web scraping tool

From GitHub

Take the hassle out of web scraping

Front-end stack

Nothing special found.


Readme from GitHub

Build Status Code Climate A scraping platform

  • A Heroku for Scrapers
  • All code and collaboration through GitHub
  • Write your scrapers in Ruby, Python, PHP, Perl or JavaScript (NodeJS, PhantomJS)
  • Simple API to grab data
  • Schedule scrapers or run manually
  • Process isolation via Docker
  • Email alerts for broken scrapers


Ruby, Docker, MySQL, SQLite 3, Redis, mitmproxy.
(See below for more details about installing Docker)

Development is supported on Linux (Ubuntu 20.04) and Mac OS X.



Docker images:
* openaustralia/buildstep - Base image for running scrapers in containers

Installing Docker

On Linux

Just follow the instructions on the Docker site.

Your user account should be able to manipulate Docker (just add your user to the docker group).

On Mac OS X

Install Docker for Mac.

Starting up Elasticsearch

Morph needs Elasticsearch to run. We've made things easier for development by using docker
to run Elasticsearch.

docker-compose up

To Install Morph

bundle install
cp config/database.yml.example config/database.yml
cp env-example .env

Edit config/database.yml with your database settings

Tunnel GitHub webhook traffic back to your local development machine

We use "ngrok" a tool that makes tunnelling internet traffic to a local development machine easy. First download ngrok if you don't have it already. Then,

ngrok http 5100

Make note of the http://* forwarding URL.

Creating Github Application

You'll need to create an application on GitHub So that can talk to GitHub. We've pre-filled most of the important fields for a few different configurations below:

You will need to add add and change a few values manually:
* Disable "Expire user authorization tokens"
* Add an image - you can use the standard logo at app/assets/images/logo.png (you can add this after the app is created)
* If the webhooks are active and being used in production (currently not the case) then
you'll also need to add a "Webhook secret" for security.

Next you'll need to fill in some values in the .env file which come from the GitHub App that you've just created.

  • GITHUB_APP_ID - Look for "App ID" near the top of the page. This should be an integer
  • GITHUB_APP_NAME - Look for "Public link". The name is what appears after "". It's essentially a url happy version of the name you gave the app.
  • GITHUB_APP_CLIENT_ID - Look for "Client ID" near the top of the page.
  • GITHUB_APP_CLIENT_SECRET - Go to "Generate a new client secret".

Also, a private key for the GitHub app is needed. This can be generated by clicking the "Generate a private key" button and will be automatically downloaded. Move and rename it to config/morph-github-app.private-key.pem.

Now setup the databases:

bundle exec dotenv rake db:setup

Now you can start the server

bundle exec dotenv foreman start

and point your browser at

To get started, log in with GitHub. There is a simple admin interface
accessible at To
access this, run the following to give your account admin rights:

bundle exec rake app:promote_to_admin

Running tests

If you're running guard (see above) the tests will also automatically run when you change a file.

By default, RSpec will skip tests that have been tagged as being slow. To change this behaviour, add the following to your .env:


By default, RSpec will run certain tests against a running Docker server. These tests are quite slow, but not have been tagged as slow. To stop Rspec from running these tests, add the following to your .env:


Guard Livereload

We use Guard and Livereload so that whenever you edit a view in development the web page gets automatically reloaded. It's a massive time saver when you're doing design or lots of work in the view. To make it work run

bundle exec guard

Guard will also run tests when needed. Some tests do integration tests against a
running docker server. These particular tests are very slow. If you want to
disable them,

DONT_RUN_DOCKER_TESTS=1 bundle exec guard

Mail in development

By default in development mails are sent to Mailcatcher. To install

gem install mailcatcher

Deploying to production

This section will not be relevant to most people. It will however be relevant if you're deploying to a production server.

Ansible Vault

We're using Ansible Vault to encrypt certain files, like the private key for the SSL certificate.

To make this work you will need to put the password in a
file at ~/.infrastructure_ansible_vault_pass.txt. This is the same password as used in the openaustralia/infrastructure GitHub repository.

Restarting Discourse

Discourse runs in a container and should usually be restarted automatically by docker.

However, if the container goes away for some reason, it can be restarted:

root@morph:/var/discourse# ./launcher rebuild app

This will pull down the latest docker image, rebuild, and restart the container.

Production devops development

This method defaults to creating a 4Gb VirtualBox VM, which can strain an 8Gb Mac. We suggest tweaking the Vagrantfile to restrict ram usage to 2Gb at first, or using a machine with at least 12Gb ram.

Install Vagrant, VirtualBox and Ansible.

Install a couple of Vagrant plugins: vagrant plugin install vagrant-hostsupdater vagrant-disksize

Install rbenv and ruby-build.

If on Ubuntu, install libreadline-dev: sudo apt install libreadline-dev libsqlite3-dev

Install the required ruby version: rbenv install

Install capistrano: gem install capistrano

Run make roles to install some required ansible roles.

Run vagrant up local. This will build and provision a box that looks and acts like production at

Once the box is created and provisioned, deploy the application to your Vagrant box:

cap local deploy

Now visit

Production provisioning and deployment

To deploy to production, normally you'll just want to deploy using Capistrano:

cap production deploy

When you've changed the Ansible playbooks to modify the infrastructure you'll want to run:

make ansible

SSL certificates

We're using Let's Encrypt for SSL certificates. It's not 100% automated.
On a completely fresh install (with a new domain) as root:

certbot --nginx certonly -m [email protected] --agree-tos

It should show something like this:

Which names would you like to activate HTTPS for?


Leave your answer your blank which will install the certificate for all of them

Installing certificates for local vagrant build

sudo certbot certonly --manual -d --preferred-challenges dns -d -d -d

Scraper<->mitmdump SSL

Scrapers talk out to the internet by being routed through the mitmdump2
proxy container. The default container you'll get on a devops install
has no SSL certificates. This makes it easy for traffic to get out,
but means we can't replicate some problems that occur when the SSL
validation fails.

To work around this, you'll have to rebuild the mitmdump container. Look in /var/www/current/docker_images/morph-mitmdump; there's a Makefile that will aid in building the new image.

Once that's done, you'll need to build a new version of the openaustralia/buildstep:

  • cd
  • git clone
  • cd buildstep
  • cp /var/www/current/docker_images/morph-mitmdump/mitmproxy/mitmproxy-ca-cert.pem .
  • docker image build -t openaustralia/buildstep:latest .

You should now be able to see in docker image list --all that your new image is ready. The next time you run a scraper it will be rebuilt using the new buildstep image.

How to contribute

If you find what looks like a bug:

  • Check the GitHub issue tracker to see if anyone else has reported issue.
  • If you don't see anything, create an issue with information on how to reproduce it.

If you want to contribute an enhancement or a fix:

  • Fork the project on GitHub.
  • Make your changes with tests.
  • Commit the changes without making changes to any files that aren't related to your enhancement or fix.
  • Send a pull request.

We maintain a list of issues that are easy fixes. Fixing
one of these is a great way to get started while you get familiar with the codebase.

Copyright & License

Copyright OpenAustralia Foundation Limited. Licensed under the Affero GPL. See LICENSE file for more details.