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.github Update Feb 15, 2018
app Update home.html.erb Mar 26, 2018
config Oauth routes, figaro and config/initializers file updates (publiclab#… Mar 23, 2018
db Fixes initial setup error (publiclab#2505) Mar 17, 2018
doc Update Feb 21, 2018
lib Rails 4.1 upgrade (publiclab#1799) Dec 7, 2017
public publiclab#1661 Resolved - robots.txt tweaked (publiclab#1673) Oct 10, 2017
script styling for plots2 Oct 22, 2012
spec/javascripts various cleanup (publiclab#1295) Feb 26, 2017
test Improved graphs of stats page (publiclab#2405) Mar 25, 2018
.bowerrc fontawesome, js/css assets all loading, working on post form #197 Mar 4, 2015
.codeclimate.yml Add code coverage (publiclab#1193) Jan 24, 2017
.eslintignore Add code coverage (publiclab#1193) Jan 24, 2017
.gitignore [WIP] Danger bot outputs test failures in detail in PR (publiclab#1430) Aug 7, 2017
.rubocop-http---shopify-github-io-ruby-style-guide-rubocop-yml Draft creation for nodes (publiclab#2308) Feb 16, 2018
.rubocop_todo.yml Implement style guide (publiclab#1993) Jan 16, 2018
.travis.yml Fix Error reporting and parsing (fixes publiclab#1852) (publiclab#1857) Dec 11, 2017
Dockerfile Update Dockerfile (publiclab#2472) Mar 9, 2018
Gemfile Oauth routes, figaro and config/initializers file updates (publiclab#… Mar 23, 2018
Gemfile.lock added links for location privacy help page publiclab#2346 (publiclab#… Feb 20, 2018
LICENSE adding license file Feb 23, 2015
README.environment Update (publiclab#2233) Feb 5, 2018
Rakefile initial attempt at mysql fulltext search for nodes (publiclab#1913) Jan 12, 2018
bower.json updated rich editor with jquery compatibility fixes (publiclab#1663) Dec 15, 2017 styling for plots2 Oct 22, 2012

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The content management system for the Public Lab research community, the plots2 web application is a combination of a group research blog of what we call "research notes" and a wiki. Read more about the data model here.

It features a Bootstrap-based UI and a variety of community and attribution features that help the Public Lab community collaborate on environmental technology design and documentation, as well as community organizing. Originally a Drupal site, it was rewritten in 2012 in Ruby on Rails and has since extended but not entirely replaced the legacy Drupal data model and database design.

Some key features include:


(Above: draft of our Data model)


We welcome contributions, and are especially interested in welcoming first time contributors. Read more about how to contribute below! We especially welcome contributions from people from groups under-represented in free and open source software!

Code of Conduct

Please read and abide by our Code of Conduct; our community aspires to be a respectful place both during online and in-­person interactions.

Table of Contents

  1. Simple Installation with Cloud9
  2. Prerequisites
  3. Testing
  4. API
  5. Bugs and Support
  6. Data model
  7. Recaptcha


  1. In the console, download a copy of the source with git clone
  2. Enter the new plots2 directory with cd plots2.
  3. Install gems with bundle install --without production mysql from the rails root folder, to install the gems you'll need, excluding those needed only in production. You may need to first run bundle update if you have older gems in your environment from previous Rails work.
  4. Make a copy of db/schema.rb.example and place it at db/schema.rb.
  5. Make a copy of config/database.yml.sqlite.example and place it at config/database.yml
  6. Run rake db:setup to set up the database
  7. Install static assets (like external javascript libraries, fonts) with bower install
  8. (optional, not recommended) Install solr engine rails generate sunspot_rails:install
  9. (optional, not recommended) Start the solr server in foreground by using bundle exec rake sunspot:solr:start
  10. (optional, not recommended) Index your search database in solr server using bundle exec rake sunspot:reindex
  11. Start rails with passenger start from the Rails root and open http://localhost:3000 in a web browser.
  12. Wheeeee! You're up and running! Log in with test usernames "user", "moderator", or "admin", and password "password".
  13. Run rake test to confirm that your install is working properly. For some setups, you may see warnings even if test pass; see this issue we're working to resolve.

Ruby version

Make sure to use ruby-2.3.4. To check your ruby version run ruby -v.If you are using some other version then install ruby-2.3.4 with rvm install 2.3.4. Later to use ruby-2.3.4, run rvm use 2.3.4. Always make sure that you are using the correct ruby version since it might go back to its original version if you close the terminal. You might have to redo the entire installation process after switching to a different version.

Bundle exec

For some, it will be necessary to prepend your gem-related commands with bundle exec, for example, bundle exec passenger start; adding bundle exec ensures you're using the version of passenger you just installed with Bundler. bundle exec rake db: setup, bundle exec rake db: seed are other examples of where this might be necessary.

Bugs and support

To report bugs and request features, please use the GitHub issue tracker provided at

For additional support, join the Public Lab website and mailing list at or for urgent requests, email

Internationalization now supports Internationalization and localization, though we are in the initial stages. This has been accomplished with rails-I8n.

To see it in action, click on the 'Language' drop-down located in the footer section of the page. All the guidelines and best practices for I18n can be found here.

Translations are arranged in the YAML files here, which are set in a similar way to views files. An example for adding translations can be found here.

To add new languages or for additional support, please write to


Help improve Public Lab software!

First Time?

New to open source/free software? Here is a selection of issues we've made especially for first-timers. We're here to help, so just ask if one looks interesting :

We also have a slightly larger list of easy-ish but small and self-contained issues: