Tesserae Version 5 Local Installation Instructions

As long as the standalone version is unavailable, this document will guide the brave in installing the software necessary to run Tesserae on their own machines. Even after the standalone version becomes available, these instructions should shed light on the assumptions upon which the standalone version was built.


The following software will need to be installed on your machine before you can install Tesserae:

  • MongoDB (we developed for 4.0)
  • Python (we developed with 3.6; I’m running it now with 3.8)
    • It is recommended to install virtual environment support (Ubuntu, for example, does not distribute Python with virtual environment support by default)
  • git
  • nodejs and npm (installing nodejs should give you npm as well; the LTS version of nodejs is recommended)
  • A web browser (developed primarily in Firefox and Chrome)

Additionally, you will want about 5 GB of free space on your hard drive.

Backend Installation Instructions:

Start by opening a terminal window and creating a Python virtual environment where you will install the necessary Python packages. In Ubuntu, the following command creates a virtual environment called “tessenv” in your current working directory:

python3 -m venv tessenv

Next, activate the virtual environment. In Ubuntu, the following command does this:

source tessenv/bin/activate

Next, install the Tesserae API (this will also install tesserae-v5, among other things):

pip install --upgrade git+https://github.com/tesserae/apitess#egg=apitess</span

Now, download the script available at https://raw.githubusercontent.com/tesserae/apitess/master/example/example_launcher.py.

You will now want to edit the file you just downloaded. If you have special credentials set up for your MongoDB installation, change values in db_config to match your credentials. Otherwise, make sure that both values associated with MONGO_USER and MONGO_PASSWORD are set to the empty string ''. Finally, set DB_NAME to 'tesserae'.

Now, download the database dump available at https://www.wjscheirer.com/misc/tesserae/archivedbasedump20200731.gz. This may take a while.

You will then want to install the database dump to your database. This will definitely take some time. In Ubuntu, the command (assuming there are no credentials you need for your installation of MongoDB and that it is running on the default port, 27017) is:

mongorestore --port 27017 --gzip --archive=archivedbasedump20200731.gz \
                           --nsFrom="base.*" --nsTo="tesserae.*"

Now, run the Python script you downloaded with the environment variable “ADMIN_INSTANCE” set to “true”. In Ubuntu, the following command does this:

ADMIN_INSTANCE=true python3 example_launcher.py

The startup message should indicate the URL where the API is being served. On my machine, it was at http://localhost:5000. To make sure that the API is running, point your web browser to http://localhost:5000/languages/. This should return some information about what languages are installed in the database (“greek” and “latin” at this time).

If this is working, then you’ve got the backend set up.

Frontend Installation Instructions:

The frontend code is available at https://github.com/jeffkinnison/tesserae-frontend. Here are the instructions to install and run that.

First, open up a new terminal window and clone the repository:

git clone https://github.com/jeffkinnison/tesserae-frontend.git

Then, change your directory to the repository you just cloned:

cd tesserae-frontend

Install the javascript dependencies:

npm install

In the repository should be a file called “package.json”. Open that and add "homepage": "./" to the object in that file. If you did this correctly, the bottom of the file should look something like this:

    "not op_mini all"
  "homepage": "./"

Also open the file “.env” in the repository. Change the value following the equals sign after “REACT_APP_REST_API_URL” to wherever your backend API server is running. In my case, this was 'http://localhost:5000'. Also change the value following the equals sign after “REACT_APP_MODE”to'ADMIN'. This will enable some of the administrative features in the frontend, like adding and deleting texts in the database.

Now, run npm start. This should open the web browser and load up the frontend. If the backend is still running, then you should see the web page pop up.

Starting Tesserae After Installation:

If you’ve already installed everything, then here are the Ubuntu commands to get Tesserae up and running.

In one terminal window:

cd <place you put example_launcher.py>
ADMIN_INSTANCE=true python3 example_launcher.py

In another terminal window:

cd <repository location of tesserae-frontend>
npm start

Next Steps:

Now that you’ve installed Tesserae, you can run searches locally on your computer. You can also add/delete texts through the “Corpus” button near the top right. If you don’t like how the frontend looks or works, you could build your own on top of the API (API documentation is available at https://tesserae.caset.buffalo.edu/docs/api/).

Comments are closed.