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Stemmaweb - a web application for text tradition analysis

Stemmaweb is a web application for viewing and manipulating text traditions based on the Stemmarest data model.

Table of Contents


The system is made up of three main components:

  • The Stemmarest backend, which provides a RESTful API for accessing and manipulating text traditions.
  • The Stemmaweb Middleware which provides an authentication and authorization layer on top of the Stemmarest API. The frontend communicates only with this layer directly.
  • The Stemmaweb Frontend which provides a web interface for viewing and manipulating text traditions.

Trying it out (eventually)

A prerequisite for using Stemmaweb is to have Make, Docker and docker-compose installed on your machine. You also need to configure the environment variables, to do so you can use as a template. After filling in the missing values (or leaving them as they are), rename the file to

Once you have these, you can run the following command to get a working instance of Stemmaweb:

make start

After the build is complete, you can access the system through an nginx reverse proxy:

Please note that the backend will be automatically populated with test data for you to explore.


Decrypting Environment Variables

Please create a file called env_passphrase in the root directory of the project, containing a single line with the passphrase to decrypt the environment variables. This file is ignored by git, so you can safely add it to the repository.

Then you should be able to decrypt the environment variables by running:

make decrypt-env

Encrypting Environment Variables

If you need to extend any of the environment variables, you can commit your changes to the repository in an encrypted way by running the command below after editing any of the .env.* files:

make encrypt-env

This command will regenerate with the new environment variables and it is safe to be committed to the repository. Other contributors will be able to sync the changes by running make decrypt-env.


Please create a file in the root directory of the project, based on the file. After doing so, you can start the development environment with:

make dev

This will start the necessary services in the foreground, so you can see the logs. You can start the frontend and middleware by opening a new terminal session and running:

make shell

This will give you a shell in the stemmaweb container. From there, you can run the following command to start the frontend and middleware:

make run

After running this, both the frontend and the middleware will be started in your terminal session in a non-blocking way. All the logs will be visible in the terminal session automatically as events occur.

You can stop individual services by running make stop-frontend or make stop-middleware in the stemmaweb container. You can stop all services by running make stop in the stemmaweb container. The whole docker stack can be stopped by running make dev-down in the root directory of the project.

Service Endpoints

The preferred way to access the services is through the nginx reverse proxy (http://localhost:8888/*) so that you can work with the services as if they were in production.


Please note that the preferred way to develop Stemmaweb is through the Dockerized setup. However, if you want to develop without Docker, you can do so by following the instructions below.

You will need an instance of Stemmarest running somewhere. The easiest is to run it from Docker:

docker run -d --name stemmarest -p 8080:8080 dhuniwien/stemmarest:latest

Once that is done, you should create a .env file in this directory based on .env.example.

Now you can add test data to your Stemmarest instance using the script bin/init-data/; please note that this script depends on the presence of the jq program to parse JSON responses from Stemmarest.

To install the necessary dependencies for the Stemmaweb server, you will need to have Poetry and Make on your machine. Once you have Poetry installed, you can run:

cd middleware && poetry install && cd -

from this directory, and

make --directory=middleware serve

to start the server in development mode. You can then access it at

The production server can be started using the following command:

make --directory=middleware start


An end-to-end test suite is available in the frontend-e2e directory, using Cypress. To run the tests in headless mode, you can execute the make target below. This will start the necessary services in the background using Docker, and then execute the defined specifications.

make tests

You can read more about developing tests and executing them with the UI of Cypress, in frontend-e2e/

Note that the whole test suite is also executed in the CI pipeline, as defined in .github/workflows/test.yml. Whenever a new Pull Request is opened which modifies any of the relevant files, the test suite will be executed automatically.