CLAM: Computational Linguistics Application Mediator
by Maarten van Gompel, Centre for Language and Speech Technology, Radboud University Nijmegen
Licensed under GPLv3
CLAM allows you to quickly and transparently transform your Natural Language Processing application into a RESTful webservice, with which both human end-users as well as automated clients can interact. CLAM takes a description of your system and wraps itself around the system, allowing end-users or automated clients to upload input files to your application, start your application with specific parameters of their choice, and download and view the output of the application once it is completed.
CLAM is set up in a universal fashion, requiring minimal effort on the part of the service developer. Your actual NLP application is treated as a black box, of which only the parameters, input formats and output formats need to be described. Your application itself needs not be network aware in any way, nor aware of CLAM, and the handling and validation of input can be taken care of by CLAM.
CLAM is entirely written in Python, runs on UNIX-derived systems, and is available as open source under the GNU Public License (v3). It is set up in a modular fashion, and offers an API, and as such is easily extendable. CLAM communicates in a transparent XML format, and using XSL transformation offers a full web 2.0 web-interface for human end users.
Installation instruction can be found below. For full documentation see the
docs/clam_manual.pdf , also accessible through the CLAM website
at http://proycon.github.io/clam . It is recommended to read this prior to
starting with CLAM.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: It's discouraged to download the zip packages or tarballs from github, install CLAM from the Python Package Index or use git properly.
Installation On Linux
Easy install is part of the Python setup tools and can install CLAM globally on
your system for you from the Python Package Index. This is the easiest method
of installing CLAM, as it will automatically fetch and install any
dependencies. We recommend to use a virtual environment (
virtualenv) if you
want to install CLAM locally as a user, if you want to install globally,
prepend the following commands with
CLAM can be installed from the Python Package Index using pip. Pip is usually
part of the
python3-pip package or similar. It downloads CLAM and all dependencies
$ pip3 install clam
If you already downloaded CLAM manually (from github), you can do:
$ python3 setup.py install
- If pip3 is not yet installed on your system, install it using:
on debian-based linux systems (including Ubuntu):
$ apt-get install python3-pip
on RPM-based linux systems:
$ yum install python3-pip
Note that sudo/root access is needed to install globally. Ask your system administrator to install it. Alternatively, you can install it locally in a Python virtual environment:
$ virtualenv --python=python3 clamenv
$ . clamenv/bin/activate
(clamenv)$ pip3 install clam
It is also possible to use Python 2.7 instead of Python 3, adapt the commands as necessary.
CLAM also has some optional dependencies. For MySQL support, install
mysqlclient using pip. For FoLiA
FoLiA-Tools using pip.
Installation on Mac OS X
Install a Python distribution such as Anaconda and follow the Linux instructions above.
Installation on Windows
Not supported, delete Windows and install a decent OS ;)
Running a test webservice
If you installed CLAM using the above method, then you can launch a clam test webservice using the development server as follows:
$ clamservice -H localhost -p 8080 clam.config.textstats
Navigate your browser to http://localhost:8080 and verify everything works
If any problems occur during installation regarding pycurl, then install the pycurl package supplied by your distribution (python-pycurl on Debian/ubuntu)
Note: It is important to regularly keep CLAM up to date as fixes and improvements are implemented on a regular basis. Update CLAM using:
or if you used pip:
$ pip install -U clam
or if you used easy_install:
$ easy_install -U clam
Installing a particular clam webservice for production use
When installating a particular CLAM webservice on a new server, it is first necessary to edit the service configuration file of the webservice and make sure all the paths in there are set correctly for the new server. Of interest is in particular the ROOT path, which is where user data will be stored, this directory must exist and be writable by the webserver.
For testing, the built-in development server can be used. Suppose the webservice configuration is in /path/to/mywebservice/ and is called mywebservice.py, then the development server can be started as follows:
$ clamservice -P /path/to/mywebservice mywebservice
For production, however, it is strongly recommended to embed CLAM in Apache or nginx. This is the typically task of a system administrator, as certain skills are necessary and assumed. All this is explained in detail in the CLAM Manual, obtainable from http://proycon.github.io/clam/ .