created. It is currently setup to use Amazon S3 or Rackspace, however other storage options are available. See the documentation on the CarrierWave github page if you want to setup a different storage option. Pull Requests welcome :)

To use S3:

# Open config/application.yml in your favourite editor.
$EDITOR config/application.yml

# Set STORE_DIR to your bucket name (i.e. 'my_unique_upload_bucket')
# Uncomment and set AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID to your AWS access key
# Uncomment and set AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY to your AWS secret access key

To use Rackspace:

# Open config/application.yml in your favourite editor.
$EDITOR config/application.yml

# Set PROVIDER to 'Rackspace'
# Set STORE_DIR to your directory name (i.e. 'My unique upload directory')
# Uncomment and set RACKSPACE_USERNAME to your Rackspace username
# Uncomment and set RACKSPACE_API_KEY to your Rackspace API key
# Uncomment and set ASSET_HOST to your Rackspace CDN base URL

Setting up the database(s)

Once you've setup the environment variables file, you can setup the database.

# setup the database
rake db:setup

A note about moderation

The app is currently set up so that any new memory that is created must be moderated before it can be seen by anyone other than the user that created it or admin users. In order to moderate you need to have an admin account.

To create an admin user:

# Open config/application.yml in your favourite editor.
$EDITOR config/application.yml

# Uncomment and set CREATE_DEFAULT_ADMIN_USER to 'true'
# Uncomment and set DEFAULT_ADMIN_USER_PASSWORD to a valid password

# add a default admin user using seed data
rake db:seed

Now run the seeds as mentioned below.

Changing the application to run in a different location

Whilst this application is called Edinburgh Collected, it should be possible to run it as <YOUR CITY> Collected. You can change the majority of the application by altering the details in config/initializers/app_settings.rb.

You will also need to supply your own versions of the various static pages kept in app/views/static.

If you have any questions or issues around this, please raise an issue on this main repository.


The app is setup to use Mailcatcher in development so that you can catch and check the emails generated if you wish. To setup mailcatcher, please do as follows:

# install the gem
gem install mailcatcher

# run mailcatcher (runs as a daemon in the background)
# Mailcatcher runs on port 1025 by default if you want to use that port (or another) remember to also change the config/development.rb SMTP settings
mailcatcher --smtp-port 1035

# view Mailcatcher inbox
open http://localhost:1080


In order to run feature tests that rely on JavaScript being enabled you'll need to install PhantomJS. You should be able to get this from your operating system's package manager.

# using homebrew
brew install phantomjs

Failing that, check the PhantomJS download page.


That should be the app all up and running for you now. You can check this by

# running the test suite
bundle exec rspec

# starting up the server
rails s

Once a server is running you can point your favourite browser to http://localhost:3000.