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ACM-General Django Project

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Welcome to the ACM-General Django Project!

Setting Up Your Environment

In order to set up a production-like environment, we have two main options:

  1. Develop using Vagrant.
  2. Use a Linux computer or virtual machine.

For some more information about each of these options, refer to the sections below.

Cloning the Repo

Before you can setup the environment, first you must clone the repository onto your local machine. In order to do this, you must install Git. If you are on Windows, you might want to consider installing Git Bash (there should be an option during the git installation to include Git Bash). After installing Git, clone the repository with the following command:

git clone

# Or if you have a ssh key linked to your computer
git clone

If you are not familiar with git, please take a moment to look at some tutorials explaining git. Try this one.


Now that you have the repository cloned, you should see a Vagrantfile.

Vagrant provides a very simple and high fidelity way of interacting with the codebase in a standardized way. The goal of Vagrant is to make development easier by automatically provisioning a production like environment within a virtual machine.


In order to use this Vagrantfile you must download the following tools:

  1. Vagrant
  2. VirtualBox

NOTE: while you do not need VirtualBox specifically, only certain virtualization providers are supported by Vagrant (like VMWare).

Installing Vagrant

Here are some instructions for installing vagrant on various operating systems.

Debian / Ubuntu
  1. Go to
  2. Click the 64-bit option under the Debian download.
  3. Save the *.deb file onto your computer.
  4. cd into the directory containing the file downloaded. cd stands for change directory; It changes your current directory to whatever directory specified by the parameter. For example, cd /tmp.
  5. Run sudo dpkg -i <deb_file_name>.
  6. Run the command vagrant and if there is a help menu it has installed successfully
Arch / Manjaro
  1. Run sudo pacman -Sy vagrant virtualbox net-tools.
  2. Select the virtualbox version for your linux kernel.
  3. Reboot your system.
  4. Run the command vagrant and if there is a help menu it has installed successfully
  1. Go to
  2. Click the 64-bit option under the Windows download.
  3. Save the .msi file.
  4. Run the .msi file in the Downloads folder and follow the Vagrant prompts.
  5. At the end of the prompts, Vagrant should be downloaded
Mac (Untested)
  1. Go to
  2. Click the 64-bit option under the Mac OS download.
  3. Save the .dmg file.
  4. Run the .dmg file in the Downloads folder and follow the Vagrant prompts.
  5. At the end of the prompts, Vagrant should be downloaded

Running Vagrant

In order to use Vagrant, open the terminal/ command prompt in any OS, navigate to the directory that includes the Vagrantfile and type vagrant up.

vagrant up will start the VM, provision it, and then run the setup script within the VM.

Open your web browser and put http://localhost:8000 as the URL. If you see a site which looks like, everything was setup correctly. One of the great features of Vagrant is that now you can edit the file locally and the changes will be reflected in the virtual machine. For example, if you edit the of any app within the project, those edits will be transferred to the VM. When you refresh your browser the webpage should reflect those changes.

For changes that cannot be auto refreshed by Django (changes to the static files, app migrations, etc.), you can do these changes manually (in the future, we hope to make a command to do this). To refresh the app, do the following commands in the folder where you can see the Vagrantfile:

# This allows you to directly access the VM through ssh
# NOTE: If you do not have a CLI-interface (i.e. you are using Windows cmd or
# powershell, read below in Windows Specific Problems)
vagrant ssh 
# This changes you to the root user
sudo su 
# This attaches you to the tmux session which is running the Django server
tmux attach 
# Hit control-C to kill the server, don't type <C-c>
# Run whatever command you need to affect the server ./ collectstatic./ migrate, etc.
# Start the server again
./ runserver

After you are finished with the box, run vagrant down in the same location you ran vagrant up.

Another userful command is vagrant reload --provision. This command will restart the VM and then re-run the setup scripts. If there is ever an issue were something is not reloading, this command should help.

For any additional information, please refer to the Vagrant documentation.

Windows Specific Problems

If you are not using a terminal which supports a CLI interface for ssh like Windows PowerShell or cmd, there are two ways you can get around this.

The easier way is to download Git Bash and use Git Bash as your terminal for vagrant. Git Bash is a terminal which works like a pseudo-Linux terminal. Navigating to the directory with the Vagrantfile and running the commands with Git Bash should work exactly the same as with cmd, but allows you to vagrant ssh properly.

The way which requires a little more work is using PuTTY to ssh into the Vagrant box. A good tutorial article on how to do these can be located here . Browse to the PuTTY section for specific instructions. This article also shows more information on Git Bash.

If you can successfully ssh into the box then continue running the commands listed in the Running Vagrant section beneath the vagrant ssh command.

Native Linux or Virtual Machine

In order to run the environment on a native Linux machine, navigate to the root directory of the git repository and run the following commands:

cp ./dependencies/settings_local.template ./ACM_General/ACM_General/
python3 ./ACM_General/ runserver

Useful Django functions

In the root Django project directory, there is a python executable called The majority of the interactions with Django will be accomplished through this executable. A couple of notable commands are:

# This starts the Django webserver. Allows you to see the website if you browse
# to localhost:8000 on any web browser.
python3 runserver

# This collects all static files such as css, images, or any other file located
# in the various */static folders in the apps into a common directory where
# Django can display it. Must be run before starting the server as the server
# needs the static assets.
python3 collectstatic

# Whenever a developer makes a change to the database or a model, Django has a
# intelligant way of converting the database to accommodate these changes called
# migrations. makemigrations generates these.
python3 makemigrations

# Pushes the migrations created in makemigrations to the database.
python3 migrate


Please contact if you wish to contribute.