Whimsy is a set of independent tools and a common library which typically will need to access various ASF SVN directories and/or LDAP. To do development and testing, you will need access to a machine on which you are willing to install libraries which do things like access LDAP, XML parsing, composing mail and the like. While some tools may work on Microsoft Windows, many don't currently. Alternatives include a Docker image, a custom Vagrant VM, and a Kitchen/Puppet managed Vagrant VM.

The primary advantage of using an image or a VM is isolation. The primary disadvantage is that you will need to install your SVN credentials there and arrange to either duplicate or mount your SVN directories.

Automated deployment via Puppet is still a work in progress; current status can be found in the following pages: development, deployment, todos.


This directory has two main subdirectories...

  1. lib/whimsy/asf contains the “model”, i.e., a set of classes which encapsulate access to a number of data sources such as LDAP, ICLAs, auth lists, etc. This code originally was developed as a part of separate tools and was later refactored out into a common library. Some of the older tools don't fully make use of this refactoring.

  2. www contains the “view”, largely a set of CGI scripts that produce HTML. Generally a CGI script is self contained, including all of the CSS, scripts, AJAX logic (client and server), SVG images, etc. A single script may also produce a set (subtree) of web pages.

    Some of the directories (like the roster tool) contain rack applications. These can be run independently, or under the Apache web server through the use of Phusion Passenger.

    The board agenda tool is currently hosted separately on github, but this will be consolidated into this repository as a part of the effort to move to a new VM.


This section is for those desiring to run a whimsy tool on their own machine. Skip this section if you are running a Docker container or a Vagrant VM.

  1. The ruby version needs be ruby 1.9.3 or higher. Verify with ruby -v. If you use a system provided version of Ruby, you may need to prefix certain commands (like gem install) with sudo. Alternatives to using the system provided version include using a Ruby version manager like rbenv or rvm. Rbenv generally requires you to be more aware of what you are doing (e.g., the need for shims). While rvm tends to be more of a set and forget operation, it tends to be more system intrusive (e.g. aliasing ‘cd’ in bash).

    For more information:

    1. Understanding Shims
    2. Understanding Binstubs
    3. Ruby Version Manager
  2. Make sure that the whimsy-asf gem installed. If it is not, run

gem install whimsy-asf

  1. current SVN checkouts of various repositories are made (or linked to from) /srv/svn

     svn co --depth=files

    You can specify an alternate location for these directories by placing a configuration file named .whimsy in your home directory. The format for this file is YAML, and an example (be sure to include the dashed lines):

     - /home/rubys/svn/foundation
     - /home/rubys/svn/committers
  2. Access to LDAP requires configuration, and a cert.

  3. The model code determines what host and port to connect to by parsing either /etc/ldap/ldap.conf or /etc/openldap/ldap.conf for a line that looks like the following: uri ldaps://

  4. A TLS_CACERT can be obtained via either of the following commands:

    `ruby -r whimsy/asf -e "puts ASF::LDAP.cert"`<br/>
    `openssl s_client -connect </dev/null`

    Copy from BEGIN to END inclusive into the file /etc/ldap/asf-ldap-client.pem. Point to the file in /etc/ldap/ldap.conf with a line like the following:

    TLS_CACERT /etc/ldap/asf-ldap-client.pem

    N.B. OpenLDAP on Mac OS/X uses /etc/openldap/ instead of /etc/ldap/ Adjust the paths above as necessary. Additionally ensure that that TLS_REQCERT is set to allow.

    Note: the certificate is needed because the ASF LDAP hosts use a self-signed certificate.

All these updates can be done for you with the following command:

    sudo ruby -r whimsy/asf -e "ASF::LDAP.configure"

These above command can also be used to update your configuration as the ASF changes LDAP servers.

  1. Verify that the configuration is correct by running:

    ruby examples/board.rb

    See comments in that file for running the script as a standalone server.

Further Reading