Recipes for building our software and dependencies in various formats and environments.
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mySociety Public Builds

This repository contains shared recipes for building our software and dependencies in various formats and environments. With some adjustment, re-users should be able to use these to create custom builds of their own.


Each subdirectory is named for the tool used for the build process, so in order to use these you'll need to be at least broadly familiar with these and have them installed locally.

Running script/bootstrap will check for current dependencies and download any required assets (such as a Debian ISO for the Vagrant build, see below).


Where a project supports Docker, we'll include the relevant Dockerfile in the project repository rather than here. The Docker builds in this repository will generally be dependencies and shared containers used in our example Docker Compose environments.


We're using Packer to build AMIs and Vagrant boxes. The packer/ directory contains a Makefile that documents how we produce our supported images.

The builds use Debian Stretch; the Amazon build will use the most recent official Debian AMI as a basis and the Vagrant build expects a copy of the Debian Stretch network installation ISO to be present in packer/iso - as noted above, the required file can be downloaded by running script/bootstrap.

Standard Builds

Our standard builder definitions can be found in packer/builders. These are intended to be able to build various different mySociety applications using overrides set in files under packer/vars names for the application in question, for example vars/fixmystreet.json.

We currently provide the following example build recipes:

  • FixMyStreet full AMI - this contains everything needed to run an instance of FixMyStreet, including a local Postgres database, nginx reverse proxy and memcached.

  • FixMyStreet Vagrant box - this is a simple box with our current dependencies (including Perl modules) pre-installed. This is intended for use with the Vagrantfile supplied in the FixMyStreet repository.

Custom Builds

Should you wish to build your own images based on the recipes here, this should be possible without having to make significant changes. You'll need to provide your own AWS credentials, the builder expects AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID and AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY environment variables.

Controlling the availability of images

The AMI builder sets ami_groups to all, this means that any AMIs built as-is will be public - if you want to build a private image, remove this line from packer/builders/amazon.json.

Setting the AWS region

Currently the builds default to using the eu-west-1 region, to override this pass a -var option when you run the build, for example -var 'region=us-east-1'.

Configuring a particular build or instance

First, note the comments above about AMIs being publicly available by default, so take care about adding secrets to any images.

See the following documents for more information on customising builds for specific services: