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Published: Jun 9, 2015 License: BSD-3-Clause Imports: 21 Imported by: 0


crawld: a data crawler and repositories fetcher

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crawld is a metadata crawler and source code repository fetcher. Hence, crawld comprises two different parts: the crawlers and the fetcher.


crawld focuses on crawling repositories metadata and those of the users that contributed, or are directly related, to the repositories from code sharing platforms such as GitHub.

Only a GitHub crawler is currently implemented. However, the architecture of crawld has been designed in a way such that new crawlers (for instance a BitBucket crawler) can be added without hassle.

All of the collected metadata is stored into a PostgreSQL database. As crawld is designed to be able to crawl several code sharing platforms, common information is stored in two tables: users and repositories. For the rest of the information, specific tables are created (gh_repositories, gh_users and gh_organizations for now) and relations are established with the users and repositories tables.

The table below gives information about what is collected. Bear in mind that some information might be incomplete (for instance, if a user does not provide any company information).

Repository GitHub Repository User GitHub User GitHub Organization
Name GitHub ID Username GitHub ID GitHub ID
Primary language Full name Name Login Login
Clone URL Description Email Bio Avatar URL
Homepage Blog HTML URL
Fork Company Name
Default branch Email Company
Master branch Hireable Blog
HTML URL Location Location
Forks count Avatar URL Email
Open issues count HTML URL Collaborators count
Stargazers count Followers count Creation date
Subscribers count Following count Update date
Watchers count Collaborators count
Size Creation date
Creation date Update date
Update date
Last push date


Aside from crawling metadata, crawld is able to clone and update repositories, using their clone URL stored into the database.

Cloning and updating can be done regardless of the source code management system in use (git, mercurial, svn, ...), however only a git fetcher is currently implemented.

As source code repositories usually contain a lot of files, crawld has an option that allows storing source code repositories as tar archives which makes things easier for the file system shall you clone a huge number of repositories.


crawld uses git2go, a ligit2 Go binding for its git operations. Hence, libgit2 needs to be installed on your system unless you statically compile it with the git2go package.

To install crawld, run this command in a terminal, assuming Go is installed:

go get

Or you can download a binary for your platform from the DevMine project's downloads page.

You also need to setup a PostgreSQL database. Look at the README file in the db sub-folder for details.

Usage and configuration

Copy crawld.conf.sample to crawld.conf and edit it according to your needs. The configuration file has several sections:

  • database: allows you to configure access to your PostgreSQL database.
    • hostname: hostname of the machine.
    • port: PostgreSQL port.
    • username: PostgreSQL user that has access to the database.
    • password: password of the database user.
    • dbname: database name.
    • ssl_mode: takes any of these 4 values: "disable", "require", "verify-ca", "verify-null". Refer to PostgreSQL documentation for details.
  • clone_dir: specify where you would like to clone the repositories.
  • crawling_time_interval: specify the waiting time between 2 full crawling periods. This is irrelevant for the crawlers where no limit is specified.
  • fetch_time_interval: specify the waiting time between 2 full repositories cloning/updating periods. You shall preferably choose a small time period here since the repositories fetcher cannot usually keep up with the crawlers and you likely want it to update/clone the repositories continuously.
  • fetch_languages: specify the list of languages the fetcher shall restrict to. If left empty, all languages are considered.
  • tar_repositories: a boolean value indicating whether the repositories shall be stored as tar archives or not.
  • tmp_dir: specify a temporary working directory. If left empty, the default temporary directory will be used. This directory is used on clone and update operations when the tar_repositories option is activated. It is recommended to use a ramdisk for increased performance.
  • tmp_dir_file_size_limit: specify the maximum size in GB of an object to be temporarily placed in tmp_dir for processing. Files of size larger than this value will not be processed in tmp_dir.
  • max_fetcher_workers: specify the maximum number of workers to use for the fetching task. It defaults to 1 but if your machine has good I/O throughput and a good CPU, you probably want to increase this conservative value for performance reasons. Note that fetching is I/O and networked bound more than CPU bound and hence you probably do not want to increase this value too much.
  • throttler_wait_time: indicates how much time to wait, in seconds, before resuming normal operation after throttling.
  • throttler_sliding_window_size: represents the size of the sliding window used by the error rate throttler. If you have no idea about what that means, it is safe to omit it since default value shall be sane.
  • throttler_leak_interval: specify the time to wait, in milliseconds, before taking off a unit from the sliding window. Again, if you have no idea about what that means, it is safe to omit it since default value shall be sane.
  • crawlers: allows you to configure options for the crawlers.
    • type: specify crawler type. Currently, only "github" is implemented.
    • languages: list of programming languages of the repositories you are interested into. All languages used in a repository are considered and not only the primary language.
    • limit: set this value to 0 to not use a limit. Otherwise, crawling will stop when "limit" repositories have been fetched. Note that the behavior is slightly different whether you use the search API or not. When you use the search API, this limit correspond to the number of repositories to crawl per language listed in "languages" . When you do not use the search API, this is a global limit, regardless of the language.
    • since_id: corresponds to the repository ID (eg: GitHub repository ID in the case of the github crawler) from which to start querying repositories. Note that this value is ignored when using the search API.
    • fork: skip fork repositories if set to false.
    • oauth_access_token: your API token. If not provided, crawld will work but the number of API call is usually limited to a low number. For instance, in the case of the GitHub crawler, unauthenticated requests are limited to 60 per hour where authenticated requests goes up to 5000 per hour.
    • use_search_api: specify whether you want to use the search API or not. Bear in mind that results returned via the search API are usually limited so you probably not want this option set to true usually. In the case of the GitHub crawler, when set to true, the limit is 1000 results per search. This means that you will get at most the 1000 most popular projects (in terms of stars count) per language listed in "languages".

Once the configuration file has been adjusted, you are ready to run crawld. You need to specify the path to the configuration file with the help of the -c option. Example:

crawld -c crawld.conf

Some command line options are also available, mainly where to store log files and whether to disable the data crawlers or repositories fetcher (by default, the crawlers and the fetcher run in parallel). See crawld -h for more information.


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Path Synopsis
Package config takes care of the configuration file parsing.
Package config takes care of the configuration file parsing.
Package crawlers provides crawlers for gathering source code repository information.
Package crawlers provides crawlers for gathering source code repository information.
Package errbag implements an error rate based throttler.
Package errbag implements an error rate based throttler.
Package repo defines a generic interface for Version Control Systems (VCS).
Package repo defines a generic interface for Version Control Systems (VCS).
Package tar provides functions to create or extract tar archives.
Package tar provides functions to create or extract tar archives.

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