Local (Docker) Setup

We develop using Docker, an open source container engine. If you haven’t already please install Docker and Docker-compose (which is installed automatically with Docker on Windows and OS X).

To get started, you will need to clone the ATF-eRegs repository, build the frontend, and run the app:

git clone https://github.com/18F/atf-eregs.git
cd atf-eregs
./devops/compile_frontend.sh build-dist   # Must be run after CSS edits
docker-compose up prod

Once that’s done, visit the app at

Dev Mode

We also can run in “dev” mode, which includes the Django DEBUG flag and checks out locally-editable versions of regulations-site and regulations-core. Run

docker-compose up dev

to see this in action. The locally-editable versions of the eregs libraries can be found in the eregs_libs directory, should you need to work on the core code base at the same time as the ATF code base. Note that for the time being, compile_frontend shell script always uses the local version of -site when building scripts. Remember to make a pull request for those upstream changes!


When using the dev and prod applications, we’re pointing to the existing, live data. This is helpful to get running quickly, but if we need to test parsing, we need a local database.

To get that set up and kick off parsing, run

./devops/import_data.sh   # parses regulations, imports them locally
# later, if we just want to see that data
docker-compose up dev-with-db

And then visit

The process checks out a copy of regulations-parser in eregs_extensions/eregs_libs/ which can be further edited (similar to -site and -core).

Other Tasks

Additionally, you can run containerized versions of several Python and Node commands:

  • docker-compose run --rm manage.py - the Django management command
  • docker-compose run --rm py.test - our Python test runner
  • docker-compose run --rm flake8 - a linter for Python
  • docker-compose run --rm pip-compile - a version-pinning program for Python
  • docker-compose run --rm grunt - our JavaScript task runner. See regulations-site for more details.

Within the eregs_extensions directory, we can similarly run pip-compile, py.test, and flake8 for just the parser extension.