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Hydrangea & the Hydra Framework

Introduction and Installation Instructions

Hydrangea is the reference implementation of the Hydra framework, which builds on Blacklight, ActiveFedora and Ruby on Rails

For a more thorough overview of the Hydra framework, see HYDRA_OVERVIEW.textile


Hydrangea requires Ruby version 1.8.7. It will not run on Ruby 1.8.6. If you need to upgrade Ruby, consider using RVM to do so, especially in your development environment.

Other Requirements:

Basic installation & Running RSpec tests

This is based on Matt Zumwalt’s Hydra Stack: Getting Started notes from LibDevConX in March 2010.

Clone the git repository from github and pull the copy of jetty

git clone git://
cd hydrangea
git submodule init
git submodule update

Note: It’s OK if ‘git submodule init’ returns ‘No submodule mapping found in .gitmodules for path ’vendor/plugins/blacklight/data’

This will pull all of the code. The ‘git submodule update’ command is pulling a copy of hydra-jetty into the jetty directory within hydrangea.

You are now in your working copy of hydrangea. Use bundler to install the gem dependencies.

bundle install

Run your database migrations (only need to do this once after cloning the git repository).

rake db:migrate

Now run the bundled copy of Jetty, which has Fedora and Solr installed & configured to work with Hydra. We have created rake tasks to make this easier. For a full listing of rake tasks provided by Hydra, run

rake --describe hydra
rake hydra:jetty:load

Import the fixture objects that are used by the rspec and cucumber tests

rake hydra:default_fixtures:load

If you have already loaded these fixtures before, you should refresh them with

rake hydra:default_fixtures:refresh

Run the Rspec tests to make sure everything is working properly.

rake spec

If all of the RSpec tests are passing, try the Cucumber tests

rake cucumber

If you have all of the RSpec and Cucumber tests passing, then the application is installed correctly.

Now run the rails lighttpd server


If all goes well, you will be able to see an empty copy of hydrangea at http://localhost:3000

Create the sample user “archivist1”

The fixture objects are set up to control permissions for a user named archivist1. To create this user, click “login” then click “create one” and create a new user named archivist1 with whatever password you want. Now when you log in as archivist1 you will be able to see more records and you will be able to edit some of them.

Stopping the server when you’re done

To stop the rails app, press ctl+c in the window where you ran script/server

To stop jetty, use the rake task

rake hydra:jetty:stop


Design & Strategic Contributions

The Hydra Framework would not exist without the extensive design effort undertaken by representatives of repository initiatives from Stanford University, University of Virginia and University of Hull. Contributors to that effort include Tom Cramer, Lynn McRae, Martha Sites, Richard Green, and Chris Awre.

Thorny Staples from Fedora Commons & DuraSpace deserves special thanks for putting all of these people in the same room together.

Technical Contributions

Technical Lead: Matt Zumwalt (MediaShelf)
User Interface & User Experience Designer: Jennifer Vine

Eddie Shin, Jessie Keck, Christopher Jesuderai, McClain Looney, Luke Francl, Dan Weinand, Ken Earley, Paul Wenzel

Charles Kerns, Bess Sadler, Richard Green, Tom Lauderman, Mark Matienzo

Additional thanks

Project Blacklight and the Blacklight contributors
Willy Mene, who created one of the “Hydra head” prototypes on which Hydrangea is based.
Chris Fitzpatrick & Douglas Kim, who created the first version of Solrizer and then thoroughly exercised it.
Naomi Dushay, whose knowledge of solr is impeccable.
Stu Snydman, project manager for the SALT Hydra prototype.