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DDI on Rails

Python version Django version Repo license

System-Tests Issues Codecov Codacy

The data portal DDI on Rails accompanies researchers throughout the entire course of their research projects from conception to publication/citation.

The system offers researchers the possibility to explore the data, to compile personalized datasets, and to publish results on the publication database.

In contrast to similar products, DDI on Rails is study-independent and open-source, is able to document data with multiple versions/distributions and the specific characteristics of a longitudinal study, and is easy to use.

Table of contents


Please see our, if you want to contribute to this project.

Getting Started


Follow the installation instructions for Docker and Docker-Compose:

To verify the installation was successful, you can type:

$ docker --version
Docker version 18.09.5, ...
$ docker-compose --version
docker-compose version 1.24.0, ...


Development Environment

Clone the repository

git clone
cd ddionrails/

If you want to save yourself some typing you can create a symbolic link from docker-compose.override.yml

ln -s  docker-compose-remote-dev.yml docker-compose.override.yml

Now you can start your services with

docker-compose up -d

docker-compose implicitly uses the docker-compose.override.yml in addition to the docker-compose.yml if it is present. Without the symbolic link you would need to specify all docker-compose files:

docker-compose -f "docker-compose.yml" -f "docker-compose-remote-dev.yml" up -d

Using Visual Studio Code will make the process even simpler. Just open the project after installing the remote development plugin. VSCode will prompt you to reopen it in the development container. When confirmed, VSCode will set up all services for development through docker-compose.

With the basic setup the development container will be available at localhost.

⚠️ Warning Do not use this in production the settings used by the dev compose files are not secure. This is also the reason why there is no docker-compose.override.yml provided with the repository. These settings should not accidentally find their way into production.

Production Environment

Before starting the services via docker-compose:

  • [Optional] Benchmark your docker setup with docker-bench-security.

    • Some of the changes needed to secure your docker setup might lead to loss of containers and volumes. It would be better to make the changes before creating any containers on the system.
  • Customize the environment files in docker/environments/ and rename them to remove example from their name.

    • database.env should contain secure password.

    • django.env should be set up for production or staging

      • DJANGO_DEBUG should always be False for Production
      • DJANGO_SECRET_KEY should be long and random
      • ALLOWED_HOSTS should match your setup
  • Uncomment the environment blocks in the docker-compose file to load the environment files.

  • Or create a docker-compose.override.yml file that sets the environment files.

  • Customize the docker/nginx/nginx.example.conf and rename it to nginx.conf.

    • Sections that need to be changed are marked with REPLACE_ME

    • For ssl change your docker-compose.yml or docker-compose.override.yml to mount cert and key at the right location.

      • If you use a ca-chain file, add this file to the end of your crt file. This file can then be used by nginx as certificate.
  • [Optional] Set up a backup routine for the database.

Importing Data

To import a study's metadata into the system, you need a git repository containing a couple of .csv and .json files (e.g.

You need to add your study to the system by invoking the add command:

docker-compose exec web python add soep-test

You clone or pull the repository with update:

docker-compose exec web python update soep-test

Your study's metadata gets inserted into the database by adding import jobs onto a Redis queue (this can take some time). The last job includes indexing all metadata into the Elasticsearch indices.


docker-compose exec web python add soep-test
docker-compose exec web python update

Running the tests

To run the unit and integration tests you can call paver test. This does not run functional tests with Selenium.

cd ddionrails/
docker-compose -f "docker-compose.yml" -f "docker-compose-dev.yml" up -d
docker-compose exec web paver test


For the versions available, either look at the tags of this repository or at the changelog.

This project adheres to Semantic Versioning 2.0.0.


This project is licensed under the GNU AGPL-3.0 License -see the file for details