Call My Congress
Call My Congress is a small application that helps US citizens quickly find contact information for their congressional representatives.
You will need the following things properly installed on your computer.
git clone https://github.com/mchat/call-my-congress.gitthis repository
Running / Development
Since this application includes both a front end and a back end, you will need to start up two servers to begin development.
Note: Running the backend requires access to ProPublica. You'll need to obtain an API key for the ProPublica Congress API to make valid requests.
PROPUBLICA_API_KEY=[...] npm run backend
npm run frontend
- Visit http://localhost:4200 to see the app running locally.
Both of these servers will automatically reload whenever you save changes.
To run all tests once (used for Travis CI builds):
This runs both the front end and back end test suites. You can also run either suite just once with:
npm run test:backend
npm run test:frontend
To develop against tests:
npm run test-server:backend
npm run test-server:frontend
This will start a test server for the test suite in question, and will reload your tests whenever you save either app or test code.
Pro tip for front end tests: the tests will be opened in your browser. You can use the
filter query param to run a subset of tests. I.e.
?filter=Integration | Component will only run the component integration tests.
ember build --environment production(production)
Changes pushed to master are automatically deployed to Heroku once they have a passing build.
This app is deployed to two separate dynos on Heroku. The first (
call-my-congress) is configured to run only the front end Ember application. The second (
call-my-congress-backend) runs the Express server.
call-my-congress proxies all
/api/ requests to
call-my-congress-backend, which is defined in
Call My Congress relies on third-party APIs to serve district and congressional data. When Call My Congress is experiencing a high volume of traffic, we want to ensure we don't overwhelm our third-party APIs with requests or hit their designated rate limits.
Since most of the response data (congressional representatives, their contact information, and mapping zip codes to districts) does not change on a frequent basis, we can cache the responses and avoid making additional requests for the same data.
Zip code to district data is cached by zip code lookup, and held for one week.
Congressional representative data is cached by either House or Senate, and held for one day.
The current cache implementation uses only app memory (which means each server starts with a completely empty cache when it refreshes, and multiple servers running the app cannot share a cache). We should consider adding a database (like Redis) to further enable Call My Congress to scale in the future if the app-memory cache hits the top of its constraints.
Note: We will never cache or log district lookup by street address, as this is personally-identifiable information and unique to the point that there aren't any gains to be made. Zip code lookups are sufficiently de-anonymized and general to warrant caching.
PRs and improvements are welcome! If you'd like to contribute but aren't sure where to start, here's a short wish list of small contributions:
- Improve high-level documentation (particularly around getting started or running locally)
- Document a component with its expected inputs and behavior
- Add another test for a case that's missing
- Try out the app on a different browser or operating system, and if there are any bugs then file an issue and consider trying to fix it
- Translate helper text and error messages into a new language (original English strings)