Getting started

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Revision as of 17:36, 20 June 2016 by Hbecker (talk | contribs) (→‎Installation: Recommend ansible & vagrant)
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Main Page > Development > Getting Started

This wiki page describes getting started with Archivematica as a developer. For user and administrative manuals, please see

Vital Stats


Archivematica consists of several projects working together.

  • Archivematica: Main repository containing the user-facing dashboard, task manager MCPServer and clients scripts for the MCPClient
  • Storage Service: Responsible for moving files to Archivematica for processing, and from Archivematica into storage
  • Format Policy Registry: Submodule shared between Archivematica and the Format Policy Registry (FPR) server that displays and updates FPR rules and commands

There are also several smaller repositories that support Archivematica in various ways. In general, you will not need these to develop on Archivematica.


The recommended way to install Archivematica for development is with Ansible and Vagrant.

Ansible & Vagrant

To install and run Archivematica from source on a VM:

  1. Checkout deployment repo
  2. Install VirtualBox, Vagrant, Ansible
    • sudo apt-get install virtualbox vagrant (Ubuntu)
    • Vagrant must be at least 1.5 (it can also be downloaded from
      • vagrant --version
    • sudo pip install -U ansible
  3. Download Ansible roles
    • ansible-galaxy install -f -r requirements.yml
  4. (Optional) Change the branch by modifying vars-singlenode.yml
    • archivematica_src_am_version: "branch-name"
    • archivematica_src_ss_version: "branch-name"
  5. Create virtual machine and provision it
    • vagrant up (it takes a while)
  6. Login now available via:
    • vagrant ssh
  7. Services available:
  8. Provisioning (via ansible) can be re-run with vagrant to update the code on the server
    • vagrant provision
  9. To re-deploy a new branch to the same VM, update the branch variables in vars-singlenode.yml like step 4 described.
    • archivematica_src_am_version: "branch-name"
    • archivematica_src_ss_version: "branch-name"
    • This will probably require resetting the Archivematica installation as well. This can be done by adding variables to vars-singlenode.yml
    • archivematica_src_reset_am_all: "true" This will reset the Archivematica database, clear ElasticSearch and clear shared directories
    • archivematica_src_reset_ss_db: "true" This will reset the Storage Service database
    • For more variables to control deployment, see the README

Restarting services:

  1. Restart the Archivematica dashboard
    • sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 start or sudo service apache2 restart
  2. Restart the Storage Service
    • sudo service uwsgi restart
  3. Restart nginx
    • sudo service uwsgi restart
    • sudo service nginx restart

Local install (Legacy)

Archivematica can also be installed locally on a development machine using dev-helper. See development environment setup instructions This is considered legacy, and we recommend using Vagrant and Ansible.

Alternative Vagrant projects

Community-provided alternatives have also been developed.


Archivematica and the related projects have a small but growing test suite. We use py.test to run our tests, which should be listed as a requirement in the development/local requirements file.

To run the tests, go to the repository root and run py.test

See below for project-specific setup or changes to running the tests.


Before running Archivematica tests, set the following environment variable.

set -xg PYTHONPATH /usr/share/archivematica/dashboard/:/usr/lib/archivematica/archivematicaCommon/
export PYTHONPATH=$PYTHONPATH:/usr/share/archivematica/dashboard/:/usr/lib/archivematica/archivematicaCommon/

Storage Service

Before running Storage Service tests, set the following environment variables

set -xg PYTHONPATH (pwd)/storage_service  # The project root
set -xg DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE storage_service.settings.test
export PYTHONPATH=$(pwd)/storage_service  # The project root
export DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE=storage_service.settings.test