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Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN) Software.

See :mod:`ckan.__long_description__` for more information.

Developer Installation

These are instructions to get developing with CKAN. Instructions for deploying CKAN to a server are at: :doc:`deployment` (doc/deployment.rst).

Before you start it may be worth checking CKAN has passed the auto build and tests. See:

  1. Ensure these packages are installed: (e.g. for ubuntu: sudo apt-get install <package-name>)




    Source control


    Python interpreter v2.5 - v2.7


    Web server


    Apache module for python


    Apache module for WSGI


    PostgreSQL database


    PostgreSQL library


    PostgreSQL python module


    Python package management


    Python XML library


    Python XSLT library


    XML library development files


    XSLT library development files

    Now use easy_install (which comes with python-setuptools) to install these packages: (e.g. sudo easy_install <package-name>)




    Python virtual environment sandboxing


    Python installer (use easy_install for this)

    Check that you received:

    • virtualenv v1.3 or later
    • pip v0.4 or later
  2. Create a python virtual environment

e.g. in your home directory:

$ virtualenv pyenv
  1. Install CKAN code and required Python packages into the new environment

For the most recent version use:

$ wget

Or for the 'metastable' branch (used for most server installs):

$ wget

And install:

$ pip -E pyenv install -r pip-requirements.txt


$ pip -E pyenv install -r pip-requirements-metastable.txt
  1. Setup a Postgresql database

List existing databases:

$ psql -l

It is advisable to ensure that the encoding of databases is 'UTF8', or internationalisation may be a problem. Since changing the encoding of Postgres may mean deleting existing databases, it is suggested that this is fixed before continuing with the CKAN install.

Create a database user if one doesn't already exist. Here we choose 'ckantest':

$ sudo -u postgres createuser -S -D -R -P ckantest

It should prompt you for a new password for the CKAN data in the database. It is suggested you enter 'pass' for the password.

Now create the database, which we'll call 'ckantest' (the last argument):

$ sudo -u postgres createdb -O ckantest ckantest
  1. Create a CKAN config file

First 'activate' your environment so that Python Paste and other modules are put on the python path:

$ . pyenv/bin/activate

Now we create the config file 'development.ini' using Paste:

$ cd pyenv/src/ckan
$ paster make-config ckan development.ini

Now edit development.ini and change the sqlalchemy.url line, filling in the database user and password as given in the previous step:

sqlalchemy.url = postgres://ckantest:pass@localhost/ckantest

Other configuration, such as setting the language of the site or editing the visual theme are described in :doc:`configuration` (doc/configuration.rst)

  1. Initialise the database

NB If you've started a new shell, you'll have to activate the environment again first - see step 5.

(from the pyenv/src/ckan directory):

$ paster db init

You should see "Initialising DB: SUCCESS"

  1. Create the cache directory

You need to create the Pylon's cache directory specified by 'cache_dir' in the config file.

(from the pyenv/src/ckan directory):

$ mkdir data
  1. Run the CKAN webserver

NB If you've started a new shell, you'll have to activate the environment again first - see step 5.

(from the pyenv/src/ckan directory):

$ paster serve development.ini
  1. Point your web browser at: The CKAN homepage should load without problem.


Make sure you've created a config file: pyenv/ckan/development.ini

Ensure you have activated the environment:
$ pyenv/bin/activate
Now start the starts:
$ nosetests pyenv/src/ckan/ckan/tests


CKAN is an open source project and contributions are welcome!

There are a number of stakeholders in the direction of the project, so we discuss large changes and new features on the ckan-discuss list:

New developers should aquaint themselves with the documentation (see below) and proposed patches emailed to ckan-discuss. Once they are comfortable they should request write-access to the repo.

We have policies for check-ins that ensure the build doesn't break etc. on which should be followed unless someone builds concensus to change it.


The home page for the CKAN project is:

This README file is part of the Developer Documentation, viewable at: ``_ and stored in the CKAN repo at ckan/doc.

The Developer Docs are built using Sphinx and uploaded by an admin to KnowledgeForge. To build the developer docs:

python build_sphinx


  • Rufus Pollock <rufus [at] rufuspollock [dot] org>
  • David Read
  • John Bywater
  • Nick Stenning (css and js)

Also especial thanks to the following projects without whom this would not have been possible:

Copying and License

This material is copyright (c) 2006-2010 Open Knowledge Foundation.

It is open and licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL) v3.0 whose full text may be found at: