Dreamhack Getting Started
The Dreamhack service is a hosted development sandbox environment where you can do Dreamwidth development without having to have your own server. Dreamhack accounts are available free of charge for anyone who's interested in working on the Dreamwidth code.
When you get your Dreamhack account first created, most of the setup will be done for you. There are still a bunch of things you should do at first to make sure that your development environment is properly set up for you to work on, though. This guide is a walkthrough of all the steps you should take (in order) when you first log into your Dreamhack account.
You should also read Beginning dev checklist for more background information; if you are on Windows, Newbie Guide: Getting Started on Windows might be useful. If you wind up in difficulty, take a look at Dreamhack Troubleshooting.
Get a SSH client
To connect to your Dreamhack and work on things, you'll need a program that will do SSH, or "secure shell". It lets you connect to the Dreamhack server and work with the files, which you can't do through your browser. If you're running Windows, download PuTTY. If you're on a Mac or a Linux distribution, you won't need a separate program; the Terminal (Applications/Utilities/Terminal on the Mac) will let you connect.
Connect to your Dreamhack
Once you have an SSH client, you can connect to Dreamhack. In PuTTY, put "hack.dreamwidth.net" for the server, and use the username and password you were given in your welcome email. In Terminal, type:
Change your password
Change your password to something you can remember. Type:
and follow the prompts.
Set the system password
Your Dreamhack installation has a user named 'system', which has all the admin privs and owns all the system styles. The system account is the first account on the server. You need to set a password so you can log into it. Type:
Pick something you'll remember. (If you ever forget the system password, though, you can just run make_system.pl again and re-set it.)
Get acquainted with the command line
If you haven't used a command line before, it can be a strange experience. You may want to check out the Command line tutorial before carrying on, as it explains a few of the concepts that we'll be using in the sections below.
Edit the config files
You'll need to edit a few config files to make for easier development. Do the following:
cd $LJHOME nano -w etc/config.pl
(The "nano" text editor is probably the best one for new developers. If you're more experienced, or want to try something a little more powerful, check out the list of editors at the Configuring editors page.)
You'll need to use the arrow keys to scroll through the file when using nano, because it won't respond to the mouse.
Take a look for the following line:
$USE_ACCT_CODES = 1;
This line governs whether invite codes are used. If the value is 1, then new accounts will need invites before they can be created. If the value is 0, then anybody can create an account. You can edit this value, if you like.
When you're done, press Ctrl-X to exit nano. It'll ask you if you want to save - press Y. It'll then ask you where you want to save the file. At this point, just press RETURN; you already told nano where to save it when you launched it, and pressing RETURN tells nano just to use that. You'll then find yourself back at the command line.
You should also edit your $LJHOME/ext/local/etc/config-local.pl file for some other local settings:
cd $LJHOME nano -w ext/local/etc/config-local.pl
Values you may want to change and/or set:
$SITENAME = "Some LiveJournal Site"; $SITENAMESHORT = "YourSite"; $SITENAMEABBREV = "YS"; # these are all used in various places throughout the site
Remember to save and exit when you're done.
Once all of this is done, you're ready to start Apache. Type:
Your Dreamhack will now appear at http://www.yourusername.hack.dreamwidth.net.
Update your code regularly
Before you do any development work, it's a good idea to update your code to the most recent version. See Dev Maintenance for instructions.
Get familiar with version control
Read Version Control and get familiar with how things work.
You can now start hacking! For more information, check out the Category: Development category, especially the Beginning dev checklist, Dev Getting Started, and Programming Guidelines pages. If you run into problems, the #dreamwidth-dev IRC channel and the dw_dev_training community are good places to go for help.
A quick and easy way to populate your Dreamhack with lots of users is to run Sophie's Script:_create-users.
We're looking forward to seeing your first patch!
A note about TheSchwartz
Previously, the Dreamhack setup process required you to set up TheSchwartz manually. You no longer need to do this as it's done for you automatically, but if you need to use TheSchwartz, you will still need to run the workers manually. This can generally be done with the command
$LJHOME/bin/worker-manager --debug. However, please do not run this unless you need to; due to an issue with some of the workers, it can cause load for the server. It may be that the area you are working with does not need TheSchwartz for it to work.
--debug switch, as in the command above, will force the worker manager to remain in the foreground, which makes it easy to stop; you can just press Ctrl-C. Note that even with
--debug on, you can run worker-manager in the shell and use your Web browser to access your Dreamhack at the same time.
If you need to run
worker-manager in the background, then you can leave off the
--debug switch, which will make it go into the background. When you're done, you can then stop it with the command
killall worker-manager. You may see a few "Operation not permitted" errors when you do this; you can ignore these, as they refer to other people's worker-manager processes, which you can't kill; you can only kill your own processes.
(At some point, there will be a script to make it easier to do this! For now, though, this is what you need to so.)