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An SMS survey platform built by CfA Team Philadelphia
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Text Your City Build Status


$ bundle install
$ rake db:create
$ rake db:migrate
$ rake db:seed

Configuring Tropo

  1. Create a Tropo account if you don't already have one, and login
  2. Create a new WebAPI application. Enter an arbitrary Application ID, e.g. mytextyourcity. Enter the URL that powers your app, which is [Your Domain]/responses/receive_message, e.g.
  3. Take note of your Tropo Username, Password and Outbound Messaging Token (for setting up your environment variables in the Other Stuff section)
  4. Lastly, take note of your Application ID by visiting, entering your Tropo username/password and take note of the value of your app's id from the resulting JSON. It should be a 6-7 digit number.

Other stuff

Make sure you have these environment variables set to enable SMS; you can acquire them in steps 2 and 3 of the Configuring Tropo section above. You can either add them to your $PATH or rename the included sample.env to .env if using Foreman.

export TROPO_APP_ID=


$ rails server

With Foreman:

$ foreman run bundle exec rails server -p $PORT

Remember, deploying locally means that you can't receive Tropo messages via their webhook. See below for deploying to Heroku.

Environment vars

sign_up_path block_registrations

Deploying to Heroku

$ heroku create mytextyourcity --stack cedar
$ git push heroku master
$ heroku run rake db:migrate
$ heroku config:add TROPO_USERNAME=##############
$ heroku config:add TROPO_PASSWORD=##############
$ heroku config:add TROPO_TOKEN=#################
$ heroku config:add TROPO_APP_ID=################


TextYourCity uses the rspec gem for testing. Make sure you create a test database: textyourcity_test and set it up with $ rake environment RAILS_ENV=test db:migrate. You can run tests by $ rspec or $ bundle exec rspec (if your global rspec is of a different version).


In the spirit of free software, everyone is encouraged to help improve this project.

Here are some ways you can contribute:

  • by using alpha, beta, and prerelease versions
  • by reporting bugs
  • by suggesting new features
  • by translating to a new language
  • by writing or editing documentation
  • by writing specifications
  • by writing code (no patch is too small: fix typos, add comments, clean up inconsistent whitespace)
  • by refactoring code
  • by closing issues
  • by reviewing patches
  • financially

Submitting an Issue

We use the GitHub issue tracker to track bugs and features. Before submitting a bug report or feature request, check to make sure it hasn't already been submitted. You can indicate support for an existing issue by voting it up. When submitting a bug report, please include a Gist that includes a stack trace and any details that may be necessary to reproduce the bug, including your gem version, Ruby version, and operating system. Ideally, a bug report should include a pull request with failing specs.

Submitting a Pull Request

  1. Fork the project.
  2. Create a topic branch.
  3. Implement your feature or bug fix.
  4. Add tests for your feature or bug fix.
  5. Run bundle exec rake test. If your changes are not 100% covered, go back to step 4.
  6. Commit and push your changes.
  7. Submit a pull request. Please do not include changes to the gemspec or version file. (If you want to create your own version for some reason, please do so in a separate commit.)

Supported Ruby Versions

This library aims to support and is tested against the following Ruby implementations:

  • Ruby 1.9.3

If something doesn't work on one of these interpreters, it should be considered a bug.

This library may inadvertently work (or seem to work) on other Ruby implementations, however support will only be provided for the versions listed above.

If you would like this library to support another Ruby version, you may volunteer to be a maintainer. Being a maintainer entails making sure all tests run and pass on that implementation. When something breaks on your implementation, you will be personally responsible for providing patches in a timely fashion. If critical issues for a particular implementation exist at the time of a major release, support for that Ruby version may be dropped.


Copyright (c) 2012 Code for America. See LICENSE for details.

Code for America Tracker


6/15/12 v0.1.1 pushed with bugfixes for csv export and poll viewing 5/31/12 v0.1.0 now pushed! Ready for our first pilot with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. Look for launch announcements coming shortly...

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