Development Tools & Environment

Setting up the Development Environment

To begin experimenting and investigating ]project-open[ you will of course need a working application and several additional tools.  A ]project-open[ development environment consists of:

  • A running ]project-open[ server with sample data.
  • An Emacs/VI/VIM etc. editor to edit the source code.
  • A tool to watch the "Linux: /web/projop/log/error.log" / "WIN: C:/project-open/servers/projop/log/error.log" file. This file contains error and debugging information
  • At the /ds/ URL of any ]project-open[ server you will find a number of developer tools such as:
    • /ds/ - SQL profiling and statistics on server requests
    • /ds/shell - an interactive shell that lets you execute statements in the context of the AOLserver
    • /api-doc/ - interactive developer documentation
  • Optionally, you can install pgAdminIII to increase the comfort of working with the database.
  • In a Windows environment you may additionally want to install Tortoise or WinCVS in order to access the ]project-open[ CVS version control system.

Please read about CVS access to the latest version of ]project-open[.

Note that most of these requirements are merely suggestions, if you would like to hack your own way through ]project-open[ you only will need a text editor and a working ]project-open[ installation, the rest are simply auxiliary tools to aid development.

Helpful Tools

There are various tools that support you when developing ]po[ applications. 


The ]po[ logfile contains error and debugging information that occur during run time. Find additional information here

API Browser

Each ]po[ instance provides an API Browser that allows you to search the PL/SQL and OpenACS API. The browser is available at http://[YOUR_SERVER]/api-doc/ and can also be accessed from the Developer Toolbar. 

API Browser 

Developer Toolbar

The toolbar is available to ]po[ SysAdmins and can be activated on the "Developer Support" page: http://[YOUR_SERVER]/ds

Developer Toolbar

OpenACS Shell

Serves to execute random tcl code. Available at http://[YOUR_SERVER]/ds/shell or from the Developer Toolbar.

Permission and Parameter Protocol

System Administrators are able to get a list of permission checks performed related to a request by activating "User Switching" available from the Developer Toolbar.
Once activated each request produces a list of Parameter and Privilege settings as follow:

Permissions & Parameters


  • Set parameters SessionLifetime and SessionTimeout to 604800 to avoid being logged out frequently.


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  Project Open Business Solutions S.L.

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