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Pipeline is The Rensselaer Polytechnic's next website. It will enable rapid development of new article layouts and interactive features. In the long term, it will provide a solid platform for our content over the coming decade and support The Poly's focus on online-first journalism.


Ensure these are installed before continuing.

You can change Pipeline's settings to use SQLite instead of Postgres, but this is not recommended because Pipeline relies on Postgres's full-text search features.

Getting started

Pipeline is written in Python. It uses Sass and PostCSS on the frontend with webpack to glue them together. For new users working within a virtual machine, it is strongly recommended to use Ubuntu.

Note about Postgres

Pipeline expects to be able to connect to a Postgres database named pipeline. To set this up on macOS:

brew install postgresql
brew services start postgresql
createdb pipeline

To setup Postgres on Arch Linux:

sudo pacman -Syu # Optional, to refresh and update packages
sudo pacman -S postgresql
sudo -u postgres initdb --locale en_US.UTF-8 -D /var/lib/postgres/data
sudo systemctl start postgresql

To setup Postgres on Ubuntu:

// Install
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y install postgresql postgresql-contrib
// Setup
sudo -i -u postgres
CREATE USER postgres WITH PASSWORD 'postgres'
*reopen terminal*
sudo -u postgres psql
\password postgres // Enter 'postgres' twice
*reopen terminal*
sudo systemctl start postgresql

The default dev database, defined in settings/ uses the following postgres url: postgresql://postgres:postgres@ make sure that your database is configured to these settings. The pipeline database must exist, and the user postgres must exist with password postgres. Read more about postgres urls here.

Read about creating a user here. You will probably want postgres to be a superuser.


git clone
cd pipeline
npm install
npx webpack --config webpack.development.config.js
pipenv install --dev
pipenv run python createcachetable

On Ubuntu:

git clone
cd pipeline
sudo apt install npm
npx webpack --config webpack.development.config.js // Type "yes" when prompted
npm audit fix
sudo apt install pipenv
pipenv install --dev
pipenv run python createcachetable


pipenv shell
python migrate
python createsuperuser
python runserver

If you have issues with the database, ensure that Postgres is running and you have created a database named pipeline.


Pipeline can also be run in its production configuration with Docker. It requires three containers: one for running the Django project with gunicorn, another to put nginx in front of it and additionally serve static files, and finally a Postgres container.

docker-compose up

Ensure that the SECRET_KEY environment variable is set. Additionally, run the following inside of the django container (e.g. docker-compose exec django bash):

python migrate
python createsuperuser

Pipeline will be available at port 8000 on localhost.


Make sure you format your code with Black and use Flake8 to find problems.

How to make changes to styling

With your terminal/command prompt running python runserver, open another at the project folder location and run npm run watch. Now you can edit styles at pipeline/pipeline/static/css/pipeline.scss


Many of the following features are partially complete, but this isn't indicated. Look at the Issues page if you need to know what is being worked on.

  • Articles
    • Index pages
    • Article pages
      • Basic layout
      • Section-specific layouts
      • Editor previews
    • Summaries
    • Kickers
      • Autocomplete
    • Subdecks
    • Archive pages
    • WordPress importer
    • Old site importer
    • Related to authors
  • Photos
    • Uploads
    • Captions
    • Bylines
    • Multiple per article
    • Galleries
  • Syndication
    • RSS feed
    • Sitemap
    • Facebook tags
    • Twitter tags
    • oEmbed
    • Apple News
  • Home page
    • Basic article prioritization
    • Full user control of column layout
  • Staff
    • Index page
    • Individual pages
      • Authored articles
      • Bylined photos
    • Positions/terms
    • Staff photos
  • Contact
    • Email addresses on staff pages
  • Users
    • Basic publish permission level
    • Fine grained permissions
    • G Suite authentication
  • Search
    • Basic headline search
    • Search all fields of articles
    • Search non-article pages
  • Instrumentation
    • Basic Prometheus metrics
    • DB metrics
    • HTTP Basic auth