Enabling App Development

1. Enable App Development Mode in Dashboard

Enable App Development Mode in the Dashboard in three ways:

A. Enable your own account by creating the sandbox directory

Each user can by default enable app development by creating the directory that holds the sandbox apps. In a Shell session, create the dev directory in your home directory:

mkdir -p ~/ondemand/dev

Then reload OnDemand dashboard to see the Develop dropdown appear. Note: this will work only if the administrator has not configured the dashboard to enable or disable app development in the dashboard.

B. Enable for every user using environment variable

In the root of the dashboard app, add these contents to a file .env.local:


If this env var is present, Configuration.app_development_enabled will be set to true, and the Develop dropdown will appear.

C. Enable for specific users using custom initializer

Create a custom initializer file for the Dashboard app at:


Add whatever Ruby code you want to set the Configuration.app_development_enabled flag. This code will run as the user. This code also has access to the ood_support library in which we provide some helper classes to work with User’s and Groups.

If you want to restrict displaying the Develop dropdown to a list of users, you can do this:

Configuration.app_development_enabled = %w(
  bgohar efranz bmcmichael

If you want to restrict app development mode to group membership, you could do this:

Configuration.app_development_enabled = OodSupport::Process.groups.include?(
  OodSupport::Group.new(name: "devgrp")

Or if you know the id of the group, this will avoid reading the /etc/group file:

Configuration.app_development_enabled = Process.groups.include?(5014)

2. Specify Development Shell Host

When developing apps, you will eventually need to access the shell. It may be necessary to have shell access to a host that has the same SCL packages that OnDemand provides.

The developer app detail views provide a convenient “Shell” button to open a Shell with the starting directory to be the directory of the application.

If the host with these SCL packages is different from the default host for the OOD shell app, you can specify this host by setting OOD_DEV_SSH_HOST environment variable.

For example, at OSC we have provisioned a development host at apps-test.awesim.org that developers can ssh to, which has a version of OnDemand running and therefore has all the SCL packages installed. That host is apps-test.awesim.org so we set in the .env.local file OOD_DEV_SSH_HOST="apps-test.awesim.org".