API backend for SRCT developed What's Open applications. The API serves data relating to dining locations that are currently open on George Mason University's campus

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What's Open

build status coverage report python version Django version

The What's Open project is an initiative at George Mason University by Mason Student Run Computing and Technology (SRCT) to display which dining locations are currently open on George Mason University's campus.

This repo is a simple Django Rest Framework (DRF) project that contains the database backend and API for SRCT-developed What's Open applications.

What's Open needs all the help it can get. Even if you don't feel like you can be helpful with the heavily technical aspects, we definitely need designers and technical writers.

There are many things that can be done with this project (see the project Issues section), but sometimes it's the small things that count, so don't be afraid of contributing just for a spelling mistake.

If you need help at all please contact any SRCT member in the #whats-open channel in our slack group. We want people to contribute, so if you are struggling, or just want to learn, then we are willing to help.

Check out some of the other What's Open projects!

Setup instructions for local development

What's Open currently supports developers on Linux and macOS systems. Here's our walk-through of steps we will take:

  1. Install git on your system.
  2. Clone the whats-open codebase.
  3. Get whats-open up and running with the method of your choice.

1) Install git on your system.

git is the version control system used for SRCT projects.

On Linux Based Systems

with apt:

Open a terminal and run the following command:

sudo apt update

This retrieves links to the most up-to-date and secure versions of your packages.

Next, with:

sudo apt install git

you install git onto your system.

with pacman:

pacman -S git

On macOS

We recommend that you use the third party Homebrew package manager for macOS, which allows you to install packages from your terminal just as easily as you could on a Linux based system. You could use another package manager (or not use one at all), but Homebrew is highly reccomended.

To get homebrew, run the following command in a terminal:

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)

Note: You do NOT need to use sudo when running any Homebrew commands, and it likely won't work if you do.

Next, to make sure Homebrew is up to date, run:

brew update

Finally we can install git with:

brew install git

2) Clone the whats-open codebase

Now, we're going to clone down a copy of the whats-open codebase from git.gmu.edu, the SRCT code respository with SSH.

a) Configure your ssh keys by following the directions at:


b) Now, on your computer, navigate to the directory in which you want to download the project (ie. perhaps one called development/SRCT), and run

git clone git@git.gmu.edu:srct/whats-open.git

3) Get whats-open up and running

Now that we have git setup and cloned down the code you can

cd whats-open/

and get to working on setting up a development environment! There are two options to go about doing this: Docker and Manual Setup.


We can automate the setup process through Docker containers! This allows us to quickly get started and standardize development environments across machines.

Installing Docker on your system:

Additionally, you will need to install docker-compose: https://docs.docker.com/compose/install/

Next inside the whats-open/ root directory run:

docker-compose build

If that doesn't work, try:

sudo docker-compose build

Then, follow up with:

docker-compose up

If that doesn't work, try:

sudo docker-compose build

You should see that the server is running by going to http://localhost:8000 in your browser. Any changes you make to your local file system will be mirrored in the server.

If you would like to log into the admin interface then use the following credentials:

user: admin@masonlive.gmu.edu
pass: admin

Manual Setup

Manual Setup involves all of the same steps as Docker, but just done manually.

First, install python, pip, and virtualenv on your system.

  • python is the programming language used for Django, the web framework used by whats-open.
  • pip is the python package manager.
  • virtualenv allows you to isolate pip packages within virtual environments

Open a terminal and run the following command:

sudo apt update

Next, with:

sudo apt install python3 python3-dev python3-pip
sudo pip3 install virtualenv

you install python, pip, and virtualenv.

Database Setup

What's Open is built on top of a MySQL database and thus, we must set it up.


sudo apt install mysql-server mysql-client libmysqlclient-dev python-mysqldb

to install mysql packages onto your system.

Load up the mysql shell by running

mysql -u root -p

and putting in your mysql password.

Create the database by running:


You can choose a different name for your database if you desire.

Double check your database was created by running:


Though you can use an existing user to access this database, here's how to create a new user and give them the necessary permissions to your newly created database:

CREATE USER 'wopen'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';

For local development, password strength is less important, but use a strong passphrase for deployment. You can choose a different username.

GRANT ALL ON wopen.* TO 'wopen'@'localhost';

This allows your database user to create all the tables it needs on the What's Open database.


GRANT ALL ON test_wopen.* TO 'wopen'@'localhost'; FLUSH PRIVILEGES;

When running test cases, django creates a test database so your 'real' database doesn't get screwed up. This database is called 'test_' + whatever your normal database is named. Note that for permissions it doesn't matter that this database hasn't yet been created.

The .* is to grant access all tables in the database, and 'flush privileges' reloads privileges to ensure that your user is ready to go.

Exit the mysql shell by typing:


At this point we will need to set some environment variables.

If you are using bash then just copy paste the following into your terminal:

export WOPEN_SECRET_KEY=$(dd if=/dev/urandom count=100 | tr -dc "A-Za-z0-9" | fold -w 60 | head -n1 2>/dev/null)
export WOPEN_EMAIL_DOMAIN="@masonlive.gmu.edu"
export WOPEN_DB_NAME="wopen"
export WOPEN_DB_USER="wopen"
export WOPEN_DB_PASSWORD="password"
export WOPEN_DB_PORT=3306

The Virtual Enviornment

Virtual environments are used to keep separate project packages from the main computer, so you can use different versions of packages across different projects and ease deployment server setup.

It's often recommended to create a special directory to store all of your virtual environments together (ie. development/virtualenv/), though they can be placed wherever is most convenient.

Then in your virtual environment directory run:

virtualenv -p python3 whats_open
source whats_open/bin/activate

to create your virtual environment and activate it. If you ever need to exit your virtual environment, simply run:


Now, the packages you need to install for Go are in in the top level of the project's directory structure(whats-open/).

Next with,

pip install -r requirements.txt
cd whats_open/
python3 manage.py makemigrations
python3 manage.py migrate

you setup the project.

Running the local web server

Now that everything is set-up you can run the server on your computer.

python3 manage.py runserver

Go to in your browser and you should see the website.

Initially, there won't be any restaurants showing. You will need to add them to the database.


python manage.py createsuperuser

to create a superuser to use when signing in to the admin interface.

Go to to add new Restaurant and Schedule objects to your database.

With that, everything should be good to go!

Modifying and Deploying Code

With the means of testing the website, you can really start contributing.

If you're new to Django and don't know where to start, I highly recommend giving the tutorial a try. However, it leaves out a lot of important things, so remember, Google is your friend. For the JavaScript, I will be using jQuery whenever possible because I prefer it to straight up JavaScript. jQuery has great documentation and I've found Mozilla's documentation on JavaScript to be useful as well. But if your Google-fu is sharp, that should suffice.


This document goes into detail about how to contribute to the repo, including guidelines for commit messages and details on the workflow of the project.

Opening issues

There are templates for issue descriptions located on the new issue page. I will close issues with poor descriptions or who do not follow the standard.

Coding style

You should adhere to the style of the repo code. Consistency is key! PEP8 guidelines are strongly recommended but not enforced at the time. Please comment your code, I will not accept commits that contain uncommented code.

Getting Help

I encourage you to join the #whats-open channel in SRCT's Slack Group if you have any questions on setup or would like to contribute.