License: Apache-2.0

Language: JavaScript



The following software is required to stand up a gGRC-Core development environment:

Prerequisite Description
VirtualBox Oracle VirtualBox Virtual Machine player
Vagrant Handy scriptable VM management
librarian (ruby gem) Ruby bundle management framework.
librarian-chef (ruby gem) Opscode Chef cookbook manager.

Quick Start

Getting started with gGRC-Core development should be fast and easy once you have the prerequisite software installed. Here are the steps:

  • clone the repo
  • cwd to the project directory
  • run the following:
git submodule update --init
librarian-chef install
vagrant up
vagrant ssh

If you see download errors during the vagrant up stage, or if any subsequent step fails, try running vagrant provision (See Provision a running Vagrant VM below for more).

Now you're in the VM and ready to rock. Get to work!

Launching gGRC as Stand-alone Flask

We strive to make getting up and running as simple as possible; to that end, launching the application is simple:


Launching gGRC in Google App Engine SDK

We strive to make getting up and running as simple as possible; to that end, launching the application in the Google App Engine SDK environment is simple:


Accessing the Application

The application will be accessible via this URL: http://localhost:8080/

If you're running the Google App Engine SDK, the App Engine management console will be avaiable via this URL: http://localhost:8000/

Running Unit Tests


Running Behave Integration Tests


Quickstart Breakdown

The quickstart above gives a glimpse into the gGRC development environment. It's worth noting where there is automation in gGRC, and where there isn't. Often the lack of automation support for a step is intentional. Let's explore each step in detail.

Git Submodules in gGRC

gGRC makes use of some external tools for Sass templates and Javascript form handling. In order to have the relevant repositories checked out as Git submodules the following command must be issued in the project directory:

git submodule init

The lack of automation for this step is intentional. First, it must be done in the host operating system, not the Vagrant virtual machine. Second, performing this step informs the new gGRC developer that there are Git submodules to be concerned about, leading to the second step:

git submodule update

As the dependencies change over time it will be necessary for developers to update to a new revision for one or more of the submodules.

Librian and Chef

gGRC-Core provides both a Vagrantfile and a Cheffile to make standing up a development environment simple and repeatable thanks to the magic of Vagrant, Chef, and librarian-chef. Vagrant enables developers to use a consistent and shared VM configuration to perform application testing while allowing developers to use the source code editing environment of their choice. The librarian-chef gem provides management of the Chef cookbooks required to provision the development VM, with required packages.

Updating Cookbooks with librarian-chef

When changes are made to the Cheffile librarian-chef will need to be run to update the installed cookbooks.

librarian-chef install


The application is run in a virtual machine environment that can be repeatably, consistently, and reliably constructed thanks to Vagrant. In order to use Vagrant to create and manage the development virtual machine environment it must first be created by issuing the following command from the project directory:

vagrant up

This results in the creation of the virtual machine and the provisioning of required software to support the development and execution of gGRC.

Reprovisioning a Vagrant VM

There are several ways to update the provisioning of a Vagrant vm when changes have been made to the cookbooks or other dependency management mechanisms in gGRC.

Provision a running Vagrant VM

To run provisioning on a running Vagrant VM, simply run the following in the project directory:

vagrant provision
Provisioning a halted Vagrant VM

If you have halted your Vagrant VM via vagrant halt, simply vagrant up in the project directory to have provisioning run and update your development environment.

Clean Slate Provisioning

To create a clean slate environment in your Vagrant VM you can either reload or recreate the environment. To reload the environment issue the following command in the project directory:

vagrant reload

To completely recreate the environment issue the following command in the project directory:

vagrant destroy
vagrant up

Compiling Sass Templates

Since gGRC uses Sass for CSS templating, the templates need to be compiled. However, this has been automated via script command made available on the path in the virtual machine:


To have a process watch the Sass resources and compile them as they are changed you could use this command:


Compiling Assets

For other asset bundling required, there is the following command:


As for compass, there is an asset builder that can watch for changes and update them as they change:



After sync'ing your local clone of gGRC-Core you may experience a failure when trying to run the application due to a change (usually an addition) to the prerequisites.

There are three primary classes of requirements for gGRC-Core: submodules, cookbooks and Python packages. Cookbooks are managed via specification in the Cheffile while Python packages are managed via specification in pip requirements files.

There are two pip requirements files: a runtime requirements file, src/requirements.txt, for application package dependencies and a development requirements file, src/dev-requirements.txt, for additional development time package dependencies. The runtime requirements are deployed with the application while the development requirements are only used in the development environment (largely for testing purposes).

Most requirements changes should be in either src/requirements.txt or src/dev-requirements.txt and would exhibit themselves as module import failures.

Environment Variables

GGRC uses this environment variable to define which module(s) within ggrc.settings to use during the bootstrap phase. The value can be one or more space-separated module names, which will be applied in the same order they are specified. source bin/init_env will set this value to development.

Details About VM File Structure

vagrant provision installs several Debian packages globally within the VM. All other project data is contained within two directories, specified by environment variables (and defined in /home/vagrant/.bashrc).

Points at root directory of the Git repository, and is automatically detected if not present.
Points at a directory containing tmp and opt directories. If not defined, DEV_PREFIX defaults to the value of PREFIX. (In the VM, it is defined to /vagrant-dev to avoid slowdown caused by the shared filesystem at /vagrant.)

Changes to Requirements Files

The first thing to try to resolve issues due to missing prerequisites is to issue is the following command from within the project directory in the host operating system (what you're running the VM on):

vagrant provision

This will prompt vagrant to run the Chef provisioner. The result of this command should be an update Python virtualenv containing the Python packages required by the application as well as any new development package requirements. However, this may not be the case and you may experience a provisioning failure due to a change to Cheffile.

Running vagrant provision will run the following in the VM to update the development environment.

pip install -r src/dev-requirements.txt
pip install --no-deps -r src/requirements.txt

Note that if you're using launch_gae_ggrc, then changes to src/requirements.txt will require rebuilding the src/ via make appengine_packages_zip. (This is also handled by the make step run via vagrant provision.

Cheffile Changes

The addition of cookbooks to the project prerequisites can lead to provisioning failures. The solution is to update the cookbooks in the cookbooks directory by issuing the following commands from within the project directory:

librarian-chef install
vagrant provision

Changes to site-cookbooks

Changes to the recipes defined by gGRC itself can also lead to errors. The solution is to reprovision the Vagrant VM:

vagrant provision

Git Submodule Changes

A change in the git submodules required by the project could also lead to errors, particularly in the front-end HTML portion of the application. The solution is to update the submodules:

git submodule update

Given that Sass and Javascript related projects are included in the submodule requirements of gGRC, it may also be necessary to rebuild the Sass and other web assets:


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