The DPLA portal
Ruby HTML CoffeeScript CSS JavaScript

DPLA Frontend

This is the frontend Ruby on Rails application for DPLA platform.

We welcome pull requests for bug fixes and new features. Please use a separate feature branch for each pull request.

Quickstart for hacking on the DPLA front end

Here's what you need to do if you want to get set up to, for example, fix a bug or add a feature -- and submit a pull request, of course.

This will also allow you to build a whitebox version of the web site.

NOTE: Because the current dependencies include native Gems, it may be difficult to install them on Windows. Two known extensions include Rmagic & debug_inspector.


  • Git
  • Ruby - ruby, ruby-dev, build-essential
  • RMagic gem prereqs - imagemagick and libmagickwand-dev
  • Postgresql - postgresql-common, postgresql, pgadmin3


This procedure was tested on Ubuntu. It may need to be adapted for other operating systems.

  1. Install Git

    sudo apt-get install git

  2. Download sources

    git clone dpla-frontend cd dpla-frontend

  3. Install Ruby & related dependencies

    sudo apt-get install ruby ruby-dev build-essential sudo apt-get install imagemagick libmagickwand-dev

  4. Install necessary Ruby Gems

    bundle install --deployment

  5. Install PostgreSQL

    sudo apt-get postgresql-common, postgresql, pgadmin3

  6. Configure PostgreSQL & create development database

    sudo -u postgres psql postgres psql (9.1.10) Type "help" for help. postgres=# pwd postgres-# \password postgres

ie enter the command \password postgres at the postgres-# prompt

After entering the new password twice, press ctrl/D to exit.

Now create the development database:

sudo -u postgres createdb dpla_development

Finally, copy config/database.yml.example to config/database.yml and edit it to provide your username, password, and database for the development configuration:

  adapter: postgresql
  host: localhost
  encoding: unicode
  database: dpla_development
  username: postgres
  password: <postgres password>
  1. Copy config/environments/development.yml.example to config/environments/development.yml, and edit it to provide your DPLA API key

  2. Build the front end assets

    rake assets:precompile

  3. Run the database migrations

    rake db:migrate

  4. Start the local Rails server

    rails server

You should now be able to point your browser at http://localhost:3000/ and see your local copy of the DPLA front end.


This application is released under an AGPLv3 license.

  • Copyright Digital Public Library of America, 2015 -- 2017