HFOSS + Flask = hflossk
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This repository is an experiment to use Flask, Mako, and Bootstrap to make a website for the Humanitarian Free/Open Source Software Course at RIT. This repository is a work in progress (as any FOSS project is), and will be open for contributions.

The content shown here is a compilation of course materials from 4 previous professors, who've run the course 5 separate times. Those profs are:

  • Stephen Jacobs
  • Dave Shein (x2)
  • Ralph Bean
  • Justin Sherrill


Copyright 2013 Remy DeCausemaker

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at


Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

Setting up your environment

Before you can do anything with this (run the webserver locally, or any of the scripts) you'll need to setup and activate a python virtualenv. Run the following at the command prompt...

On Linux/Mac OS X

If you don't have virtualenv installed yet, try:

$ sudo easy_install virtualenv virtualenvwrapper

If you're using a distro like Fedora or Ubuntu, you should try this instead:

$ sudo yum install python-virtualenv

$ sudo apt-get install python-virtualenv

Once you have virtualenv installed, you should be able to run:

$ cd code
$ git clone git@github.com:YOUR_USERNAME/hflossk.git
$ virtualenv --no-site-packages -p python2 hflosskenv
$ . hflosskenv/bin/activate
$ cd hflossk
$ python setup.py develop

On Windows

At the windows command prompt:

$ virtualenv --no-site-packages -p python2 hflosskenv
$ hflosskenv/Scripts/activate.bat

In msysGit or git-bash:

$ git clone git@github.com:YOUR_USERNAME/hflossk.git

Back in the windows command prompt:

$ cd hflossk
$ python setup.py develop

Running the Tests

All tests are run on python2.7 and python3.3 using tox. To run the tests:

$ virtualenv --no-site-packages -p python2 hflosskenv
$ pip install tox
$ tox

Tests check validity of all yaml, and the keys in any student yaml files. Tests also checks that code conforms to PEP8.

Building the "Documentation"

The "documentation" for the course (the syllabus, all the homework assignments, notes on the lectures) are all kept in this repository.

Files that end with the extension .rst are written in the reStructuredText markup language.

Files that end with the extension .mak are written in the Mako Templating language. The nice thing about .mak files is that you can also just write plain html into the template, or you can mix python with your html! It has been pointed out that though this is powerful, it can be dangerous if you are not careful (or don't know what you are doing) ;)

You might notice that the syllabus, et. al. is hosted on http://openshift.redhat.com/. Openshift is similar to other Platform-as-a-service websites, such as heroku, or Google App Engine, that allow you to host webapps. There is a free-tier that allows you to have 3 "gears," and we are using just 1 gear to host the course website. You can quickstart many common webapps and frameworks on openshift, or just hack together your own with the DIY cartridge. This is not something you will be required to do, but is possible to pick up during the course.

To be careful, you should run the server locally (on your machine) to check that whatever modifications you made to the files actually renders the way you want.

In order to do that, first make sure you have your virtualenv activated.

Being certain of that, in the root directory, simply run:

$ python app.py

You should see a success message such as:

* Running on
* Restarting with reloader

Open that URL in your browser to view the site