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Modelbrouwers Apps & phpBB integration

Modelbrouwers.nl is a scale modelling community. We couple a phpBB3 board with custom developed apps in Django:

  • Album software, integrated with the board
  • Groupbuilds managed and integrated in the board
  • Awards, allowing nomination and voting of topics
  • Kit database with reviews
  • Builds overview, add your build topic with metadata to a personal database.
  • phpBB3 administration through the Django admin.

Setting up the development environment

For new developers, setting up the environment can be overwhelming at first. Don't hesitate to contact BBT on the Modelbrouwers.nl IRC chat or forum itself.

Installing Python

Python is the programming language Django is written in, you'll need at least version 2.7. Python 3.x is untested.

On Windows, get Python 2.7 here: Python installer.


A 64-bit version exists, but often causes problems with third party libraries. It's advisory to install a 32-bit Python version.


Often problems arise with the $PATH variable and the 'python' command not being available in a shell. See stackoverflow for a resolution.

On Linux Python mostly comes with the distro and should be a recent version.

Installing virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper

virtualenv creates isolated Python environments on your system, allowing multiple versions of libraries to be installed without interfering each other.

virtualenvwrapper provides a more intuitive interface to use these environments.

Both are optional, but highly recommended!

On Linux, consult distro specific guides. For windows, the installer is available on Pypi.

Initializing the project

You only need to do this once to configure the project environment.

Start with creating a virtualenv:

$ mkvirtualenv brouwers

Or with regular virtualenv:

$ virtualenv myenv

And activate it:

$ workon brouwers

(regular virtualenv, Linux/OSX):

$ source myenv/bin/activate

cd to your project folder, e.g.:

$ cd /home/me/code

Fork the repository on GitHub (button is above) and clone the fork with your favorite tool, e.g. on the commandline:

$ git clone https://github.com/<my-github-account>/modelbrouwers.git

or use the Windows Git client (recommended for inexperienced users)

Installing django and the project dependencies

All dependencies are in the requirements folder, grouped by the environment type (development, staging, production). Install with:

$ pip install -r requirements/development.txt

These will be installed in your virtualenv.

Installing front-end dependencies

Make sure npm and jspm are installed globally. Then run:

$ npm install


$ jspm install

This will install all the necessary front-end dependencies. Additionally install compass for .scss files compiling with:

$ gem install compass

Create the settings

You need some settings to get the project up. For security reasons, sensitive data lives in secrets.py

Copy src/conf/settings/secrets.py_example to secrets.py.

Edit secrets.py to include your own settings. You can generate a secret key here: SecretKey.

The base file is base.py, and is included by settings/development.py for instance.

All available database backends are in the example file, for local development it's easiest if everything is changed to sqlite3 (like the DATABASES['sqlite3'] example). Both the 'default' and 'mysql' database must be present.

In production the Django tables live in a postgresql database, while the phpBB3 tables live in MySQL. Replicating this environment is probably the most robust during development.

Create an empty directory named log in the project's root.

Creating the database


$ python src/manage.py migrate

This creates the database if you're running sqlite and runs all required migrations.

Finally, create a superuser account:

$ python src/manage.py createsuperuser

Fill out the prompts. You now have a user with all permissions.

Starting the development server

Django comes with a development server included.

Start it by invoking:

$ python src/manage.py runserver

Point your browser to You should see a homepage.

Setting up local phpBB3-installation

We're currently on the 3.0.x branch. The 3.1.x versions have major backwards incompatible changes that our code needs adoption for.

To install phpBB3, you'll need a full fledged PHP stack with a (MySQL) database.

Download the installer from here: phpBB3install and follow the instructions.


Run all tests by executing:

$ python src/manage.py test src


Thanks to `browserstack`_ to make cross browser testing a breeze.