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This repository contains the backend API for the Book A Secure Move platform.

Ruby versions and other dependencies

We typically use asdf or rbenv to install changing versions of ruby via the .ruby-version file.

If you have rbenv installed you can run rbenv install $(cat .ruby-version). If you have asdf with the ruby plugin installed you can run asdf install.

  • System dependencies
    • postgres
    • redis

Development Environment setup

To setup the local development environment:

  1. Install Postgres and Redis if needed.
  2. Clone this Git repository.
  3. Run bin/setup to install Rubygem dependencies, then setup local test and development databases etc.

Running the application

After setup should then be able to run the local Web server:

bundle exec rails server

Creating client credentials

The application implements OAuth2 client credentials flow. To generate new application client credentials, use the following Rake task:

bundle exec rake auth:create_client_application NAME=test

Please note; the automatically generated secret is hashed and cannot be retrieved later.

To get an access token with client credentials flow, do a POST request to the /oauth/token endpoint:

POST /oauth/token
Authorization: Basic czZCaGRSa3F0MzpnWDFmQmF0M2JW
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded;charset=UTF-8

The Authorization header includes the encoded credentials for the client, represented as a Base64-encoded (without line breaks) string of the form <client_id>:<client_secret>.

You will receive a JSON payload containing an access_token and expires_in. You can then sign following requests with the following header:

Authorization: Bearer <access_token>

The expires_in response denotes the time in seconds from the token request after which the token will expire.

Running tests

We use RSpec for testing, to run the tests:

bundle exec rspec

We use Rubocop for code linting, to run the checks:

bundle exec rubocop

Create reference data

To create reference data (seed data) needed in production run the following rake task:

bundle exec rake reference_data:create_all

Some of these tasks pull data from NOMIS and therefore require environment variables configured with the relevant security credentials.

These tasks are designed to be non-destructive. They can be run multiple times and will only modify data if the original data source has changed.

Create fake transactional data

To optionally create fake transactional data to use for testing and in a development environment run:

bundle exec rails fake_data:create_all

NOTE: This requires all reference data to be loaded before running using the above reference_data:create_all task.

Populate Framework data

To create a framework and populate it's questions run the following rake task:

bundle exec rake frameworks:populate_data

This will pull in all tagged versions from the Framework repository and persist the Framework Questions under the Framework version extracted from the Git tag.

Alternatively, to specify a local Framework and version run the task with the following options:

bundle exec rake frameworks:populate_data['/path/to/hmpps-book-secure-move-frameworks/frameworks','1.1.1']

The path to the frameworks folder and the semantic version can be specified.


Swagger API documentation

The rswag gem is used to generate swagger documentation for the API endpoints defined in spec/swagger/swagger_doc_vN.yaml where N indicates the API version. All endpoints from API version 1 are included and overridden as required in the version 2 file.

These files in turn reference more granular definitions of each entity and expected responses in swagger/vN/*.yaml files. Again, definitions from version 1 are available for inclusion and overridden as needed in version 2 definitions.

Note that the Rswag rspec DSL is not used at all and instead endpoints are defined manually (this proved over time to be easier than using the DSL).

Swagger documentation can be generated or updated by running:

  bundle exec rake rswag

or (both are equivalent)

  bundle exec rails rswag:specs:swaggerize

Swagger UI documentation can then be viewed at http://localhost:3000/api-docs.

The rake task needs to be run manually to see up to date documentation in local development environments and to reflect any changes made to the spec/swagger files. Changes to other files under swagger/vN should be automatically picked up by reloading the Swagger UI page.

The task generates output files in swagger/vN/swagger.yaml - these are not tracked in git as they can be generated as needed and are automatically created as part of the Circle CI build pipeline. Documentation can be downloaded via Swagger UI and imported into a REST client such as Insomnia or Postman for easier manual API testing.

Database schema

A database schema diagram can be generated by running:

bundle exec rake erd

This will output a file named erd.pdf; this file should not be added to git as it can be generated on demand.

Graphviz also needs to be installed (brew install graphviz) for this to work. For more details see:

Continuous Integration

We use Circle CI for continuous integration: running tests, generating swagger documentation, updating the Docker image and automatically deploying to development and staging environment:



This application is deployed to Cloud Platform.

Currently we have a dev, staging, uat, preprod and production environments on Cloud Platform with the following namespace names:

  • hmpps-book-secure-move-api-dev
  • hmpps-book-secure-move-api-staging
  • hmpps-book-secure-move-api-uat
  • hmpps-book-secure-move-api-preprod
  • hmpps-book-secure-move-api-production

dev and staging environments are automatically deployed on successful builds of the main branch on Circle CI.

preprod, uat and production can be deployed by generating a new tag following semantic versioning pointing to the current commit. We typically do this locally with:

Deployments and associated commits are tracked in the service Sentry project. The Git SHA is used to identify the release and is tracked by means of the SENTRY_RELEASE environment variable in Dockerfile. The associated commits are tracked by a CircleCI integration triggered on the deployment stage.

git checkout main
git pull
# Get the latest tag, so we know what the next one will be
git describe --abbrev=0

DATE=$(date "+%Y-%m-%d")
# Replace vx.x.x with the next version

git tag -a $NEXT_VERSION -m "Deploying on $DATE"
git push origin $NEXT_VERSION
git checkout -b changelog-$NEXT_VERSION
rake changelog
git add
git commit -m "Generated changelog for $NEXT_VERSION"
git push --set-upstream origin changelog-$NEXT_VERSION
# Open a PR for the changelog changes

# Check CircleCI to make sure the deployments are running, when they are, monitor the pods with 
watch kubectl -n hmpps-book-secure-move-api-uat get pods

# When the new pods are running nicely (no reboot loops after a few mins), click “Approve Prod” in CircleCI and monitor the pods with
watch kubectl -n hmpps-book-secure-move-api-production get pods

Tagged deploys are gated for the production environment and require an approval. This is typically done after a review from a product owner where reasonable and if a hotfix is not necessary.

You'll want to login to CircleCI and navigate to the project build list to find the build that needs approving.

Running in docker-compose locally.

You can run the build container locally using docker-compose.

# start the docker-compose stack in the background.
docker-compose up -d

# You can follow the logs by doing
docker-compose logs -f

You can force rebuilding the container with:

docker-compose build

You can review swagger documentation by navigating to http://localhost:3000/api-docs/index.html

If your database is fresh or was reset, you need to generate new application client credentials. You can do this by running the respecive rake task inside the compose stack.

docker exec -it hmpps-book-secure-move-api_web_1 bundle exec rake auth:create_client_application NAME=test

The docker-compose stack also exposes the Postgres port to the host. You can update the reference data with:

export DATABASE_URL=postgresql://postgres:postgres@localhost:5432/hmpps-book-secure-move-api
bundle exec rake reference_data:create_all