Installing h in a development environment

The code for the web service and API lives in a Git repo named h. This page will walk you through getting this code running in a local development environment.

See also

This page documents how to setup a development install of h. For installing the Hypothesis client for development see, and for the browser extension see

To get “direct” or “in context” links working you need to install Bouncer and Via. See and

You will need

Before installing your local development environment you’ll need to install each of these prerequisites:

Clone the Git repo

git clone

This will download the code into an h directory in your current working directory. You need to be in the h directory from the remainder of the installation process:

cd h

Run the services with Docker Compose

Start the services that h requires using Docker Compose:

make services

You’ll now have some Docker containers running the PostgreSQL, RabbitMQ, and Elasticsearch services. You should be able to see them by running docker-compose ps. You should also be able to visit your Elasticsearch service by opening http://localhost:9200/ in a browser, and connect to your PostgreSQL by running make sql.

Use pyenv to install Python and tox

Install Python 2.7 and 3.6 in pyenv and install tox in each:

pyenv install 2.7.16
pyenv install 3.6.8
pyenv shell 2.7.16
pip install tox>=3.8.0
pyenv shell 3.6.8
pip install tox>=3.8.0
pyenv shell --unset

Start the development server

make dev

The first time you run make dev it might take a while to start because it’ll need to install the application dependencies and build the client assets.

This will start the server on port 5000 (http://localhost:5000), reload the application whenever changes are made to the source code, and restart it should it crash for some reason.


Cannot connect to the Docker daemon

If you get an error that looks like this when trying to run docker commands:

Cannot connect to the Docker daemon. Is the docker daemon running on this host?
Error: failed to start containers: postgres

it could be because you don’t have permission to access the Unix socket that the docker daemon is bound to. On some operating systems (e.g. Linux) you need to either:

  • Take additional steps during Docker installation to give your Unix user access to the Docker daemon’s port (consult the installation instructions for your operating system on the Docker website), or
  • Prefix all docker and docker-compose commands with sudo.

pyenv errors on macOS

pyenv install commands might fail on macOS with error messages such as:

  • “symbol(s) not found for architecture x86_64”
  • “ERROR: The Python zlib extension was not compiled. Missing the zlib?”

Read pyenv’s Common Build Problems page for the solutions to these.