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So you're deploying your library's circulation manager. Awesome! If you'd like to get up and running quickly, we recommend using our Docker image.

If you're already familiar with Docker and/or would like to contribute to our Docker builds, you can find our build files at NYPL-Simplified/circulation-docker.

Step-by-step guide

  1. Set up Docker

    1. Install Docker. Depending on your package manager, you could also install a slightly older version with: sudo apt-get install docker-ce or sudo yum install docker-ce.

      Docker has step-by-step instructions to grab its most up-to-date version. 

    2. Create any dependent, temporary containers (optional) for integrations like Elasticsearch and Postgres. We don't recommend using containers in the long-term for holding or maintaining data. However, if you just want to get a sense of how your Circulation Manager will work, containers are a quick option. Instructions for integrating Elasticsearch and Postgres via Docker can be found below.

    3. Get the Docker images for the Library Simplified Circulation Manager. Run:

      $ sudo docker pull nypl/circ-deploy && sudo docker pull nypl/circ-scripts
  2. Deploy Circulation Manager containers

    To deploy an app filled with your library's books, you'll need to run a number of scripts. Read the environment variable details below before running this script; you will likely need to alter it to meet your needs.

    Example Docker Run Script

    $ sudo docker run -d --name circ-scripts \
        -e TZ="US/Central" \
        -e SIMPLIFIED_DB_TASK='init' \
        -e SIMPLIFIED_PRODUCTION_DATABASE='postgres://[username]:[password]@[host]:[port]/[database_name]' \

    The example above runs this resulting container in detached mode (-d), linked to the (-eSIMPLIFIED_PRODUCTION_DATABASE and calling it "circ-scripts". With the (-e) optional argument TZ, you can pass a Debian-system timezone representing your local time zone, which will cause timed scripts to run according to your local time. If the database you've connected in your configuration has never been used before, use -e to set the optional argument SIMPLIFIED_DB_TASK to 'init'. This will keep track of the state of the database you've created and create an alias on your Elasticsearch cluster, allowing database updates to be easily managed with scripts.

  3. Refresh Materialized Views

    1. Once you've given your scripts some time to run (~30 minutes should be enough time to start having works move through the import process), you'll want to refresh your cached materialized views so they show up in your deployed app.

      $ sudo docker exec circ-scripts /var/www/circulation/core/bin/run refresh_materialized_views
  4. Troubleshoot / Check container logs
    You'll want to check the logs of your container. For example:
    # check logs of the database task and running supervisor processes
    $ sudo docker logs circ-scripts

    # check logs of cron and scripts
    $ sudo docker exec circ-scripts cat /var/log/cron.log | less
    $ sudo docker exec circ-scripts ls /var/log/simplified
    $ sudo docker exec circ-scripts cat /var/log/simplified/overdrive_monitor_full | less

    # The log directory can also be found on the production server.
    # Its location can be found using this command.
    $ sudo docker inspect circ-scripts \
    --format='{{range $mount := .Mounts}}{{if eq $mount.Destination "/var/log"}}{{$mount.Source}}{{end}}{{end}}'
    You can hop into a running container at any time with the command: $ sudo docker exec -it circ /bin/bash

    Docker Documentation

    Docker has fantastic documentation to get more familiar with its command line tools, like docker exec and docker inspect. We recommend you check them out.


Environment variables

    Optional The full path to configuration file in the container. Using the volume options -v, e.g. YOUR_LOCAL_DIRECTORY_WITH_CONFIG_FILE:/etc/simplified, it should look something like -e SIMPLIFIED_CONFIGURATION_FILE=/etc/simplified/YOUR_CONFIGURATION_FILENAME.json.
    Use this documentation to create the JSON file for your particular library's configuration. If you're unfamiliar with JSON, you can use this JSON Formatter & Validator to validate your configuration file.
    Required. Performs a task against the database at container runtime. Options are:
    • ignore : Does nothing. This is the default value.
    • init : Initializes the app against a brand new database. If you are running a circulation manager for the first time every, use this value to set up an Elasticsearch alias and account for the database schema for future migrations.
    • migrate : Migrates an existing database against a new release. Use this value when switching from one stable version to another.
    Required. The URL of the production PostgreSQL database for the application.
    Optional in v2.x only. The URL of a PostgreSQL database for tests. This optional variable allows unit tests to be run in the container.
  • TZ
    Optional. Scripts container only. The timezone of the library or libraries on this circulation manager, selected according to Debian-system timezone options. This value allows scripts to run at ideal times.