Atramhasis is a python webapplication that is being developed within the pyramid framework. Other major technologies used are sqlalchemy as the ORM and Jinja2 as the templating framework.

Client side the main technologies being used are Zurb Foundation and Dojo toolkit.

While Atramhasis is an editor for creating and editing SKOS vocabularies, it uses other libraries that are more geared towards using a vocabulary in an application.

Atramhasis can easily be set up with a Linked Data Fragments (LDF) server. This server allows posing simple triple pattern queries of your dataset. Combined with a Linked Data Fragments client, similar functionalities to a traditional SPARQL endpoint can be achieved. Atramhasis facilitates the setup of a Linked Data Fragments server by generating a suitable config file for the Javascript server. This server can use different backends. Out of the box, Atramhasis generates Turtle files that can be used by the LDF server. It’s also possible to configre Atramhasis with a link to the rdf2hdt command (requires a separate installation). In this case, everytime the conceptschemes are dumped to RDF, the dump files are also written in HDT format.

General installation

We recommend installing Atramhasis in a virtual environment.

$ python -m venv atramhasis_dev
$ . atramhasis_dev/bin/activate
# Make sure pip and setuptools are up to date
$ pip install --upgrade pip setuptools

To install a fully working development environment a pip requirements-dev.txt file is provided. By passing this file to pip install -r all requirements for Atramhasis and development of the software (Sphinx, py.test, tox) will be installed.

The following step will help you get the python development environment up and running. If you also need to work on the javascript admin backend, please refer to the admin module documentation.

# Install dependencies
$ pip install -r requirements-dev.txt
# Install packages in dev mode
$ pip install -e .
# create or update database
$ alembic upgrade head
# insert sample data
$ initialize_atramhasis_db development.ini
# generate first RDF download
$ dump_rdf development.ini
# compile the Message Catalog Files
$ python compile_catalog

Once you’ve executed these steps, you can run a development server. This uses the standard pyramid server (Waitress) and should not be used as-is in a production environment.

# run a local development server
$ pserve --reload development.ini

Admin development

To work on the admin part, you’ll need npm installed. Consult your operating system documentation on how to install these. The following instructions will assume you’re running a recent Debian based Linux distribution.

# install npm and grunt-cli
$ sudo apt install nodejs
$ sudo apt install npm
$ sudo npm install -g grunt-cli
# install js dependencies for public site using npm
$ cd atramhasis/static
$ npm install
# install js dependencies for admin using npm
$ cd atramhasis/static/admin
$ npm install

These commands will install a couple of js libraries that Atramhasis uses in /atramhasis/static/node_modules and /atramhasis/static/admin/node_modules and a set of tools to be able to generate js builds. Builds are carried out through a simple grunt file:

# Build a dojo distribution
$ cd atramhasis/static/admin
$ grunt -v build

This will create a build a place the resulting files in atramhasis/static/admin/dist. The web application can be told to use this build by setting dojo.mode in development.ini to dist.

Frontend development

When updating the frontend templates, you might want to add extra translations. This can be done by placing {% trans %} tags in the templates

<h2>{% trans %}welcome_to{% endtrans %}</h2>

To update the message catalogs, do as follows:

$ python extract_messages
$ python update_catalog -l fr -i atramhasis/locale/atramhasis.pot -o atramhasis/locale/fr/LC_MESSAGES/atramhasis.po
$ python update_catalog -l nl -i atramhasis/locale/atramhasis.pot -o atramhasis/locale/nl/LC_MESSAGES/atramhasis.po
$ python update_catalog -l en -i atramhasis/locale/atramhasis.pot -o atramhasis/locale/en/LC_MESSAGES/atramhasis.po

Update the catalogs accordingly and run:

$ python compile_catalog

You might also want to add a new translation. Suppose you want to add a German translation.

$ python init_catalog -l de -i atramhasis/locale/atramhasis.pot -o atramhasis/locale/de/LC_MESSAGES/atramhasis.po

Edit atramhasis/locale/do/LC_MESSAGES/atramhasis.po and add the necessary translations. Just as with updating the catalogs, you need to recompile them.

$ python compile_catalog

At this moment, Atramhasis will still only show the default languages in it’s language switcher. If you want to add you new language, you need to edit your development.ini (or similar file). Look for the line that says available_languages and add your locale identifier.

available_languages = en nl fr de

After restarting your server you will now have the option of switching to German.

Running a Linked Data Fragments server

If you want to add a Linked Data Fragments server, Atramhasis makes it easy for you. First you need to decide if you want to run the server with HDT files. If not, you can always use raw Turtle files, but be aware that the HDT files offer much better performance.

If you want to use HDT files, please install hdt-cpp. Be aware that you might have to download the source files and compile them yourself. Once you have done so, add the rdf2hdt command to your development.ini file. Supposing you installed it in /opt/hdt-cpp/hdt-lib/tools/rdf2hdt:

# Location of rdf2hdt executable
atramhasis.rdf2hdt = /opt/hdt-cpp/hdt-lib/tools/rdf2hdt

Now, whenever Atramhasis creates rdf dumps it will also create HDT files. If you do not have rdf2hdt installed, you will still have Turtle datadumps that can be used by the LDF-server.

$ dump_rdf development.ini

Now you’re ready to generate the configuration for the LDF server. Out of the box this file will be generated in the same directory your development.ini is located in, but you can override this in your ini file by setting atramhasis.ldf.config_location or you can pass this on the command line

# Generate config
$ generate_ldf_config development.ini
# Generate config and override config_location
$ generate_ldf_config development.ini -l /opt/my/ldf/server

Now you’re ready to run your LDF server. First we need to install it. It requires Node.js 4.0 or higher and should run on OSX and Linux. Please refer to the LDF server documentation for troubleshooting.

# Install ldf-server
$ [sudo] npm install -g @ldf/server
# Run ldf-server
$ ldf-server ldf_server_config.json

Now you have an LDF server running at http://localhost:3000. Browse there and have fun!

When deploying Atramhasis with an LDF server in production, we recommend runnig both behind eg. nginx. In case you want to do this, you might run Atramhasis on port 6543 and LDF server on port 3000, but serve both through nginx. You can easily do this by setting the atramhasis.ldf.baseurl in your ini file. Suppose you want to server both on the host with Atramhasis as the root of your domain and the LDF server at /ldf. In this case, set atramhasis.ldf.baseurl to


Atramhasis is being developed as open source software by the Flanders Heritage Agency. All development is done on the agency’s Github page for Atramhasis.

Since we place a lot of importance of code quality, we expect to have a good amount of code coverage present and run frequent unit tests. All commits and pull requests will be tested with Travis-ci. Code coverage is being monitored with Coveralls.

Locally you can run unit tests by using pytest or tox. Running pytest manually is good for running a distinct set of unit tests. For a full test run, tox is preferred since this can run the unit tests against multiple versions of python.

# Run unit tests for all environments
$ tox
# No coverage
$ py.test
# Coverage
$ py.test --cov atramhasis --cov-report term-missing
# Only run a subset of the tests
$ py.test atramhasis/tests/

Every pull request will be run through Travis-ci. When providing a pull request, please run the unit tests first and make sure they all pass. Please provide new unit tests to maintain 100% coverage. If you send us a pull request and this build doesn’t function, please correct the issue at hand or let us know why it’s not working.


For building a distribution use the prepare command before the distribution command. This will build the dojo code in the static folder.

$ python prepare sdist bdist_wheel