Cron job that posts to Slack incoming webhook when new executive orders (or actions or memos) are published to
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What is this?

Executive Orders is a cron job that posts to a Slack webhook whenever new a new document is published on


The following things are assumed to be true in this documentation.

  • You are running OSX.
  • You are using Python 3. (Probably the version that came OSX.)
  • You have virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper installed and working.

For more details our stack, see our development environment blog post.

What's in here?

The project contains the following folders and important files:

  • fabfile -- Fabric commands for automating setup, deployment, data processing, etc.
  • -- Global project configuration for scripts, deployment, etc.
  • crontab -- Cron jobs to be installed as part of the project.
  • requirements.txt -- Python requirements.
  • -- Shell script to run at the beginning of cron jobs to source environment variables and virtual environments.

Bootstrap the project

cd executive-orders
mkvirtualenv -p `which python3` executive-orders
pip install -r requirements.txt

Hide project secrets

Project secrets should never be stored in or anywhere else in the repository. They will be leaked to the client if you do. Instead, always store passwords, keys, etc. in environment variables and document that they are needed here in the README.

Any environment variable that starts with $PROJECT_SLUG_ will be automatically loaded when app_config.get_secrets() is called.

Connecting to Slack

To connect Clerk to your Slack, you will need to create an incoming webhook and copy the webhook endpoint to an environment variable called clerk_WEBHOOK. The default server setup expects the environment variable to be placed in /etc/environment.

Setting up servers

Use the server configuration in to set up your servers correctly. You can set the user, python version, and the folders where various pieces install.

Deploy to EC2

  1. Run fab staging master servers.setup to configure the server.
  2. Run fab staging master deploy to deploy the project to the server. Note that this will also install your crontab.

Managing cron jobs

Cron jobs are defined in the file crontab. Each task should use the shim to ensure the project's virtualenv is properly activated prior to execution. For example:

* * * * * ubuntu bash /home/ubuntu/apps/executive_orders/repository/ fab $DEPLOYMENT_TARGET cron_jobs.test >> /var/log/executive_orders/crontab.log 2>&1

The cron jobs themselves should be defined in fabfile/ whenever possible.

To install the cronjob, run either fab staging master deploy, which will also synchronize the repo with the latest on Github, or fab staging master servers.install_crontab to simply copy the crontab on the server to etc/cron.d.

To uninstall the cronjob (a recommended practice for disabling the job), run fab staging master servers.uninstall_cronjob.