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Roll Call Attendance Tracker


  • Ruby 2.4
  • PostgreSQL
  • Redis

Development setup

Roll Call can be run locally on your machine or with Docker. These instructions assume you are using Docker.

1. Setup Canvas:

You need to have a local Canvas install running, and it needs to be in docker (otherwise having rollcall post back to it will not work, it needs a domain both it and the browser can reach).

Follow our general Docker setup here:

And our Canvas in Docker setup here:

Once you have a dockerized Canvas up and running, you need to add a developer key to Canvas for rollcall to connect with. As an admin account, go to http://canvas.docker/accounts/<id>/developer_keys, create an API key with a tool_id of "rollcall" and a redirect url of http://rollcall.docker/canvas_oauth. Ensure the key state is ON. Once it's been created, get the ID number (an integer) from the index page along with the token and add them as CANVAS_KEY and CANVAS_SECRET, respectively, in .env.

2. Configure the LTI

The LTI will run in development without further configuration; however, some things like mail delivery (for attendance report exports) may not work. You can further configure the LTI by specifying environment variables in .env. Refer to env.sample for inspiration.

Some aspects (such as database and mail) can also be configured in the traditional Rails way of YAML files in the config directory. Refer to config/database.yml.sample and config/mail.yaml.sample for examples.

Note that in production you will want to make sure to configure the SMTP outgoing address parameter to an email address on your own domain; otherwise, your reports will be sent from "Roll Call <>", which is most certainly not what you want.

3. Configure your docker environment for SSL

Do to recent changes in browsers, the session cookies for rollcall are required to have SaveSite=None and secure. Due to secure local development is easier if you configure your dockerized canvas and rollcall to use SSL. If you are using dinghy for OS X based development. You can find instructions on how to create self signed certificates at

The default docker-compose.override.yml file will share your ~/.dinghy/cert directory into the docker containers and add the certifications in that directory as trusted certificates to the container.

4. Docker build + Database migrations:

NOTE: By default this setup uses postgres. To use mysql instead, export:


Now you should be able to build your containers with:

docker compose build

You can get your database prepped for development with the normal rake tasks, you just have to run them in the container:

docker compose run --rm web bundle install
docker compose run --rm web bundle exec rake db:create
docker compose run --rm web bundle exec rake db:migrate

5. Run it!

You should be able to start everything with:

docker compose up

This will start up 5 containers: a web process to hit with your browser, a worker process to consume jobs, a postgres data store, a redis cache, and a minio server so you don't need a real AWS S3 bucket. When they're running, you can visit your app in the browser by going to:


6. Add Roll Call to Canvas:

In Canvas, go to Account >> Settings >> Apps, click "Add App", and use the following settings:

Configuration Type: By URL
Name: Roll Call
Consumer Key: 12345
Shared Secret: secret
Config URL: http://rollcall.docker/configure.xml

You can change the consumer key and shared secret by overriding LTI_KEY and LTI_SECRET in docker-compose.yml.

You're all set!

Running Tests (With Docker!)

Rollcall has three test suites (RSpec, Cucumber, & Jasmine).

Make sure your test database is in the right state before trying to run them:

docker compose run --rm web bundle exec rake db:test:prepare

Now you can run your rspec tests in the web container like this:

docker compose run --rm web bundle exec rake spec

You can watch your jasmine specs run by starting your docker compose config, and then navigating to the ./jasmine directory:

docker compose up

And then visit in your browser: http://rollcall.docker/jasmine

but that kind of sucks for rerunning. Run your javascript tests from the command line like this:

docker compose run --rm web bundle exec rake jasmine:ci

Finally, you can run your cucumber tests, but it's kind of hacky. For linux (which the container is) you need to wrap a cucumber run in "xvfb-run" for capybara-webkit to work correctly, but something in that process is making output redirection not work right, so you won't see the output if you just run "docker compose run --rm web xvfb-run bundle exec cucumber".

We've found you can get around this by telling docker compose you want it to run a bash script, and having the bash script kick off the xvfb-run command, so run this to see your cuke output:

docker compose run --rm web bash bin/cucumber

Running the Whole Suite

If you want to run the whole suite of tests, like a CI would, just run:


and watch the output fly by. It builds the docker image and runs in sequence the rspec tests, the jasmine tests, and the cukes. Failures in any should exit the script with a non-zero exit code.


You can enable or disable the avatars service in Canvas via the Rails console in canvas-lms:

# from the canvas-lms directory
docker compose run --rm web bundle exec rails c

Account.find_each { |a| a.enable_service(:avatars) ; }
- or -
Account.find_each { |a| a.disable_service(:avatars) ; }