Installing Locally on Linux

Is this the best install method for you?

In most cases, we recommend doing an internet-based installation on Heroku instead. If you decide to do a local installation, be sure to read our page on local installations to help you understand what’s going on, particularly this section: Should I use a local installation?

If you just want to quickly set up a copy of Tabbycat to run locally on Linux, we recommend installing using Docker, which is much easier than the process below.

Requisite technical background

You need to be familiar with command-line interfaces to get through this comfortably. While a background in the specific tools (Python, etc.) we use will make things easier for you, it’s not necessary: we’ll talk you through the rest.

Advanced users

Tabbycat is a Django project, so can be installed in any manner that Django projects can normally be installed. For example, if you prefer some SQL system other than PostgreSQL, you can use it so long as it’s Django-compatible. Just be aware that we haven’t tried it.

Short version

curl -sL | sudo -E bash -    # add Node.js source repository
sudo apt-get install python3-dev python3-venv postgresql-9.6 postgresql-server-dev-9.6 nodejs

# either
tar xf v1.4.5.tar.gz
cd tabbycat-1.4.5
# or
git clone
git checkout v1.4.5                                         # or master

sudo -u postgres createuser myusername --pwprompt           # skip if not first time
sudo -u postgres createdb mydatabasename --owner myusername

Then create as described below, then:

python3 -m venv venv
source venv/bin/activate
pip install --upgrade pip
pip install -r requirements_common.txt
npm install
cd tabbycat
dj migrate
dj collectstatic
dj createsuperuser
waitress-serve wsgi:application

1. Install dependencies

First, you need to install all of the software on which Tabbycat depends, if you don’t already have it installed.

Advanced users

These instructions are for Ubuntu 14.04 and higher. If you have another distribution of Linux, we trust you’ll know how to navigate the package manager for your distribution to install the dependencies.

1(a). Python

Tabbycat requires Python 3.4 or later. You probably already have Python 3.4, but you’ll also need the development package in order to install Psycopg2 later. The venv module will come in handy too. Install:

$ sudo apt-get install python3-dev python3-venv

Check the version:

$ python3 --version
Python 3.4.4


Tabbycat does not support Python 2. You must use Python 3.4 or later.

Advanced users

If you prefer, you can use Virtualenv instead of Python’s built-in venv module.

1(b). PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is a database management system.

You’ll need the server-dev package in order to install Psycopg2 later. As per the PostgreSQL installation instructions:

$ sudo apt-get install postgresql-9.6 postgresql-server-dev-9.6

If using Ubuntu <14.10 substitute “postgresql-9.3” for “postgresql-9.6” in the above commands.

1(c). Node.js/NPM

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime.

Tabbycat requires Node and its package manager to compile front-end dependencies. Install using:

$ sudo apt-get install curl
$ curl -sL | sudo -E bash -
$ sudo apt-get install -y nodejs
$ sudo ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node

2. Get the source code

Download and extract:

$ wget
$ tar xf v1.4.5.tar.gz
$ cd tabbycat-1.4.5

If you’ve used Git before, you might prefer to clone our GitHub repository instead:

$ git clone
$ git checkout v1.4.5                              # or master


You might like to fork the repository first, to give yourself a little more freedom to make code changes on the fly (and potentially contribute them to the project).

3. Set up a new database


You can skip step 1 if this is not your first installation. Every Tabbycat installation requires its own database, but they can use the same login role if you like.

  1. Create a new user account with a password, replacing myusername with whatever name you prefer. If you don’t know what username to pick, use tabbycat.
$ sudo -u postgres createuser myusername --pwprompt


If you’ll be running multiple instances of Tabbycat, developing, or diving into the database yourself, you might find it convenient to set up client authentication so that you don’t need to do all manual operations from sudo -u postgres. See the PostgreSQL documentation on client authentication for more information. For example, you could add a local all myusername md5 line to the pg_hba.conf file, or you could define a mapping in pg_ident.conf and append the map= option to the local all all peer line in pg_hba.conf. If you want your new PostgreSQL account to be able to create databases, add --createdb to the above command.

  1. Create a new database, replacing mydatabasename with whatever name you prefer, probably the name of the tournament you’re running:

    $ sudo -u postgres createdb mydatabasename --owner myusername

4. Install Tabbycat

Almost there!

  1. Navigate to your Tabbycat directory:

    $ cd path/to/my/tabbycat/directory
  1. Start a new virtual environment. We suggest the name venv, though it can be any name you like:
$ python3 -m venv venv
  1. Run the activate script. This puts you “into” the virtual environment:

    $ source venv/bin/activate
  2. Install Tabbycat’s requirements into your virtual environment:

    $ pip install --upgrade pip
    $ pip install -r requirements_common.txt
    $ npm install
  3. Navigate to the tabbycat sub folder and copy local_settings.example to Find this part in your new, and fill in the blanks as indicated:

    'default': {
        'ENGINE'  : 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',
        'NAME'    : '',  # put your PostgreSQL database's name in here
        'USER'    : '',  # put your PostgreSQL login role's user name in here
        'PASSWORD': '',  # put your PostgreSQL login role's password in here
        'HOST':     'localhost',
        'PORT':     '5432',
  1. Navigate to the tabbycat sub-directory, initialize the database, compile the assets, and create a user account for yourself:

    $ cd tabbycat
    $ dj migrate
    $ dj collectstatic
    $ dj createsuperuser
  2. Start Tabbycat!

$ waitress-serve wsgi:application

It should show something like this:

serving on
  1. Open your browser and go to the URL printed above. (In the above example, it’s It should look something like the screenshot below. If it does, great! You’ve successfully installed Tabbycat.
Bare Tabbycat installation

Naturally, your database is currently empty, so proceed to importing initial data.

Starting up an existing Tabbycat instance

To start your Tabbycat instance up again next time you use your computer:

$ cd path/to/my/tabbycat/directory
$ source venv/bin/activate
$ cd tabbycat
$ waitress-serve wsgi:application