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(DEPRECATED) An engine that supplies the API that allows users to read regulations and their various layers.
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⚠️ THIS REPO IS DEPRECATED (12/3/2018) ⚠️

Please migrate to using cfgov-refresh.


Build Status Coverage Status

An API that provides an interface for storing and retrieving regulations, layers, etc.

This repository is part of a larger project. To read about it, please see


  • Search integration with Elastic Search or Django Haystack
  • Support for storage via Elastic Search or Django Models
  • Separation of API into a read and a write portion
  • Destruction of regulations and layers into their components, allowing paragraph-level access
  • Schema checking for regulations


Requirements are retrieved and/or build automatically via pip (see below).

  • coverage - reports on test coverage
  • django - Web framework
  • django-haystack - An interface for accessing Solr, Whoosh, and other search engines. This is only required if not using Elastic Search. Unfortunately, we are constrained to using the pre-rewrite version of haystack (though that may change in the future)
  • django-nose - plugin for Django which allows for nose integration
  • jsonschema - used to test that JSON provided fits our required data structure
  • mock - makes constructing mock objects/functions easy
  • nose - A pluggable test runner
  • pyelasticsearch - required if using Elastic Search
  • flake8 - while not strictly required, we try to meet its standards
  • pysolr - required if using solr as a search backend

API Docs

Read The Docs

Setup & Running

This project uses requirements*.txt files for defining dependencies, so you can get up and running with pip:

$ pip install -r requirements.txt       # modules required for execution
$ pip install -r requirements_test.txt  # modules required for running tests
$ pip install -r requirements_dev.txt   # helpful modules for developers

With that, you just need a few additional commands to get up and running:

$ python migrate
$ python runserver

You'll be running (without search capability) using SQLite.

By default, you'll be using the We recommend local modification be made in a file.

Apps included

This repository contains three Django apps, regcore, regcore_read, and regcore_write. The former contains shared models and libraries. The "read" app provides read-only end-points while the "write" app provides write-only end-points (see the next section for security implications.) We recommend using regcore.urls as your url router, in which case turning on or off read/write capabilities is as simple as including the appropriate applications in your Django settings file. Note that you will always need regcore installed.


Note that regcore_write is designed to only be active inside an organization; the assumption is that data will be pushed to public facing, read-only (i.e. without regcore_write) sites separately.

When using the Elastic Search backend, data is passed as JSON, preventing SQL-like injections. When using haystack, data is stored via Django's model framework, which escapes SQL before it hits the db.

All data types require JSON input (which is checked.) The regulation type has an additional schema check, which is currently not present for other data types. Again, this liability is limited by the segmentation of read and write end points.

As all data is assumed to be publicly visible, data is not encrypted before it is sent to the storage engine. Data may be compressed, however.

Be sure to override the default settings for both SECRET_KEY and to turn DEBUG off in your


This project allows multiple backends for storing, retrieving, and searching data. The default settings file uses Django models for both data and search, but Django models can be combined with Elastic Search, or Elastic Search can be used for both data and search. We discuss each configuration below.

Django Models For Data, Haystack For Search

This is the default configuration. You will need to have haystack installed and pysolr (or pyelasticsearch). This uses the as the endpoint and

    'regulations': 'regcore.db.django_models.DMRegulations',
    'layers': 'regcore.db.django_models.DMLayers',
    'notices': 'regcore.db.django_models.DMNotices',
    'diffs': 'regcore.db.django_models.DMDiffs'

Remember to run migrations.

Django Models For Data, Elastic Search For Search

If pyelasticsearch is installed, you can combine Django models and Elastic Search. Use the and use the following backend configuration:

    'regulations': 'regcore.db.splitter.SplitterRegulations',
    'layers': 'regcore.db.splitter.SplitterLayers',
    'notices': 'regcore.db.splitter.SplitterNotices',
    'diffs': 'regcore.db.splitter.SplitterDiffs'

Be sure to also run migrations

Elastic Search For Data and Search

If pyelasticsearch is installed, you can use Elastic Search for all of your needs. For a search endpoint, use and use the following backend configuration:

    'regulations': '',
    'layers': '',
    'notices': '',
    'diffs': ''


While we provide sane defaults in the file, we recommend these defaults be overridden as needed in a file.

If using Elastic Search, you will need to let the application know how to connect to the search servers.

  • ELASTIC_SEARCH_URLS - a list of strings which define how to connect to your search server(s). This is passed along to pyelasticsearch.
  • ELASTIC_SEARCH_INDEX - the index to be used by elastic search. This defaults to 'eregs'

The BACKENDS setting (as described above) must be a dictionary of the appropriate model names ('regulations', 'layers', etc.) to the associated backend class. Backends can be mixed and matched, though I can't think of a good use case for that desire.

All standard Django and haystack settings are also available; you will likely want to override DATABASES, HAYSTACK_CONNECTIONS, DEBUG and certainly SECRET_KEY.

Building the documentation

For most tweaks, you will simply need to run the Sphinx documentation builder again.

$ sphinx-build -b dirhtml -d docs/_build/doctrees/ docs/ docs/_build/dirhtml/

The output will be in docs/_build/dirhtml.

If you are adding new modules, you may need to re-run the skeleton build script first:

$ rm docs/regcore*.rst
$ sphinx-apidoc -F -o docs regcore
$ sphinx-apidoc -F -o docs regcore_read
$ sphinx-apidoc -F -o docs regcore_write

Importing Regulation JSON

There is a django_admin command that facilitates the import of JSON regulation content into the database. The command is called regcore_import_reg and is used as follows, from the root regcore directory.

$ python regcore_import_reg -r <regulation-number> -s <path/to/stub/root>

For an example of JSON content, see [regulations-stub](

Running Tests

$ python test

This will include a report of test coverage.


We rely on flake8 for linting and style checks. You can run it over everything via

$ flake8 .
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