This page is intended for those who wish to install their own local copy of voeventdb. If you just want to query our copy of the database, things are much simpler - see Getting started.

All-in-one installation scripts for the DevOps enthusiast

If you’d like to install your own copy of voeventdb, you may be interested in the accompanying Ansible role that provides a pre-configured installation of the voeventdb database and REST API, optionally served via Apache, available here:

The voeventdb role is demonstrated in conjunction with another role installing the Comet broker (to pull in the latest VOEvent packets) here: - in fact, those are the scripts which build

Note that, at time of writing, I’ve not had time to document these packages much - if you’d be interested in making use of them please drop me a line and I may be able to provide help / improve the associated docs.

Development installation

Alternately, if you want a local installation for development and testing purposes (or you just prefer the hands-on approach) then read on for some tips regarding manual installation.

Postgres Database Setup

Before the unit-tests or database setup will run, we need a PostgreSQL installation, and a database login with createdb rights. On a typical Debian system, install postgres with something like:

sudo apt-get install libpq-dev postgresql-9.3 postgresql-server-dev-9.3

You can check if you have database login and creation rights by running e.g.


Which will attempt to create a database named after your username. On a fresh Postgres installation you will get an access rights error - you need to login and create your user like so:

userfoo@machine: sudo su postgres
postgres@machine: psql
postgres=# create user userfoo with superuser;
postgres=# alter user userfoo with password 'userfoo';

For full details, consult the postgres docs.

Note the unit-tests assume by default a database username/password which are both the same as your login username, but this can be easily changed, see the module voeventdb.server.database.config.

A final word on Postgres setup - I recommend setting

timezone = 'UTC'

in postgresql.conf, this ensures that all timestamps are displayed in UTC both when querying the database via the command line, and when returning datetime objects via the SQLAlchemy API (full docs here).

Checking out and building q3c

We pull in q3c as a submodule, so unless you used a recursive git clone you will need to:

git submodule init
git submodule update

Then, to build q3c and install it into the PostgreSQL contrib folder:

cd external/q3c
sudo make install

Package Installation

Once all that’s out of the way, installation is trivial, simply run:

pip install .[all]

from the repository root, or (if you plan on development work):

pip install -e .[all]


voeventdb is accompanied by an extensive test-suite, powered by pytest.

To run the tests, you can run:

py.test -sv

From the repository root (see py.test -h for details), or you can use:

./ -sv

Which is a wrapper arount pytest which sets up some sensible logging defaults.

The tests can be run via tox, which additionally confirms a correct build-and-install process. Commits uploaded to github are automatically tested via Travis.