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Application: manuals-publisher

Publishes manuals on GOV.UK


#govuk-platform-health owns the application and is responsible for updating its dependencies.


The production version of this application is hosted on AWS.

SSH Access (AWS)

gds govuk connect ssh -e integration backend
gds govuk connect ssh -e staging aws/backend
gds govuk connect ssh -e production aws/backend

Run a rake task

Relevant manual pages

Example pages published by manuals-publisher


Warning The content below is pulled in directly from the repository.
Links might not function properly.

Manuals Publisher is a Ruby on Rails content management application for the 'manuals' format. The manuals format is currently in a rendered phase of migration, so content is stored in a local datastore but also drafted and published through the publishing-pipeline via the Publishing API.

This is the renamed repository of the original Specialist Publisher. Specialist Publisher has been divided into two publishing applications to accommodate Specialist Documents and Manuals separately. Specialist Document or Finders publishing now lives at See history for more details.


Publishing app for manuals.


  • Manual: Grouped Documents published as a number of sections inside a parent document

Live examples of manuals


Running the application

To run the application in development you will need at least one user in the application database. In a rails console do:

User.create!(name: "My Name", email: "", permissions: ["gds_editor"], organisation_slug: "government-digital-service", organisation_content_id: "af07d5a5-df63-4ddc-9383-6a666845ebe9")

Note: This insert (and the app in general) doesn't work with recent versions of MongoDB. v3.0.12 works OK; v3.4.1 does NOT work due to a problem with the :w => 1 option no longer being supported at the top level, i.e. outside the Write Concern options. It looks as if v2.4.9 is currently being used in production.

Then start the application:

$ ./

If you are using the GDS development virtual machine then the application will be available on the host at

Running the test suite

$ bundle exec rake

Application directory structure

Non standard Rails directories and what they're used for:

  • app/models Combination of Mongoid documents and Ruby objects for handling Documents and various behaviours
    • app/models/validators Not validators. Decorators for providing validation logic.
  • app/presenters Decorators mainly used for previewing documents
  • app/services Reusable classes for completing actions on documents
  • app/view_adapters Provide classes which allow us to have Rails like form objects in views
  • app/workers Classes for sidekiq workers. Currently the only worker in the App is for publishing Manuals as Manual publishing was timing out due to the large number of document objects inside a Manual