Developer documentation

Installing from source

Clone from git:

git clone
cd romanesco

Test it:

python -m unittest -v tests.table_test
python -m unittest -v tests.tree_test

Some things not working? You can install a few things so they do. For example, install MongoDB and R, in addition to their Python bindings:

pip install pymongo rpy2  # may need sudo

You’ll need to get a MongoDB server listening on localhost by running mongod.

In R, you’ll need to install some stuff too, currently just the ape package:


Some things depend on VTK Python bindings. Romanesco uses some features from cutting-edge VTK, so you’ll likely need to build it from scratch (takes ~30 minutes). First get CMake, then do the following:

git clone git://
cd VTK
mkdir build
cd build
export PYTHONPATH=`pwd`/Wrapping/Python:`pwd`/lib
python -c "import vtk"  # should work without an error

Want to run things remotely? On the client and server install celery:

pip install celery

Then fire up the celery worker:

python -m romanesco

On the client, run a script akin to the following example:

python clients/

This section of the documentation is meant for those who wish to contribute to the Romanesco core platform.

Note on building VTK

The VTK binaries used for testing in the .travis.yml is built in an Ubuntu precise 64-bit VM using the following commands:

# from host
vagrant up
vagrant ssh

# from Vagrant guest
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install g++ make
tar xzvf cmake-
cd cmake-
./bootstrap --prefix=~/cmake-
make install
cd ~
git clone git://
cd VTK
mkdir build
cd build
~/cmake- .. -DBUILD_TESTING:BOOL=OFF -DVTK_WRAP_PYTHON:BOOL=ON -DVTK_Group_Rendering:BOOL=OFF -DVTK_Group_StandAlone:BOOL=OFF -DModule_vtkCommonDataModel:BOOL=ON -DModule_vtkIOInfovis:BOOL=ON -DModule_vtkFiltersSources:BOOL=ON -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH=~/vtk-precise64
make install
tar czvf vtk-precise64.tar.gz ~/vtk-precise64/

# from host
scp -P 2222 vagrant@localhost:~/vtk-precise64-118242.tar.gz .

Creating a new release

Romanesco releases are uploaded to PyPI for easy installation via pip. The recommended process for generating a new release is described here.

  1. From the target commit, set the desired version number in plugin.json. Create a new commit and note the SHA; this will become the release tag.

  2. Ensure that all tests pass.

  3. Clone the repository in a new directory and checkout the release SHA. (Packaging in an old directory could cause extraneous files to be mistakenly included in the source distribution.)

  4. Run python sdist --dist-dir . to generate the distribution tarball in the project directory, which looks like romanesco-x.y.z.tar.gz.

  5. Create a new virtual environment and install the python package into it. This should not be done in the repository directory because the wrong package will be imported.

    mkdir test && cd test
    virtualenv release
    source release/bin/activate
    pip install ../romanesco-<version>.tar.gz
  6. Once that finishes, you should be able to start the worker by simply running romanesco-worker.

  7. When you are confident everything is working correctly, generate a new release on GitHub. You must be sure to use a tag version of v<version>, where <version> is the version number as it exists in plugin.json. For example, v0.2.4. Attach the three tarballs you generated to the release.

  8. Add the tagged version to readthedocs and make sure it builds correctly.

  9. Finally, upload the release to PyPI with the following command:

    python sdist upload


The first time you create a release, you will need to register to PyPI before you can run the upload step. To do so, simply run python sdist register.