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AREN (ARgumentation Et Numérique)

The AREN project (in French, ARgumentation Et Numérique ; argumentation and digital) aims to develop a digital platform for online debates that promotes the development of people' argumentative skills and their critical thinking, through a citizenship education perspective. This platform allows the simultaneous participation of a large number of people in a debate, offers time to build arguments and allows to keep track of exchanges, support for reflective work.

The project has two research components :

  • A didactic component consists of experimenting with the platform in order to assess its impact and suggest changes.
  • An artificial intelligence (AI) component focuses on the automatic processing of natural language and aims to develop and evaluate an AI service for thematic classification of student interventions, facilitating their analysis and the preparation of the reflective synthesis.

Getting Started

These instructions will get you a copy of the project up and running on your local machine for development and testing purposes. See deployment for notes on how to deploy the project on a live system.


  • Java Web server (Test and work on Apache-Tomcat 7.0.80+)
  • Maven
  • PostgreSQL



Install and configure PostgreSQL specificaly to your OS, check the documentation, to ensure having a secure and remote accessible database.

Create the user that will manage your database. Repalce [db_user] and [db_password] by your own choices. CREATE USER [db_user] WITH PASSWORD '[db_password]'; Create the database, Replace [db_name] by your own choice. CREATE DATABASE [db_name] OWNER [db_user];


Download and extracte the sources in the repository of your choice.

Copy the application.properties file from the config folder to the src/main/resources folder. Fill the empty properties, the documentation is in the file itself.

Copy the persistence.xml file from the config forlder to the src/main/resources/META-INF folder. Fill the following line with the db_user, db_password and db_name previously set.

<property name="hibernate.connection.url" value="jdbc:postgresql://localhost:5432/db_name"/>
<property name="hibernate.connection.username" value="db_user"/>
<property name="hibernate.connection.password" value="db_password"/>


Go to the source folder and run mvn clean install. A target folder is then created with the aren.war file inside.


Rename the aren.war file to ROOT.warthen copy it into the Java WebSever of your choice [Tomcat 7 tested and functional].

If you do not want the software to run at the root of your serveur, you'll need to change the path variable of the context.xml file according to the name of your war file

First launch

Go in your webserver folder, in the application folder. Edit the persistence.xml in the WEB-INF/classes/META-INF folder. Uncomment the two following lines to allow the application to build the whole database.

<!--property name="hibernate.hbm2ddl.auto" value="drop-and-create"/-->
<!--property name="hibernate.hbm2ddl.import_files" value="META-INF/init.sql"/-->

####Restart your webserver.

Uncomment the line <property name="hibernate.hbm2ddl.auto" value="update"/>

! WARNING ! To avoid any data loss yous have to re-comment those previous lines. Otherwise the full database will be rebuilt at every restart of the application !

API super-admin credentials

The default credentials for the super-admin are admin:password Those can be easily change throught the web interface or with an API call.


The web interface is shiped with an useful help button. Use it if you have any issues. The REST API documentation can be found here. You can access the openapi desc directly through the application with the url /ws/openapi.[json|yaml]

Running the tests


Built With




We use SemVer for versioning.


See also the list of CONTRIBUTORS who participated in this project.


This project is licensed under the MIT License - see the LICENSE.md file for details


Official website