leap_web user management application and provider API.


The service webapp will install the web application leap_web. It has performs the following functions:

  • REST API for user registration and authentication via the Bitmask client.
  • Admin interface to manage users.
  • Client certificate distribution and renewal.
  • User support help tickets.

Coming soon:

  • Billing.
  • Customizable and localized user documentation.

The leap_web application is written in Ruby on Rails 3, using CouchDB as the backend data store.


Currently, the platform only supports a single webapp node, although we hope to change this in the future.

  • webapp nodes communicate heavily with couchdb nodes, but the two can be on separate servers.
  • The monitor service, if enabled, must be on the same node as webapp.


Essential options:

  • webapp.admin: An array of usernames that will be blessed with administrative permissions. These admins can delete users, answer help tickets, and so on. These usernames are for users that have registered through the webapp or through the Bitmask client application, NOT the sysadmin usernames lists in the provider directory users.

Other options:

  • webapp.engines: A list of the engines you want enabled in leap_web. Currently, only “support” is available, and it is enabled by default.
  • webapp.invite_required: If true, registration requires an invite code. Default is false.

For example, services/webapp.json:

  "webapp": {
    "admins": ["joehill", "ali", "mack_the_turtle"]

By putting this in services/webapp.json, all the webapp nodes will inherit the same admin list.

There are many options in provider.json that also control how the webapp behaves. See Provider Configuration for details.

Invite codes

Enabling the invite code functionality will require new users to provide a valid invite code while signing up for a new account. This is turned off by default, allowing all new users to create an account.

Set the invite_code option to true in services/webapp.json:

  "webapp": {
    "invite_required": true

This only works with LEAP platform 0.8 or higher.

Run leap deploy to enable the option.

You can then generate invite codes by logging into the web application with an admin user.

Alternately, you can also generate invite codes with the command line:

workstation$ leap ssh bumblebee
bumblebee# cd /srv/leap/webapp/
bumblebee# sudo -u leap-webapp RAILS_ENV=production bundle exec rake "generate_invites[NUM,USES]"

Where bumblebee should be replaced with the name of your webapp node.

The NUM specifies the amount of codes to generate. The USES parameter is optional: By default, all new invite codes can be used once and will then become invalid. If you provide another value for USES, you can set a different amount of maximum uses for the codes you generate.


The provider directory files/webapp can be used to customize the appearance of the webapp. All the files in this directory will get sync'ed to the /srv/leap/webapp/config/customization directory of the deployed webapp node.

Files in the files/webapp can override view files, locales, and stylesheets in the leap_web app:

For example:

stylesheets/ -- override files in Rails.root/app/assets/stylesheets
  tail.scss -- included before all others
  head.scss -- included after all others

public/ -- overrides files in Rails.root/public
  favicon.ico -- custom favicon
  img/ -- customary directory to put images in

views/ -- overrides files Rails.root/app/views
    index.html.haml -- this file is what shows up on
                       the home page
    privacy-policy.en.md -- this file will override
                            the default privacy policy
    terms-of-service.en.md -- this file will override
                              the default TOS.

locales/ -- overrides files in Rails.root/config/locales
  en.yml -- overrides for English
  de.yml -- overrides for German
  and so on...

To interactively develop your customizations before you deploy them, you have two options:

  1. Edit a webapp node. This approach involves directly modifying the contents of the directory /srv/leap/webapp/config/customization on a deployed webapp node. This can, and probably should be, a “local” node. When doing this, you may need to restart leap_web in order for changes to take effect (touch /srv/leap/webapp/tmp/restart.txt).
  2. Alternately, you can install leap_web to run on your computer and edit files in config/customization locally. This approach does not require a provider or a webapp node. For more information, see the leap_web README.

NOTE: If you add a tails.scss or head.scss file, then you usually need to run rake tmp:clear and restart rails in order for the new stylesheet to get recognized. You should only need to do this once.

Once you have what you want, then copy these files to the local provider directory files/webapp so that they will be installed each time you deploy.

Customization tutorial

This mini-tutorial will walk you through creating a custom “branding” of the leap_web application. We will be creating a provider called “Prehistoric Computer.”

Here are the files we are going to create:

├── locales
│   ├── en.yml
│   └── es.yml
├── public
│   ├── favicon.ico
│   └── img
│       └── masthead.png
├── stylesheets
│   └── tail.scss
└── views
    └── pages
        ├── privacy-policy.en.md
        └── privacy-policy.es.md

All these files are available in the source code in the customization.example directory.

Remember, these files may live different places:

  • user@localmachine$ leap_web/config/customization: This will be the path if you have checked out a local copy of leap_web.git and are running rails server locally in order to test your customizations.
  • user@localmachine$ PROVIDER/files/webapp: This is the local provider directory where the files should be put so that they get correctly deployed to webapp nodes.
  • root@webappnode# /srv/leap/webapp/config/customization: This is where the files in the local provider directory PROVIDER/files/webapp get copied to after a leap deploy to a live webapp nodes.

Override translations

You can add additional locale files in order to change the text used in the existing application and to add translations for string that you added to the application.

In this example, we will be altering the default text for the “login_info” string. In config/locales/en/home.en.yml there is this entry:

  login_info: "Log in to change your account settings, create support tickets, and manage payments."

We are going to override this with some custom text in English and Spanish:


  login_info: Authenticate to change your "Prehistoric Computer" settings.


  login_info: Autenticar a cambiar la configuración de "Computer Prehistoria."

Now, the home page of leap_web will use these new strings instead of the default. Remember that you must restart rails in order for new locale files to take effect.

Override static pages

You can also override any of the static files included with leap_web, such as the privacy policy or terms of service.

Here is how we would create a custom privacy policy in English and Spanish:


# Custom Privacy Policy
This is our privacy policy.


# Custom Política de Privacidad
Esta es nuestra política de privacidad.

Add a custom header

Now we will add a custom header to every page. First, we add the images:

    ├── public
        ├── favicon.ico
        └── img
            └── masthead.png

You can create your own, or use the example files in https://github.com/leapcode/leap_web/tree/develop/config/customization.example

Now, we add some custom CSS so that we can style the masthead:


$custom-color: #66bbaa;

a {
  color: $custom-color;


#masthead {
  background-color: $custom-color;
  border-bottom: none;

  // make the masthead clickable by replacing the
  // site name link with the masthead image:
  .title {
    padding: 0px;
    .sitename a {
      display: block;
      background: url(/img/masthead.png) 0 0 no-repeat;
      font-size: 0px;
      height: 100px;
      background-size: auto 100px;

// make the home page masthead slightly larger
body.home #masthead {
  .sitename a {
    height: 150px;
    background-size: auto 150px;


#footer .links {
  background-color: $custom-color;

NOTE: If you add a tails.scss or head.scss file, then you usually need to run rake tmp:clear and restart rails in order for the new stylesheet to get recognized. You should only need to do this once.

Custom Fork

Sometimes it is easier to maintain your own fork of the leap_web app. You can keep your customizations in that fork instead of in the provider files/webapp directory. Or, perhaps you want to add an engine to the application that modifies the app’s behavior.

To deploy your own leap_web, modify the provider file common.json:

  "sources": {
    "webapp": {
      "revision": "origin/develop",
      "source": "https://github.com/leapcode/leap_web",
      "type": "git"

To target only particular environment, modify instead common.ENV.json, where ENV is the name of the environment.

See https://github.com/leapcode/leap_web/blob/develop/doc/DEVELOP.md for notes on getting started hacking on leap_web.

Maintenance mode

You can put the webapp into maintenance mode by simply dropping a html file to /srv/leap/webapp/public/system/maintenance.html. For example:

workstation$ leap ssh webappnode
server# echo "Temporarily down for maintenance. We will be back soon." > /srv/leap/webapp/public/system/maintenance.html

Known problems

  • Client certificates are generated without a CSR. The problem is that this makes the web application extremely vulnerable to denial of service attacks. This was not an issue until we started to allow the possibility of anonymously fetching a client certificate without authenticating first.
  • By its very nature, the user database is vulnerable to enumeration attacks. These are very hard to prevent, because our protocol is designed to allow query of a user database via proxy in order to provide network perspective.