Setting up the development environment


This page is outdated. For the latest instructions on setting up the EHRI frontend development environment, please see the file in the EHRI/ehri-frontend GitHub repository.


For development, you need a version of the EHRI Neo4j REST server installed both as libraries and running standalone. This can be done by following the instructions here.

Install and set up Solr

Download Solr and extract it to the location of your choice (using ~/apps for this example):

export SOLR_VERSION=6.4.0
curl -0$SOLR_VERSION/solr-$SOLR_VERSION.tgz | tar -zx -C ~/apps
export SOLR_HOME=~/apps/solr-$SOLR_VERSION

For now, re-use the example Solr core (named "collection1", inside the example/solr direction). As a shortcut, you can just grab the schema.xml and solrconfig.xml from the ehri-search-tools repository on Github:

curl > $SOLR_HOME/example/solr/collection1/conf/schema.xml
curl > $SOLR_HOME/example/solr/collection1/conf/solrconfig.xml

If you have an issue with dependencies :

mkdir $SOLR_HOME/example/solr/lib
ln -s $SOLR_HOME/contrib/analysis-extras/lib/*.jar $SOLR_HOME/example/solr/lib/
ln -s $SOLR_HOME/contrib/analysis-extras/lucene-libs/*.jar $SOLR_HOME/example/solr/lib/
ln -s $SOLR_HOME/contrib/langid/lib/*.jar $SOLR_HOME/example/solr/lib/
ln -s $SOLR_HOME/dist/*.jar  $SOLR_HOME/example/solr/lib/

You should now able able to start the Solr server in another shell:

cd $SOLR_HOME/example
java -jar start.jar

If that starts without spewing out any dodgy-looking stack traces all should be well. You can verify this by going to http://localhost:8983/solr which should display the Solr admin page.

Installing Play 2.6.x:

First of all install SBT on your system.

Setting up the development code:

Next, download the source from Github:

cd ~/dev
git clone

Start the dependency download process (which usually takes a while):

cd ehri-frontend
play clean compile

PostgreSQL - DB instructions

Install via your favourite method. Note that on some OS X versions, Postgres can be a bit fiddly because the one installed by brew conflicts with the bundled default:

sudo apt-get install postgresql-9.5

Now we need to create an empty user and database for our application. The user and database will have the same name (docview). Start the Postgres shell (run as the postgres user):

sudo su postgres -c psql

Now, in the psql shell, type the following commands (replacing the password with your password):


There are some settings on the conf/application.conf file you can adjust if you change any of the defaults.

Back to Solr

One setting you definitely should change is the value of the solr.path key, which needs to be changed to whatever the path to the Solr core is. Since the one we set up above used the default "collection1" name, adjust the setting to match this:

solr.path = "http://localhost:8983/solr/collection1"

Start Neo4j server, if you haven't already:

$NEO4J_HOME/bin/neo4j start

Also start Solr, if you didn't already:

cd $SOLR_HOME/example
java -jar start.jar

We can now see if the app actually works:

sbt run

Now, after letting it compile, visit http://localhost:9000 in your browser. The app should show a screen saying it needs to apply a migration to the database. Click the "Apply This Script Now" button.

TODO: Fix this section which is now outdated.

Next, we have a little problem because we need to create the login details of our administrative user in the authorisation database. Unfortunately there is no way at present to do this without mucking with the database directly.

Basically, we need to create a database entry that links the default username you created in Neo4j to an email address (the email address is a key that identifies a user.)

So open up the PostgreSQL console again:

sudo su postgres -c "psql docview"

First, in the DB shell, double check there is no existing user and/or email:

SELECT * FROM users;
psql> select * from users;
 id | email | verified | staff | active | allow_messaging | created | last_login | password | is_legacy
 (0 rows)

Now add one corresponding to your user + email:

psql> INSERT INTO users (id, email, verified, staff, active)
             VALUES ('example', '', TRUE, TRUE, TRUE);

Now log in via OpenID for the email you just created. The application will notice that there is already a corresponding email in the database and, if the OpenID auth succeeds, add an OpenID associate to the account.

Once logged in to the app you should have full admin privileges. You can try using an OpenID email account that has not been pre set up and the application will create you a default account with no privileges.

The first thing to do when logging in is to build the search index. This can be done by going to the index update page and checking all the boxes. With luck, or rather, assuming Solr is configured property, the search index should get populated from the Neo4j database.