Web interface for viewing U.S. federal regulations and other regulatory information
Python CSS JavaScript HTML Shell
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A Django library implementing an interface for viewing regulations data. This library combines all of the data from a parsed regulation and generates navigable, accessible HTML, complete with associated information.

This repository is part of a larger eRegulations project. To read about it, please see https://eregs.github.io/.


This library requires

  • Python 2.7, 3.4, 3.5, or 3.6
  • Django 1.8, 1.9, 1.10, or 1.11
  • setuptools v20.5 or later
  • Node 6 or later

API Docs

regulations-site on Read The Docs

Local development

This library lives in two worlds, roughly translating to a Python Django app and a Backbone Javascript app, which communicate through the Django templates. To work on the library locally, you'll need to install components for both systems.

We use tox to test across multiple versions of Python and Django. To run our Python tests, linters, and build our docs, you'll need to install tox globally (Tox handles virtualenvs for us).

pip install tox
# If using pyenv, consider also installing tox-pyenv

The front-end development environment relies on on Node (version 6+) and npm for package management. To install Node, we recommend nvm:

curl -o- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/creationix/nvm/v0.30.2/install.sh | bash # install nvm and run it's setup scripts
nvm install 6 # install node 6
nvm alias default 6 # set node 6 as the default

Alternately you can install Node by:

Finally, you will need to install the frontend dependencies and Grunt command line interface using npm:

cd regulations-site
npm install
npm install -g grunt-cli

Once all of the above is complete, you may run tests and linting across available Python versions:


Or run JS unit tests:

tox -e jstests

There are also a number of Grunt tasks (see below) to compile CSS, lint JS, etc.

Running as an application

While this library is generally intended to be used within a larger project, it can also be ran as its own application via Docker or a local Python install. In both cases, we'll run in DEBUG mode.

Before we can run as an application, we'll need to define where it should look for data. For example, to pull from ATF's data:

echo 'API_BASE = "https://regulations.atf.gov/api/"' >> local_settings.py

To run via Docker,

docker build . -t eregs/site   # only needed after code changes
docker run -p 8000:8000 eregs/site

To run via local Python, run the following inside a virtualenv:

pip install .
python manage.py migrate
python manage.py runserver

In both cases, you can find the site locally at http://localhost:8000

JavaScript application

The application code in JavaScript uses Backbone.js as a foundation, though in some non-standard ways. If you plan to do work on this layer, it is recommended that you acquaint yourself with this starter documentation.

Configuration JSON

In the root of the repository, copy example-config.json to config.json and edit as necessary. Grunt depends on these settings to carry out tasks.

  • testURL is the environment that you would like tests to run on.
  • frontEndPath is the path to the root of your codebase where the css/ and js/ directories are.
  • testPath is the path to the functional test specs.

Running Grunt tasks

There are a number of tasks configured in Gruntfile.js. On the last lines, you will find tasks that group subtasks into common goals. These include:

  • grunt test runs JS lint and unit tests.
  • grunt mocha_stanbul runs only JS unit tests.
  • grunt build-dev builds a development version of the frontend assets.
  • grunt build-dist or just grunt builds a production version of the frontend assets (including minification, etc.)

Integration tests

We have a set of integration (or "functional") tests which run the library through its paces and makes assertions by running a full browser. This requires Selenium and may make use of Sauce Labs for testing additional browsers.


By default, selenium runs tests via the PhantomJS browser (which requires separate installation). Alternatively, you can specify which local browsers to test via the UITESTS_LOCAL environment variable, e.g. "chrome".

To utilize Sauce Labs for a more complete set of browsers, you will need to define two envrionment variables: SAUCE_USERNAME and SAUCE_ACCESS_KEY to house account info. You'll also need to specify which browsers to test via the UITESTS_REMOTE environment variable.


If running via Sauce Labs, you will first need to download and run Sauce Connect.

Then, you'll need to run the library as an application (see above) first; we'll assume it's running on port 8000. See devops/integration-tests.sh for an example which utilizes Docker-compose.

Finally, to run the tests, execute

UITESTS_URL=http://localhost:8000 UITESTS_REMOTE=ie11 tox -e integration
# or
UITESTS_URL=http://localhost:8000 UITESTS_LOCAL=chrome tox -e integration


To learn about customizing the templates and styles for an instance, see Theming an instance.