The DuckDuckHack Developer Tool
DuckPAN is an application built to aid DuckDuckHack developers. It is mainly used to generate the required files for new Instant Answers (the devloper must implement functionality) and also test both the triggering and visual display of Instant Answers.
Currently DuckPAN only supports Goodie and Spice Instant Answers.
Currently, DuckPAN has been developed on, and works well with Ubuntu. More specifically, we regularly build, test and run DuckPAN on Ubuntu 12.04. We have also successfully installed and run DuckPAN on older and newer Ubuntu releases, e.g. Ubuntu 10.04, 12.10, and 13.04.
Developers have also been successful running DuckPAN on other Linux distros (e.g. Arch, Debian) and on Mac OS X 10.8 and later, but we make no promises that it will work outside of Ubuntu.
As well, there have been reported issues with installing DuckPAN on Windows, so we don't recommend you go down that path.
That being said, we are more than willing to help you debug any installation problems, so please come to us with your problems and we'll try to get your issues sorted out. If you'd like some help from our community, feel free to engage with them on the DuckDuckGo forum.
We run our DuckPAN tests against Perl 5.16 and 5.18 using Travis (https://travis-ci.org/duckduckgo/p5-app-duckpan). We suggest you install Perl 5.16 via Perlbrew for local development. The Codio boxes come with Perlbrew and Perl 5.18 already installed.
- Getting Started
- Using the Codio Project Template
- DuckDuckHack Development Virtual Machine
- Vagrant Virtual Environment
- Installing DuckPAN Locally
- Using DuckPAN
Getting started with DuckPAN is easy! Here's a list of ways you can get DuckPAN up & running:
- Use our Codio Project Template (see below). We highly recommended this choice! It's super quick and easy.
- Use our DuckDuckHack development virtual machine image (see below)
- Use the Vagrant virtual environment (see below)
- Install DuckPAN locally (see below). Keep in mind, this requires Linux or Mac OS X. We suggest you install Ubuntu.
After installing DuckPAN, be sure to checkout the Using DuckPAN section below!
Using the Codio Project Template
- Create an account on Codio.
- Go to https://codio.com/duckduckgo/duckduckhack and fork the project. Make sure to fork the project and the box.
- Visit one of our Instant Answer repositories (such as https://github.com/duckduckgo/zeroclickinfo-spice), and follow GitHub's instructions to first fork the repository. You can then clone the repo into your Codio machine (You need to open the Terminal for this).
- Go into the directory (by typing in
cd zeroclickinfo-spice) and run
duckpan server. Click on "DuckPAN Server" to view the webpage.
- You're all set!
Try typing in queries like "define hello," and see if it works for you. You might be wondering why there are no search results in the page. It's because DuckPAN isn't configured to work with search results—it's only for testing Instant Answers.
DuckDuckHack Development Virtual Machine
The purpose of our DuckDuckHack VM is to provide a sandbox for DuckDuckGo Instant Answer development that is quick to set up and start working with.
DDH VM Breakdown
- Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
- Perl 5.16.3 (managed by Perlbrew)
- build-essential (for make, gcc, cc, etc)
- cpanminus (managed by Perlbrew)
- XFCE Window Manager
- SublimeText, vim, emacs
- Firefox (Configured via fixtracking.com)
- Platform specific virtualization guest tools (optimizes hardware emulation)
For VirtualBox hosts
For VMWare hosts
- Docker support
- Public AMI for use on EC2
Installing the Virtual Machine
To use the Virtual Machine, you will need to download and install VirtualBox, VMWare Workstation or VMWare Player, depending on your current OS.
Then you will need to import the VM.
Website: https://www.virtualbox.org/ Supports: Windows, OS X, Linux
Import the VM
- Download the OVA
- Open VirtualBox, click "File" and then click "Import Appliance"
- Click "Open appliance..." and select the DuckDuckHack virtual appliance OVA file -- click "Next"
- Click "Import"
VMWare Player (free)
Website: https://www.vmware.com/products/player/ Supports: Windows, Linux
Import the VM
- Download the OVA
- Open VMWare Player, and click "Open a Virtual Machine"
- Choose a storage path for the Virtual Machine -- click "Import"
Using the Virtual Machine
Logging into the VM
Once you have installed the virtual machine you should be able to start up the VM and login with the following credentials:
- username :
- password :
Cloning the repository on the VM
The DuckPAN client has already been installed for you. To use it, you must 1st clone your instant answer git repository.
The instant answer repositories are:
Then, run the git clone command to clone the repository. The URL is the SSH clone URL listed on the right side of the github webpage for your forked repository. (You can also use the HTTPS clone URL.)
git clone URL
See the instructions below on Using DuckPAN.
Vagrant Virtual Environment
The Vagrant-based DuckDuckHack virtual environment provides a similar sandbox to the DuckDuckHack VM, but rather than downloading a prebuilt VM, Vagrant creates an environment for you based on the defined configuration. Vagrant is an awesome tool for building development environments. One command -
vagrant up - gets you a complete working environment in minutes. Something go wrong with the environment? No messing around with snapshots. Tear the VM down and build a fresh environment. The DuckDuckHack Vagrant environment uses Chef cookbooks and the DuckPAN installer script, so configuration is transparent and easily shared.
Through the Vagrant configuration, you can easily switch back and forth between a headless-mode and the traditional VirtualBox interface. The configuration defaults to headless.
Refer to the duckpan-vagrant readme for installation instructions.
Once the environment has been built, the DuckPAN client is installed and ready to go. You can now clone the Instant Answer repos and start developing/testing.
If you run into any issues, please file an issue in the duckpan-vagrant issue page.
Quick Overview of key Vagrant CLI commands
There are a couple of key Vagrant commands that you'll use to manage your environment.
$ vagrant up - Build environment from Vagrantfile or resume a previously halted environment. ssh - Connect to your running VM via SSH. suspend - Pause the VM, storing its current state to disk. resume - Bring a suspended VM back to life. reload - The equivalent of running a halt followed by an up. Use this when you make changes to Vagrantfile. halt - Shut down the VM. Tries to gracefully shutdown first; if that fails, it will forcefully shut the VM down. destroy - Stop the currently running VM and blow everything away.
Run these commands from the directory containing your
For more information, please see the (excellent) Vagrant docs.
Installing DuckPAN Locally
Note: You don't need to install DuckPAN locally if you're using our DuckDuckHack virtual machine or the Vagrant virtual environment. It's already installed for you!
To install DuckPAN, open your terminal and run:
curl http://duckpan.org/install.pl | perl
This script will setup local::lib, which is a way to install Perl modules without changing your base Perl installation. If you already use
local::lib or perlbrew, don't worry, this script will intelligently use what you already have.
If you didn't have a
local::lib before running the install script, you will need to run the script twice. It should tell you when like this:
please now re-login to your user account and run it again!
If everything works, you should see this at the end:
EVERYTHING OK! You can now go hacking! :)
cpanm App::DuckPAN App::DuckPAN is up to date.
Optional Dependencies (for Staff and Maintainers)
DuckPAN now uses Node.js, Handlebars.js, and Uglify.js to build releases of the ZeroClickInfo repositories. Releases are only created and used by DuckDuckGo Staff and so these dependencies are only required for DuckDuckGo Staff. If you execute
dzil install or
dzil test without these dependencies you will see errors.
Executables and binaries along with installation instructions can be found on the Node.js download page.
Installing Handlebars.js and Uglify.js
Once you've installed Node, you'll also need to install Handlebars.js and Uglify.js by running:
npm install -g firstname.lastname@example.org uglifyjs
Adding Shell Completion
Some of our awesome community members have written shell completion scripts for DuckPAN, which should save you tons of time. Feel free to improve these, or contribute new ones!
- Submitted by: mattr555
- link: https://github.com/mattr555/dotfiles/blob/master/bin/duckpancomp.sh
Dealing With Installation Issues
If during the course of your DuckPAN install you run into errors, don't panic, there are a few things you can try.
First, try running the install command again (
curl http://duckpan.org/install.pl | perl), this often solves issues related to any dependencies.
If that doesn't work, you should investigate the build.log and see what's wrong. It might be a dependency issue which you can resolve by manually installing whichever dependency is missing via
If it still won't install with
cpanm try adding
--notest to the cpanm command:
cpanm Test::More --notest
If that still doesn't work, you can also try using
cpanm Test::More --force
If this still doesn't work, please create a GitHub Issue in the DuckPAN Repo here. Be sure to paste the contents of your
build.log and also let us know the details of your OS (
$ uname -a is great). Once you've made the issue, we'll work with you to try and solve any problems you're having.
Shows you the DuckPAN help page which briefly describes DuckPAN and its features.
For Instant Answer Developers
duckpan new [instant_answer_name]
Generates all necessary files for a new Spice or Goodie Instant Answer (depending on the current repo). DuckPAN will prompt you for a package name and generate the required files. If the name is already in use, DuckPAN will let you know and no files will be created.
duckpan new MyFirst::Spice
duckpan query [package_name ...]
Test Goodie and Spice triggers interactively on the command line.
[package_name ...]to load only the specified Spice or Goodie Instant Answers.
duckpan query Npm
duckpan query Twitter IsItUp
duckpan server [--port <number>] [package_name ...]
-pto specify which port DuckPAN's server should run on (defaults to 5000).
[package_name ...]to load only the specified Spice or Goodie Instant Answers.
duckpan server Movie
duckpan server IDN Sort Morse
Install all requirements of the specific DuckDuckHack project (if possible), like zeroclickinfo-spice, zeroclickinfo-goodie, duckduckgo or community-platform.
Check if you fulfill all requirements for the development environment.
For DuckPAN Developers
Force installation of the latest released versions of DuckPAN and DDG.
duckpan -I [filepath ...]
Loads the specified external libraries. This should be used to test changes made to
duckpan -I../p5-app-duckpan/lib server
For DuckDuckHack Admins
Release the distribution of the current directory. Used to issue new releases for the following repos: zeroclickinfo-spice, zeroclickinfo-goodies, p5-app-duckpan, duckduckgo-publisher, duckduckgo.
Helps configure your environment so you can use
Dist::Zilla::Plugin::UploadToDuckPAN, which is used by
installdeps, but avoids testing anything. Useful for speed, but
not recommended unless you know what you are doing.
For Translation Managers
duckpan poupload [--domain] filepath
.po file to the Community Platform.
duckpan env help
env commands and shows command usage.
duckpan env set <name> <value>
Add an environment variable that duckpan will remember. Useful for
spice API keys. Variables are stored in
duckpan env get <name>
Retrieve the matching key for a given env variable.
duckpan env rm <name>
Remove an environment variable from duckpan.
duckpan env list <name>
Lists all the env variables currently stored in