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Paper a Week

A simple interface for finding papers, taking detailed notes, building a habit out of reading papers, and sharing your ideas with others.


  • 📝 Flexible form to take detailed notes including Markdown and LaTeX

  • 👓 Sort and search through your database of notes

  • 📤 Make your profile public and share your notes with others

  • 📑 Plan future work with a reading list

  • 📈 Track your reading frequency over time



The server is written using Node.js and Express.js. Data is stored using MongoDB with Mongoose as an object-document mapping (ODM) library.

The website is deployed from a Docker container using Google Cloud Run.


The interface is primarily based on ant design, with a number of custom components added. React and Redux are used to manage component and application state, respectively.

Guide for Developers

Environment Variables

Create a new file, server/.env. It should look like this:


The first two keys are obtained by setting up a Google OAuth account, the cookie key can be any arbitrary string, and the Mongo URI is obtained after setting up a MongoDB instance.

Mongo Databases

We have two databases, one for development/staging, and one used in deployment. The deployment database should never be used during writing or testing of code.


For development, we use the Mongo Atlas cluster "pawnonprodcluster" and the database paw. An example connection string for that database looks like:


where user and password correspond to your credentials on the Mongo Atlas project.


For deployment, we use the Mongo Atlas cluster "paperaweekdev" with the database test. An example connection string for that database looks like:


Code Style

styled with prettier

The client/ directory is styled using prettier. The settings are defined in our prettier config file. Staged changes are automatically formatted based on a pre-commit hook using husky and pretty-quick.

You can format the files yourself by running yarn pretty-quick from the client directory.

Dependencies 📦

Run yarn install once from server/ and once from client/:

cd server
yarn install
cd ../client
yarn install

You'll need the following installed (maybe globally) if you want hot-reloading and easy startup. They're included in the project, but if you're getting any errors, install them globally.

  • Nodemon to hot-reload the server.

    npm install -g nodemon
  • Concurrently to start the server and client in one go.

    npm install -g concurrently

To start the server and client together, just run yarn start.

Run Tests

To run the tests for the application, run yarn test from the server/ or /client directory, depending on whether you want to run backend or frontend tests.

No credentials or environment variables are required for running tests.

Deployment to Google Cloud Run

Make sure Docker is running on your system before following these steps. You will need to follow the instructions in Google Cloud Run to set up the Google Cloud Project, add a payment method, etc.

GOOGLE_CLOUD_PROJECT=$(gcloud config get-value project)
docker build . --tag${GOOGLE_CLOUD_PROJECT}/paw-app && docker push${GOOGLE_CLOUD_PROJECT}/paw-app

Then go to Cloud Run, select latest image, and re-deploy. We set the number of minimum instances to 1 to avoid cold-starts.