Setup Help

This document covers some of the issues associated with first-time development environment setup and with collaboration using Git.


Creating a GitHub account

If you do not have an account already, go to GitHub and sign up for an account.

Installing Git

Please refer to the installation guide according to your operating system to install Git.

Git 101

For a primer on Git for first-time users, see the or watch the following video on how to (1) find an issue, (2) fork the code, (3) edit code, (4) open a pull request.

Once you have forked the code and have begun contribution, syncing your fork periodically with the main City Bureau repository will be useful in staying up-to-date with the project.

  1. You must first add a remote link from which Git can track the main City Bureau project. The remote URL is <>. Conventionally we name this remote source upstream. The remote source for your original cloned repository is usually named origin.
$ git remote add upstream

You can see your existing remotes as well by running git remote -v.

  1. Once you’ve added the City Bureau remote, fetch the changes from upstream
$ git fetch upstream
  1. Make sure you are in the branch you hope to merge changes into (typically your master branch), then merge the changes in from the upstream/master branch.
$ git checkout master
$ git merge upstream/master
  1. The final step is to update your fork on Github with the changes from the original repository by running git push.

Creating a virtual environment

The following gist covers common headaches with setting up a virtual environment on a Linux-like environment.

It is also possible to use venv to create your virtual environment.

$ python3.6 -m venv venv
$ source venv/bin/activate

Here we are naming the virtual environment venv, which has been added to the project’s .gitignore file.

Getting Google API credentials

The system has a few scrapers that use the Google Sheets API to pull in data from manually updated spreadsheets. If you want to run or test these scrapers, you’ll need to get an API key.

If you need an API key for Google Sheets, you can get one for free by:

  • Logging into the Google API console, choosing “Enabled APIs and services”, and then searching for “Sheets API”, selecting “Google Sheets API”, and then clicking “ENABLE”.
  • Then, in the left sidebar, choose “Credentials” and then “CREATE CREDENTIALS” -> “API Key”. You will be shown a key that you can save somewhere safe.

You’ll need to set this as an environment variable before running the new scraper. An easy way to do this is to just put it on the command line like so:

$ CITY_SCRAPERS_GOOGLE_API_KEY=TheTokenYouCreatedAbove scrapy crawl localschoolcouncil