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The Money Advice Service's legacy tools application.



Clone the repository:

$ git clone --recursive

Install MariaDB/MySQL

$ brew install mariadb

Make sure MySQL is running.

$ brew services restart mariadb

Install Bower

npm install -g bower

Add Rails LTS credentials (get the username and password from Ben L)


Make sure all dependencies are available to the application:

$ bundle install
$ bowndler install

Make sure to copy the .env-example file:

cp .env-example .env

Setup the database:

bundle exec rake db:create db:schema:load


To start the application:

$ foreman s

The site makes a lot of requests to the CMS application. If you are not developing anything that integrates with CMS, you can enable the application cache in development mode by running:

DEV_CACHE=true rails s -p 5000

Or alternatively you can add DEV_CACHE=true to your .env file.

Change CMS URL Path

In development, frontend will use the local CMS for convenience. See CMS repository README for instructions on setting up a local CMS instance.

You can change the MAS_CMS_URL on .env file. Use for testing, or http://localhost:PORT to point to a local running CMS.

Don't forget to restart the server after the modification.

Development setup gotchas

Problems loading Dough or Yeast

Assuming you have run bowndler install, you may have issues with previous bower installations.

rm -rf vendor/assets/bower_components
rm bower.json
bowndler install


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Keep your feature branch focused and short lived
  4. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  5. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  6. Create new Pull Request

Feature Development

We like to develop features from the outside in. We write our user stories in a declarative style. When contributing a feature:

  1. Create a new feature file in features.
  2. Write scenarios to exercise the scope of the feature in it's entirety.
  3. Create page objects in features/support/ui and expose them to the world in features/support/world/pages.rb.
  4. Start with a failing scenario then make it pass.
  5. Write unit tests for the objects you identify for your feature.
  6. Start with a failing unit test then make it pass.
  7. Keep your unit tests isolated.
  8. Test the Routing, Models, Controllers, Decorators, Helpers and JavaScript of your feature.
  9. Test your features against the mock API and record interactions with VCR.


The application is backed by a RESTful JSON API. This is described for humans as a blueprint file using the API Blueprint Language Specification. Changes you make to the blueprint file will be automatically reflected in the online API documentation and mock API.

### Writing front-end code

There are a number of documents to help everyone write maintainble, performant and readible HTML, CSS and Javascript.

We recommend having a flick through these when working on new features:

Front-end Package Management

The application uses Bower to manage front-end packages. Dependencies should be defined in the bower.json configuration file. Once installed they will be automatically available to the asset pipeline.

Consuming the front-end without having to manually import dependencies

There are minor differences to the header and footer in the empty template, to enable the HTML to run in a static fashion. For example, we remove the authentication links in the header as they require knowledge about the user's sessions – which can't easily be shared across multiple sites, domains, etc.

This is done via a hide_elements_irrelevant_for_third_parties? flag in the views.

Projects such as RAD keep this stored in their repo, and have a simple CSS file that overrides or adds the bits they want.



We use Draper for decorators. Decorators help us to keep logic out of our views, avoid procedural helpers and ensure our models are free of any presentational concerns.

Running Karma javascript tests

Run the following in the command line.

RAILS_ENV=development bundle exec rake karma:install karma:run_once

Deploy to staging and production

You'll need a heroku account with permissions to the staging-partner-tools and partner-tools apps.

  1. Configure your local git repository with the staging heroku remote:
  2. git push staging your-branch:main
  3. Once you're happy and this has been tested and approved heroku pipelines:promote --app partner-tools will promote the build to production


The Money Advice Service's improved website.







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