Installing PECE

PECE is a Free Software-based Drupal distribution, therefore the standard installation procedure for Drupal 7 applies to PECE with a few extra dependencies.

The following instructions have been tested on a Debian 8 (jessie) server, but they are not OS-dependent. PECE should run on any system supported by Drupal 7. PECE has been tested in virtual machines with 256M allocated for PHP, being 128M the recommendated minimum for Drupal 7 distributions. Your configuration, of course, may vary considerably depending on the usage you are making of the platform. Refer to our data management guidelines under the “sustainability” section to learn about the recommendated minimum specs for your servers.

Downloading the Distro

Our distribution is currently being developed on Github. You can obtain the most updated version following the link “Releases” on the project’s git repository:

Alternatively, you can obtain the source code and build the distro yourself if you intend to help our team by fixing bugs and extending the platform for your research purposes:

git clone

If you are a developer who wants to contribute to PECE, you will need to follow special instructions to install and configure the tools for building the distro. Consult the sub-section Setting up the Development Environment below for more information.


PECE has extra dependencies in addition to the ones you will need for Drupal 7 core:

  • cURL
  • php-mcrypt (for AES encryption support in backups and user passwords)
  • php-ssh2 (for backup SFTP support, installed via PHP pear)
  • php-mysql
  • php-xml
  • php-mcrypt
  • php-ssh2
  • php-mbstring
  • libapache2-mod-php
  • php-gd

On a fresh install of Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS, the following single command will install everything needed to run PECE.

sudo apt-get install apache2 php mysql-server php-mysql php-xml php-mcrypt php-ssh2 php-mbstring libapache2-mod-php php-gd

Quick Install

If you have the server backend already set-up, you can quickly install PECE following these steps:

  1. Clone the ‘’pece-distro’’ repostory:
git clone
  1. Create an empty database:

Proceed to the URL in which your Drupal will reside, followed by /install.php, e.g. From there, you can install PECE like any other Drupal site. Follow the official documentation if you need further help. In the section Troubleshooting below we describe common issues users have when trying to install PECE without the proper backend dependencies, configurations, and permissions.

One important note: please, make sure to set the permissions on the filesystem properly. We cannot emphasize this enough. The official Drupal documentation explains how to do so, if you have questions.

If you need to set up the server backend, then roughly, if you are using Apache, the following commands should fully prepare Drupal and PECE. This example is for, which lives in /var/www/html/.

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data pece-distro/
sudo mkdir -p pece-distro/sites/default/files
sudo chmod -R 777 pece-distro/sites/default/files
sudo vi /etc/apache2/apache2.conf
  • Edit AllowOverride None lines to AllowOverride All
cd /etc/apache2/sites-available
sudo cp 000-default.conf worldpece.conf
sudo vi worldpece.conf
  • Add the following:
DocumentRoot /var/www/html/pece-distro
RewriteEngine On
RewriteOptions inherit
  • Then teach Apache about the new site.
sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo a2ensite worldpece
sudo vi /etc/php/7.0/apache2/php.ini
  • Edit 128M to 256M
sudo service apache2 reload
sudo service apache2 restart

Setting up the Development Environment

PECE development is currently being conducted on Github, but we are planning to move to soon. To get started, you need to clone the development repository:

git clone

This repository contains the source files for PECE in the src directory, which has basically everything you need from us to extend, build, deploy the current version of the distro. But, after cloning the repo, you are not done quite yet… you need to install and configure the development environment dependencies, following the steps we describe below.

PECE development is made easy by using the following software projects:

Keep in mind that these are prerequisites for the development environment of the PECE project, not for the production software. In other words, you will not need to follow these instructions if you are only interested in installing and running PECE, even though Drush and Kraftwagen are useful tools for managing and updating any Drupal site.

Installing Node.js

We strongly suggest the usage of nvm to install Node.js on your development machine. You must have Node.js version 4.x.x and npm version 3.x.x, at least.

  1. To install nvm run the following on you terminal:
curl -o- | bash

After doing so, you will probably have to open a new terminal to have nvm available as a command. Visit nvm’s official installation guide if you have further questions.

  1. To install Node.js version 4.x.x run the following on you terminal:
nvm install 4.x.x
nvm use 4.x.x

Alternatively, you can first clone this repository, change to it’s directory, and run nvm install. The file .nvmrc will inform nvm which version of Node.js it should install and automatically set it as currently version to use.

3. To install the required version of npm you must run the following on your terminal:

npm install -g npm@3.x.x

To check if everything went smoothly, run the following on your terminal:

node --version # should echo a number starting with 4
npm --version # should echo a number starting with 3

Installing Gulp

Even though Gulp is not a hard requirement for installing PECE’s development version, it is currently the main tool for running common tasks which are inconvenient if not automated. We strongly suggest for you to install it to help the installation process and avoid mistakes. Keep in mind that the following guide will use Gulp. Consider taking a look at the full list of the available tasks under gulp/tasks/

Gulp is a Node.js package that provides an executable, and can be easily installed with the following command:

npm install -g gulp

After running the command, gulp should be available in your terminal. If you find any trouble, please refer to Gulp’s official installation guide.

Installing Drush

Drush is an amazing tool. Even if you are not interested in helping to develop PECE, we highly recommend the installation of it for regular maintanence tasks of your Drupal instance.

To properly install, Drush please follow the official installation guide.

Installing Kraftwagen

Kraftwagen provides an official installation guide. Currently, we use a forked version of the project. You can still follow the instructions on the official installation guide, but the git clone should come from Taller’s fork, using the local_workflow_improvements branch.

These are the steps to install kw using the terminal:

  1. Move to Drush install directory.
cd ~/.drush
  1. Clone Taller’s forked version of Kraftwagen.
git clone -b local_workflow_improvements --single-branch git://
  1. Let Drush know you’ve installed a new module.
drush cc drush

Using Kraftwagen is an important part of the build process. Please make sure you understand its concepts before proceding to the next steps.

Installing Development Dependencies

PECE dependends on various Node.js packages, which help to build PECE, plus Bower packages, which are used for front-end libraries. To install all these dependencies you can run the following:

npm install

After installing Node.js dependencies, npm will automatically perform Bower install.

Buidling PECE

Kraftwagen, the tool behind PECE’s building system, relies on the concept of different environments upon building. The two available environments are:

  • Production
  • Development

During the installation process, the environment set-up will be responsible for enabling/disabling specific modules. Furthermore, using the development environment will also cause for the directory structure to use the src directory linked to pece Drupal profile, inside Drupal’s root directory. In practical terms, this means that you can actively engage development using this directory without having to build everytime you change something. This technique was introduced as a pull-request to the Kraftwagen project.

Kraftwagen provides many commands through the drush interface. We encapsulate some of them inside gulp tasks with the intent to make building and configuring easier.

  1. Setup the Kraftwagen workspace:
gulp setup

You’ll then be prompted to define the environment (defaults to production) and the posterior database configuration.

The database configuration provided here is only used to connect to the database, not to create it. Before proceeding with the install you should make sure you create the database and make it properly available via the settings provided on this step.

  1. Download Drupal and its contributed modules:
gulp build
  1. Configure the Web Server

Now you should have the directory build already created as Drupal’s root directory. You should then just go ahead and configure Apache, Nginx, or whichever HTTP server you find best. Remember to point the site’s root directory to the build directory, not to the cloned repository’s root.

PECE is media-intensive, which means it will demand serving large binary files from your server. For this reason, we recommend using Nginx and php5-fpm with specific customizations to serve files much faster to your users. Configuring Nginx is out of the scope of this document, but there is plenty of information on it. If you want to use the configuration we recommend, copy and customize the config files from Perusio’s instructions according to your specific back-end set-up.

  1. Installing Drupal

There are currently two methods for installing PECE: via command-line or using the browser.

4.1 Using the Browser

In your browser, access the URL /install.php preceded by the domain serving the site. The install process is self-explanatory. Keep in mind it takes a while to finish (up to 30 minutes on low-end server configurations).

4.2 Using the Command Line

There is a one-command install available through Gulp. Keep in mind that this will erase any currently available data on the database configured in the step

To proceed, run the following:

gulp site-install

If the user running the Gulp task differs from the user running the server, you will need to redo step 3 to make sure proper permissions to manage files are set-up.

  1. Adding Demo Content

This is useful for testing purposes, therefore this is an optional step. PECE comes with a script to add some testing content. To execute it, run:

gulp demo

Alternatively, you can execute it in your browser by accessing Configuration > Development > PECE Demo (or /admin/config/development/pece/demo). This path will only be available if you configure the environment to development or if you enable the pece_demo module.

Post-Install Instructions

OK, so now you have your PECE instance up and running, but you are not yet done! There are specific configurations you need to do using the admin interface. Further configuration is needed because these are specific settings for each PECE installation and use-case.

0. Basic site info: first things first, you need to provide the basic information about your site before you go live. Go to “Administration » Configuration » System » Site information” and fill out the information about your site name, the basic admin password, contact, timezone and other relevant info.

1. Customizing the PECE theme: we will make this easier for you in the near future, but for now you have to change the the file logo.png under profiles/pece/themes/pece_scholarly_lite/logo.png and tweak the main CSS file to change the basic colors of the PECE theme.

2. Uploading your “Terms of Service”: go to “Administration » Configuration » People » Legal” and click “Add T&C”, then fill-out the boxes with your custom text to be displayed to every user who requests an account on the system. You may ask: why is there not a default “Terms of Service”? Because… the text really depends on the way you are using PECE, so our legal documents won’t not suit your case, you need to craft your own text according to the usage you are making of PECE. We are not (cannot and should not be) responsible for any use authorized researchers or any other person make of the platform. Please, refer to our section on “Legal Documents” for more information about the software licenses we use for the PECE project (and for the Free Software technology we use from the Drupal project).

3. Setting up AES: it is very important that you generate, secure, and use your own encryption keys. To config AES, go to: “Administration » Configuration » System » AES settings”. Make sure to point to a secure directory outside the webroot where PECE is installed to store your key and make it read-only (to the owner of the httpd service), instead of having it stored in the database (which tends to be a much less secure option).

4. PECE comes pre-shipped with Amber, so if you have an account on you can set PECE up to use it an store your snapshots there. This is the way to go when it comes to long-term preservation of content for scholarly purposes. Go to “Administration » Configuration » Content authoring » Amber” and select “” as alternate backend and provide your API key in the text field below. Done! You are storing “PECE Website” link artifacts, hopefully, for many future anthropological lives and times now.

5. Backup: as explained in our data management guidelines, PECE is configured to automatically generate backups. You should, however, revise the settings and set-up a SFTP connection to transfer your backup to another server and ensure that you have extra security when storing your encrypted backups. First, revise the settings we provided, changing whatever you think is needed (say, the most convenient time, when the site is not being used, to generate the backup). Go to “Configuration » System » Backup and Migrate” to perform this first step. Then, click on “Destinations” and “Add Destination” to set-up the SFTP connection with the credentials of your backup server. Please note that you have to use the port 22 (not 21) and password authentication, since ssh-key authentication is unfortunately not supported yet.

6. System Notification: PECE uses Drupal notification for key events on the system. It has to be configured using a regular email address, provided you have all the mail server information. You just need your SMTP server info and credentials to get this done. Go to “Administration » Configuration » System » SMTP Authentication Support” and provide your STMP server information, including username and password. Voilà! System notifications are now working for everyone as described in your data management section on “Notifications”.

7. User Roles: we provide a basic permission system based on 2 user roles: Researcher and Colaborator. If you need other user roles, you might need to extend the module pece_access which is shipped with the distro to reflect the changes. By default, there is only one administrator. This is a security configuration: to have a more secure system, you do not want to give admin powers to regular users, so that when one regular user account is compromised, the whole system and users’ data gets compromised in the process. Not good…

  1. Configuring Zotero: Navigate to /admin/modules, and turn on modules the Feed Admin UI and Feeds Importer. Flush all caches. Navigate to admin/structure/feeds/zotero_feed. To the right under, Zotero Process, select Settings to configure the Zotero Importer module. Most settings here can remain the same. However, we encourage you to:
  • Under “Update Existing Nodes,” change “Do Not Update Existing Nodes” to “Update Existing Nodes.” This way if you update an entry in Zotero, it will also be updated in the platform on the next feed import
  • Under “Sync zotero tags to a term reference field in the biblio content type?” change “yes” to “no.” Often Zotero entries are added to the library with chaotic tagging schemes. Checking “no” here will ensure those schemas don’t get added to the PECE tag library.
  • Save.


Common issues post-installation include:

  • “Time Out” during installation: this issue is related to the usage of Drupal distributions in “shared hosting” environments which are very limited in terms of the resources allocated per client / user account. If the installation process is interrupted before it is finished, you will have to check your PHP configuration and increase the memory allocation and timeout configuration for the php scripts with the following directives: memory_limit and max_execution_time which can be found in your php.ini file. After doing so, you should not experience more “timeouts” during installation.
  • Links do not work: your webserver is not properly configured to support what is called “Clean URLs” on Drupal. Make sure you have your httpd “rewrite” rules properly set-up. This configuration can be done in the vhost file of your nginx configuration, following the Perusio guide or using the default.htaccess file that is provided by default by Drupal if you are running Apache.
  • Permission denied when uploading content: your filesystem permissions must be set accordingly for the public and private directories, since PECE uses both extensively. Follow this official Drupal tutorial to configure the permissions properly for both directories where you installed PECE.
  • Permission denied when uploading content after configuring filesystem permissions: make sure your /tmp is also writable and, if you are on a shared host and cannot have access to it, configure Drupal to point to a temporary directory in your system/files path. There is a discussion about this issue on that is helpful.
  • Cannot create users, server internal error: in our experience, php5-mcrypt is probably not installed in your system. Make sure it is properly installed andloaded, by running php -m in a shell and checking if it is listed.

Further Information

For further information on the Drupal installation process, please read the official Drupal documentation.

PECE version 1.0 does not yet have a pre-configured virtual machine image distribution. It is in our plans to prepare one to make the lives of our colleagues in the humanities and social sciences easier. Visit the Contributors Guide page to learn how you can contribute to the project!