ESciDoc Admin

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eSciDoc admin is a a solution for the management of master data in an installation of the eSciDoc core services. Currently it is implemented as TurboGears web application talking to the core service handler's REST interfaces.

It implements (parts of) the use cases specified in

Repository URL:


Step-by-Step Installation instructions


It is recommended to install the following exact requirements using virtualenv:

 easy_install virtualenv
 virtualenv escidocadmin_env
 cd escidocadmin_env
 source bin/activate
 easy_install sqlalchemy==0.3.9
 easy_install turbogears==1.0.3
 easy_install cheetah==2.0.1

when running python 2.4:

 easy_install pysqlite==2.4

then you can checkout the escidocadmin source into the environment:

 svn co

When using virtualenv, be sure to call the startup script with the correct python, i.e. escidocadmin_env/bin/python.


You can run eSciDoc admin from a subversion repository checkout: run

 svn co

in a suitable directory.

Note: If you want eSciDoc admin to work with escidoc core service version 1.0, you'd need to checkout

 svn co



To configure eSciDoc admin, you need to provide several settings in a configuration file (possibly using test.cfg as a template). Details about syntax and semantic of the runtime configuration can be found on the TurboGears site. In the following we explain eSciDoc admin specific settings.

You need to supply some basic configuration settings for the application by adding the following lines to the global section of the configuration file.

Configure the core services instance to which to talk"host[:port]"

When the core services instance is accessed over HTTPS, set


Provide a database connection string:


Note: If you give an absolute path to the sqlite db file, the connection URI should start with "sqlite:////", i.e. 4 slashes.

When deploying the web application behind a proxy (e.g. apache), make sure to set


Depending on your usage of the admin application, you have to specify


To enable sessions you need to set:

 session_filter.on = True

If you run eSciDoc admin in development mode, i.e. started from the command line (see below), you may want to set


to be able to follow the complete communication between application and core services in the shell.

You may rename the configuration file (here: test.cfg) to dev.cfg to have it picked up by TurboGears automatically.

Database Initialization[edit]

eSciDoc admin stores session data in a sqlite database. To initialize this database run

 tg-admin sql create

in the application directory, i.e. in the directory where the configuration file resides.

Note: The tg-admin command was installed with TurboGears.

Controlling the Application[edit]

You may use the script to start the application from the commandline.

Testing the Installation[edit]


  • The following tests assume that escidocadmin is configured to access a running core services instance.
  • If escidocadmin is installed in a virtualenv, the environment has to be activated (i.e. bin/activate has to be sourced) before running tests or starting the application.

1. You can test your installation by running the unit tests with nose.



in the application directory should result in something like

 Ran 10 tests in 7.039s

2. You can test your running application with twill as follows. Start the application

 python start-escidocadmin

then run

 python --cfg=/path/to/config USER PASSWORD

Warning: Running the twill tests assumes a set of existing resources in the framework administration. The tests will alter these resources and add new ones. So don't run these tests on a framework with valuable data.

Running eSciDoc admin behind Apache HTTPD[edit]

To run eSciDoc admin behind Apache HTTPD add the following to your apache configuration:

 RewriteRule ^/escidoc/admin/path/(.*)$1 [proxy,L]
 <Location /escidoc/admin/path>
   Order allow,deny
   Allow from all

If you also want the static files to be served by apache directly, add the following in your apache config (before the above snippet):

 Alias /escidoc/admin/path/static/ "/filesystem/path/to/escidocadmin/escidocadmin/static/"
 RewriteRule ^/escidoc/admin/path/static/(.*) - [L]

Technical Documentation[edit]


eSciDoc admin manages resources of the following kinds:

  • Organizational Units, abbreviated ou,
  • Contexts, abbreviated ctx,
  • User Accounts (and Grants), subsumed under aa (for authentication and authorization).

Automatically generated package documentation is available in the repository.


eSciDoc admin - as a web interface to a REST API supporting basic CRUD operations - has a very simple architecture:

  • All communication with the core services resource handlers is implemented in a core services client library
  • As a TurboGears aplication, escidocadmin subscribes to the MVC pattern, or better the VC pattern, because the persistence layer is implemented by the eSciDoc core services.
  • The management logic for each resource is implemented in one controller class.
  • The views for each resource are implemented in one (or several) templates.

Core services Client Library[edit]

The core services client library provides a client class which mediates access to a core services installation much like a database connection mediates access to a database.

Since resources are transferred between core service resource handlers and clients as xml representations, the client library treats resources basically as (wrapped) xml dom objects (more precisely as etree.Element instances). A Resource instance is initialized with an appropriate Element of a parsed core service resource handler response, and can be serialized for passing it back to the core service resource handler.

User Management[edit]

eSciDoc admin uses eSciDoc user accounts to access the core services resource handlers. After successful authentication with the external identity provider the admin application receives a token which is subsequently used to authenticate requests to the core service resource handlers (see login_finish).

Note: Currently, eSciDoc admin does only support the core services' default form based authentication.