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Introduction and Basics


Following architecture diagram shows a Trubudget network with 3 standard nodes from 3 different Organizations. A standard node is a Trubudget node with minimal components to function. Organizations can decide which additional Trubudget features they want to add or if they want to connect their own system via Trubudget's api.


Environment variables#

All installation and user guides have one thing in common: They all use environment variables to customize the setup of TruBudget. To get started, you should know about the environment variables, their purpose and how to set them.

Setting environment variables#

Environment variables need to be set via the command line. Usually, they are only valid for the active session, i.e. if you close the terminal window in which you have set the environment variable and then open a new command line window, the value of the environment variable is lost.

Setting an environment variable requires different commands in Linux/OS X and Windows:

export VARIABLE="value" (Linux / OS X)set VARIABLE="value" (Windows)

To check the value of a given variable, run the following command:

echo $VARIABLE (Linux / OS X)echo %VARIABLE% (Windows)

In this case we assume you use the standard command line tool for Linux/OS X (which is Bash) and Windows (which is CMD).

Another option to set environment variables is to use a .env file in the directory where the start command is executed. Trubudget provides a default example .env_example file which has to be renamed to .env if it should be used.

Environment Variables in TruBudget#

The following environment variables are used for a minimal Trubudget installation. An .env_example file is provided in the root folder of Trubudget and can be used by renaming it to .env These environment variables are described for the minimal set of a Trubudget deployment(frontend/api/blockchain) plus provisioning and docker-compose. The provisioning project create a bunch of test data via api-requests on the configured node. The docker-compose environment variables are only important if the deployment is done via a docker-compose file provided by the Trubudget repository. Environment Varaibles of other projects that are required to enable optional features can be found in the particular project's README:

  • Excel-Export

  • Email-Notifications

    The Used by section describes which projects are using the environment variable. Following shortcuts are used:

Env VariableRequiredDefault ValueUsed byDescription
ORGANIZATIONyes-bc/apiIn the blockchain network, each node is represented by its organization name. This environment variable sets this organization name. It is used to create the organization stream on the blockchain and is also displayed in the frontend's top right corner.
ORGANIZATION_VAULT_SECRETyes-apiThis is the key to en-/decrypt user data of an organization. If you want to add a new node for your organization, you want users to be able to log in on either node. Make sure that the api connected to the new node has the same organization vault secret.
Caution: If you want to run TruBudget in production,make sure NOT to use the default value from the .env_example file!
API_HOSTnobc/provThe IP address of one api which is connected to the node you want to connect to (The IP addresses are usually the same as for the P2P host address).
API_PORTno8080bc/provThe port used to connect to the api.
JWT_SECRETno[random]api/bcA string that is used to sign JWT which are created by the authenticate endpoint of the api
P2P_HOSTnobcThe IP address of the blockchain node you want to connect to.
P2P_PORTno7447bcThe port on which the node you want to connect to has exposed the blockchain.
PORTno8080apiThe port used to expose the API for your installation. Example: If you run TruBudget locally and set API_PORT to 8080, you can reach the API via localhost:8080/api.
ROOT_SECRETno[random]apiThe root secret is the password for the root user. If you start with an empty blockchain, the root user is needed to add other users, approve new nodes,.. If you don't set a value via the environment variable, the API generates one randomly and prints it to the console
Caution: If you want to run TruBudget in production, make sure to set a secure root secret.
RPC_PASSWORDno[hardcoded]api/bcPassword used by the API to connect to the blockchain. The password is set by the origin node upon start. Every slave node needs to use the same RPC password in order to be able to connect to the blockchain.
Hint: Although the RPC_PASSWORD is not required it is highly recommended to set an own secure one
RPC_PORTno8000api/bcThe port used to expose the multichain daemon of your Trubudget blockchain installation(bc). The port used to connect to the multichain daemon(api). This will be used internally for the communication between the API and the multichain daemon.
RPC_USERnomultichainrpcapi/bcThe user used to connect to the multichain daemon.
EXTERNAL_IPnobcThe IP address with which the current node can be reached. Example: If you have a VM running on and you want to start a slave node from this VM to connect to a master running on, you set the EXTERNAL_IP to on this node.
ACCESS_CONTROL_ALLOW_ORIGINno"*"bcThis environment variable is needed for the feature "Export to Excel". Since the export service uses CORS, the domain by which it can be called needs to be set. Setting this value to "*" means that it can be called from any domain. Read more about this topic here.
LOG_LEVELnoINFOapi/bcSets the lowest level to the pino logger that is printed to STDOUT with varying levels ranging from trace to fatal.
MULTICHAIN_DIRno/rootbcThe path to the multichain folder where the blockchain data is persisted. For installations via docker-compose, this refers to the path within the docker container of the blockchain. For bare metal installations, this refers to the path on the machine the blockchain is running on.
PRETTY_PRINTnotrueapi/bcDecides whether the logs printed by the API are pretty printed or not. Pretty printed logs are easier to read while non-pretty printed logs are easier to store and use e.g. in the ELK (Elasticsearch-Logstash-Kabana) stack.
SWAGGER_BASEPATH deprecatedno/apiThis variable was used to choose which environment (prod or test) is used for testing the requests. The variable is deprecated now, as the Swagger documentation can be used for the prod and test environment separately.
TAGnomasterdcThe tag defines the version of the image that is pulled from the docker hub.
NODE_ENVnouiIf set to development search Trubudget's external services on localhost. If set to production disable Redux devtools extension
REACT_APP_VERSIONnouiInjected version via $npm_package_version in.env file to ensure the version is shown in the frontend


Env VariableRequiredDefault ValueUsed byDescription
EXPOSE_MCnofalsebcIf set to true Trubudget tries to expose it's multichain via kubernetes' ingress. First a kubernetes config file is searched in /.kube/config. If not found and the MC is deployed in a cluster, it is searching for the service account to get the information. After configuration the externalip arg is set to the ip of the service' ingress of the configured clusterSERVICE_NAME and NAMESPACE are required to access the ingress of the service.
SERVICE_NAMEnobcThis variable is only required if EXPOSE_MC is set to true. It defines which service the kubernetes client should search for in the configured kubernetes cluster
NAMESPACEnobcThis variable is only required if EXPOSE_MC is set to true. It defines in which namespace the kubernetes client should search for the given service

Organizations and Nodes in TruBudget#

One of the terms used most in TruBudget is organization. This section describes what organizations are in the context of TruBudget and how they interact with each other.

An organization is a stakeholder in the funding process (e.g. Ministry of X). TruBudget is designed to connect multiple organizations together. Each organization creates their own users. Each user is associated to exactly one organization and can only login to nodes of that organization.

An organization can run one or more nodes. Each organization has exactly one wallet that can be used to vote when granting or revoking permissions to other wallet addresses, which is key to preventing a 51%-attack against the network. This means that even if one organization has multiple nodes, it gets only one vote for adding new organizations to the network.

Each organization has one shared key to en-/decrypt the user data, which is set in via the ORGANIZATION_VAULT_SECRET. Every node of one organization needs to use the same key. If one node of an organization uses the same organization name, but a different organization vault secret, users created on other nodes cannot login on this faulty node, even though the name of the organization is the same.

Let's look at this using some examples.#

Two organizations: OrgaA (origin node), OrgaB (connecting to Organization A), Each with one Node#

OrgaA starts a new origin node (i.e. a new, empty blockchain) and creates a new user called Alice. At this point, OrgaA has 100% voting power in the network since it is the only node. OrgaB then connects to OrgaA's node. After OrgaA approves the addition of a new node, OrgaB synchronizes the data and creates a new user called Bob. Alice and Bob can now both see the complete user list of the network (i.e. Alice and Bob), but Alice cannot login on OrgaB's node and Bob cannot login on OrgaA's node since they don't have the same ORGANIZATION_VAULT_SECRET. Each of the organizations now holds 50% of the voting power in the network.

Two organizations: Additional Node#

OrgaA has employees in another location and decides to add another node on a server on this location. OrgaA then creates a new node with the same name and ORGANIZATION_VAULT_SECRET. The request for a new node of an existing organization pops up in the frontend for both organizations. The addition of a new node for one organization does not create a new wallet address and therefore also does not need more than 50% approval. OrgaA approves the addition of a new node and creates a user account for Ava. Both OrgaA and OrgaB still hold 50% of the voting power.

Ava visits the other work location to work together with Alice. She can log in on the same node as Alice, since they share the same organization vault secret.

Three organizations: OrgaC decides to join#

OrgaC wants to join the network and connects to OrgaA. The request for approval is visible on the frontends of OrgaA and OrgaB. Since both of them hold 50% of the voting power, both organizations need to approve OrgaC before it can join the network. After both organizations approve OrgaC, the data is synchronized and OrgaC creates a new user called Charlie. Like for the other organizations, Charlie can only login on the node of OrgaC. All three organizations now hold 33.33% of the voting power in the network.

Further reading#

If you want to read more about the concept of organizations, have a look at the Multi Node Setup ADR.