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You write it, and we deliver it.

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Write-it is an application that aims to deliver messages to people whose contacts are to be private or the messages should be public, for example: members of congress.

Write-it is a layer on top of popit from where it takes the people and adds contacts. The way it delivers messages is using plugins for example: mailit. And this approach allows for future ways of delivering for example: twitter, whatsapp, fax or pager.

Future uses are in congresoabierto to replace the old "preguntales" (You can check here, to see how it used to work) feature, it was inspired by writetothem.

Installation instructions for developers are below. If you'd like to integrate WriteIt with your civic tech application it's recommended that you use the hosted version and read in this directory for integration instructions.

Quick Installation (Vagrant)

Assuming you have Vagrant installed, run the following:

git clone
cd write-it
vagrant up

Vagrant will automatically install WriteIt and all of its dependencies. This can take a few minutes.

Once it’s complete, log into the virtual machine with:

vagrant ssh

Once you’re inside the virtual machine, you can load some fixtures with:

./ loaddata example_data.yaml

Then run the development server with:

./ runserver

And visit on your host machine to use WriteIt.

Background jobs

./ celery worker

This handles syncing contact details from remote sources. If you have created a new instance and the contacts do not seem to be syncing it is probably because a celery worker is not running.

Scheduled jobs

./ celery beat

This sends emails to recipients and periodically re-sync contacts from remote sources.

Manual Installation (without Vagrant)

System Requirements

It's required if you want to play around seaching messages and answers, this part is optional.

Your version of the Python elasticsearch package must match the version of Elasticsearch you have. The requirements.txt file in this repository currently specifies elasticsearch==1.6.0, which will only work with Elasticsearch with a major version of 1. If you have a 0.x or 2.x version of Elasticsearch you will need to install a different version of the Python elasticsearch package. For more details on how to pick the right version to use, see:

In ubuntu you can do sudo apt-get install libffi-dev

  • Libssl

In ubuntu you can do sudo apt-get install libssl-dev

  • GCC (G++) 4.3+ (used by python libsass package)

In ubuntu you can do sudo apt-get install g++

  • yui-compressor

In ubuntu you can do sudo apt-get install yui-compressor

Write-it is built using Django. You should install Django and its dependencies inside a virtualenv. We suggest you use virtualenvwrapper to create and manage virtualenvs, so if you don’t already have it, go install it, remembering in particular to add the required lines to your shell startup file.

With virtualenvwrapper installed, clone this repo, cd into it, and create a virtualenv:

git clone
cd write-it
mkvirtualenv writeit

Install the requirements:

pip install -r requirements.txt

Set up the database, creating an admin user when prompted:

./ syncdb && ./ migrate

Compile all the available translations:

./ compilemessages

Troubleshooting database migration

There's a problem migrating and the problem looks like

django.db.utils.OperationalError: no such table: tastypie_apikey

It can be fixed by running it twice.

Then run the server:

./ runserver

Testing and Development

If you want to test without Elasticsearch

Elasticsearch is optional and can be turned off by creating a new file vi writeit/ with the following content


Running tests

For testing you need to run ./ test nuntium contactos mailit

Coverage Analysis

For coverage analysis run ./

Logging in

At this point you probably have write-it running without any users. You could create a (super) user by running:

python createsuperuser

It will ask you the username and password (which you will need to repeat).

With that done you will be able to access '/accounts/login/'.

API clients

Write-it has been used mostly through its REST API for which there are a number of API clients. The github repos and the status of the development are listed below:

There are instructions to install write-it in heroku

The instructions are in the following link.


App to create and send messages to public persons. It's a component of POPLUS project.







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