Socialhome is missing features and needs a lot of polish on the UI side. If you are familiar with Django or Vue (or want to learn!) and are interested in getting involved, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

For guidelines how to contribute, please first read the Contributing guide.

Environment setup

Instructions are for Ubuntu 16.04+ (+ simple Alpine 3.6 dependencies script). Please contribute via PR’s if you notice anything missing or want to contribute instructions for another platform.

Python Virtualenv

Python 3.7 is the minimum supported version. Ensure the following are installed:

  • Python system dependencies

  • NodeJS (version 10)

  • PostgreSQL server

  • Redis

The file requirements.apt contains other various dependencies. You can use the script to help installing these.

You can use the script to install required dependencies (including Python, NodeJS, PostgreSQL and Redis) on Alpine.

To generate profiling SVG’s with pytest, also install the graphviz package (for example from apt), which provides dot.

Install Python dependencies

We use pip-tools as the way to install Python dependencies. All the “base” dependencies, including production deployment dependencies are locked in requirements.txt. The file dev-requirements.txt includes both the base and the extra development/testing related dependencies.

To use pip-tools, first install it:

# Ensure pip and setuptools are up to date as well
pip install -U pip pip-tools

Then install dependencies:

# Production environment

# Development environment
pip-sync dev-requirements.txt

It is not mandatory to use pip-tools for running a production installation. For development it is mandatory. All dependencies should be placed (unlocked) in either requirements/ (base) or requirements/ (development extras). Then execute ./ to update the locked dependency files after each change to the .in files. See pip-tools for more information.

Do NPM, Bower

npm install
node_modules/.bin/bower install
npm run dev

To watch files and build bundles automatically, use this.

npm run watch


Configuration is done via environment variables. For the meaning of them, look them up under files in config/settings. Values in the file .env will be used automatically.

cp .env.example .env

Edit any values necessary. By default the SECRET_KEY is empty. You MUST set something to it. We don’t supply a default to force you to make it unique in your production app.

Create a database


The easiest way to run a database is using Docker. Install Docker and then use the following command:

docker run -e 'POSTGRES_PASSWORD=socialhome POSTGRES_USER=socialhome POSTGRES_DB=socialhome' \
    --name socialhomedb -d -p '5432:5432' postgres
# Migrate the database
python migrate

Later to start the same container just do:

docker start socialhomedb


For example on Ubuntu:

sudo su - postgres
createuser -s -P socialhome  # give password 'socialhome'
createdb -O socialhome socialhome
python migrate

Install Redis

Either use system Redis (for example on Ubuntu sudo apt install redis-server) or use Docker:

docker run --name socialhomeredis -d -p '6379:6379' redis

To later start it:

docker start socialhomeredis

Running the development server

Just use the standard command:

python runserver

Unfortunately runserver_plus cannot be used as it does not integrate with Django Channels.

Running the Django shell

It is recommended to use the enhanced “shell plus” provided by Django Extensions package which is automatically installed via the development dependencies. One of the benefits is that it will automatically import all project models.

To launch the shell:

python shell_plus

Creating a user

To create an superuser account, use this command:

python createsuperuser

After this you need to log in once with the user via the user interface (which creates an email confirmation) and then run the following in the Django shell to confirm the email:

from allauth.account.models import EmailAddress

You should now be able to log in as the user admin.

Search index

The search indexes must be initialized, otherwise there will be an error when trying to use search. Run this command once:

python rebuild_index

Any further changes to indexes objects will be maintained automatically from this point onwards. If you ever need to rebuild the index from scratch, use the same command.

Running tests

The user needs right to create databases:

# On some distributions, regular users are not sudoers; you may need to type:
#    su -
su - postgres
psql -c "ALTER USER socialhome CREATEDB;"

Python tests


To also generate profiling information, add --profile --profile-svg to the command.

JavaScript tests

Execute the following to run the frontend JavaScript tests.

npm run test

API Routes

There is a dependency in the API route URL configurations with the new Vue based frontend tests. If you change or add new API routes during development, you must also do the following:

python collectstatic_js_reverse
mv staticfiles/django_js_reverse/js/reverse.js socialhome/frontend/tests/unit/fixtures/Urls.js

This updates the JavaScript fixtures with the new URL configuration.



There is an .eslintrc provided. We follow the Airbnb and Vue guidelines with some tweaks. It’s recommended to add this configuration to your editor directly. To run ESLint directly, use the following command. NOTE! This is only valid for the new Vue based frontend, not JS in socialhome/static.

npm run lint

Building local documentation

cd docs
make html

Doing a release

Bump version number in three places:

  • socialhome/

  • docs/

  • docs/changelog.rst

To generate a markdown version of the release changelog, first install Pandoc:

sudo apt install pandoc

Then execute the following and copy the markdown version for pasting to GitHub releases or a Socialhome post:

pandoc --from rst --to markdown_github docs/changelog.rst | less

Docker images

Publish a new Docker image by running ./docker_release v<version>.

Start new development cycle

Set a development version in the same above files. This is basically the next minor release postfixed by -dev.

Commit and author stats

Some commands to get nice stats for release posts.


git shortlog -s -n -e <first release commit>..HEAD --no-merges


git diff --stat <first release commit>..HEAD

Developing with Docker

If you choose, you may develop Socialhome using Docker, rather than installing Postgres and Redis manually on your computer.

Supported versions

This guide assumes you are running Docker on a GNU/Linux based system such as Ubuntu, Debian or Fedora Linux. It may be possible to run this on other platforms where Docker is supported, but those are untested.

The docker development installation was tested on Docker version 17.09 and docker-compose 1.16.1.


The first step is to copy the example docker-compose file docker/dev/docker-compose.yml.example file to the root of the project. eg

cp docker/dev/docker-compose.yml.example ./docker-compose.yml

You also need to set an .env file as per the above instructions. Use the .env.example as a starting point.

From there, you can build the images:

docker-compose build

And then the steps you would normally do, but throught he django image, ala:

docker-compose run django manage migrate and docker-compose run django manage createsuperuser

And then just

docker-compose up


The defaults are that that the Docker image will be running on port 8000 and then exposed to the host OS on the same port (ie you can browse to http;//localhost:8000 to see the Django instance running). Redis and Postgres will be running but not exposed to the host OS by default. These can be changed on the docker-compose.yml file.

Generating dummy content

There is a management command to generate a bunch of dummy Content objects. Please feel free to expand it with more configuration options and different types of content. To use it, run the following:

python create_dummy_content

--help will give you available options.

Contact for help

See our communication channels in the Community page.

You can also ask questions or give feedback via issues.