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Rails code running the Lobsters link aggregation site
Ruby HTML JavaScript CSS
Latest commit 6537e7d May 9, 2016 @jcs clean up tests

Lobsters Rails Project

This is the source code to the site operating at It is a Rails 4 codebase and uses a SQL (MariaDB in production) backend for the database and Sphinx for the search engine.

While you are free to fork this code and modify it (according to the license) to run your own link aggregation website, this source code repository and bug tracker are only for the site operating at Please do not use the bug tracker for support related to operating your own site unless you are contributing code that will also benefit

Contributing bugfixes and new features

Please see the CONTRIBUTING file.

Initial setup

  • Install Ruby. This code has been tested with Ruby versions 1.9.3, 2.0.0, 2.1.0, and 2.3.0.

  • Checkout the lobsters git tree from Github

     $ git clone git://
     $ cd lobsters
  • Run Bundler to install/bundle gems needed by the project:

     lobsters$ bundle
  • Create a MySQL (other DBs supported by ActiveRecord may work, only MySQL and MariaDB have been tested) database, username, and password and put them in a config/database.yml file:

        adapter: mysql2
        encoding: utf8mb4
        reconnect: false
        database: lobsters_dev
        socket: /tmp/mysql.sock
        username: *username*
        password: *password*
        adapter: sqlite3
        database: db/test.sqlite3
        pool: 5
        timeout: 5000
  • Load the schema into the new database:

      lobsters$ rake db:schema:load
  • Create a config/initializers/secret_token.rb file, using a randomly generated key from the output of rake secret:

      Lobsters::Application.config.secret_key_base = 'your random secret here'
  • (Optional, only needed for the search engine) Install Sphinx. Build Sphinx config and start server:

      lobsters$ rake ts:rebuild
  • Define your site's name and default domain, which are used in various places, in a config/initializers/production.rb or similar file:

      class << Rails.application
        def domain
        def name
          "Example News"
      Rails.application.routes.default_url_options[:host] = Rails.application.domain
  • Put your site's custom CSS in app/assets/stylesheets/local.

  • Seed the database to create an initial administrator user and at least one tag:

      lobsters$ rake db:seed
      created user: test, password: test
      created tag: test
  • Run the Rails server in development mode. You should be able to login to http://localhost:3000 with your new test user:

      lobsters$ rails server
  • In production, set up crontab or another scheduler to run regular jobs:

      */20 * * * * cd /path/to/lobsters && env RAILS_ENV=production bundle19 exec rake ts:index > /dev/null
      */5 * * * *  cd /path/to/lobsters && env RAILS_ENV=production sh -c 'bundle19 exec ruby script/mail_new_activity; bundle19 exec ruby script/post_to_twitter'
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