CDS Connect Authoring Tool


The Clinical Decision Support (CDS) Authoring Tool is a web-based application aimed at simplifying the creation of production-ready CQL code. The project is based on "concept templates" (e.g. gender, HDL Cholesterol, etc.), which allow for additional clinical concepts to be included in the future. Concept modifiers are included to allow for more flexible definitions (e.g. most recent, value comparisons, etc.).

The CDS Authoring Tool is part of the CDS Connect project, sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and developed under contract with AHRQ by MITRE's CAMH FFRDC.


For information about contributing to this project, please see CONTRIBUTING.

Development Details

This project uses the MERN stack: Mongo, Express, React, and NodeJS. The project is split into two components:

  • api: the backend Express API server
  • frontend: the frontend React web application

For specific development details of each component, including configuration, see their respective README files.

Run (Development Quick Start)


First, ensure you have Node.js LTS, Yarn, and MongoDB installed. The CDS Authoring Tool is tested using MongoDB 3.4.x, but later versions are expected to work.

Install Node Foreman

To allow for simple development, a Procfile is provided which will launch the api and frontend projects in development mode. To use the Procfile, you must install node-foreman.

yarn global add foreman

Install Dependencies

Each of the subprojects (api and frontend) must have the dependencies installed via yarn. This can be done as follows:

cd api

After the yarn api dependency install successfully runs, install the frontend dependencies:

cd ../frontend

After the yarn frontend dependency install runs, go back to the root folder:

cd ..

Configure Authentication

The CDS Authoring Tool requires authentication. Currently LDAP authentication and local file authentication are supported. For local development, the simplest approach is to use local user authentication. To enable it, copy the minimal-example and example-local-users configuration files to local.json and local-users.json.

NOTE: The following example uses cp. If you are on Windows, use copy instead.

cp api/config/minimal-example.json api/config/local.json
cp api/config/example-local-users.json api/config/local-users.json

This will enable the following two users:

  • User: demo, Password: password
  • User: demo2, Password: password2

Of course, these default users and passwords should never be enabled on a public-facing system.

Run Node Foreman

Run the Node Foreman Procfile via:

nf start

NOTE: Ensure MongoDB is running before starting the CDS Authoring Tool.


This project can also be built into a Docker image and deployed as a Docker container. To do any of the commands below, Docker must be installed.

Building the docker image

To build the Docker image, execute the following command from the project's root directory (the directory containing api and frontend):

docker build -t cdsauthoringtool .

Running the docker container

For the authoring tool to run in a docker container, MongoDB and CQL-to-ELM docker containers must be linked. The following commands run the necessary containers, with the required links and exposed ports:

docker run --name cat-cql2elm -d cqframework/cql-translation-service:v1.3.19
docker run --name cat-mongo -d mongo:3.4
docker run --name cat \
  --link cat-cql2elm:cql2elm \
  --link cat-mongo:mongo \
  -e "CQL_TO_ELM_URL=http://cql2elm:8080/cql/translator" \
  -e "MONGO_URL=mongodb://mongo/cds_authoring" \
  -e "AUTH_SESSION_SECRET=secret" \
  -e "AUTH_LDAP_URL=ldap://localhost:389" \
  -e "AUTH_LDAP_BIND_DN=cn=root" \
  -e "AUTH_LDAP_BIND_CREDENTIALS={{password}}" \
  -e "AUTH_LDAP_SEARCH_BASE=ou=passport-ldapauth" \
  -e "AUTH_LDAP_SEARCH_FILTER=(uid={{username}})" \
  -e "NODE_ENV=development" \
  -p "3001:3001" \
  -p "9000:9000" \

To run the CDS Authoring Tool in a detached process, add a -d to the run command (before cdsauthoringtool).

Of course you will need to modify some of the values above according to your environment (e.g., LDAP details).

Proxying the API

By default, the server on port 9000 will proxy requests on /authoring/api to the local API server using express-http-proxy. In production environments, a dedicated external proxy server may be desired. In that case, the external proxy server will be responsible for proxying /authoring/api to port 3001. To accomodate this, disable the express-http-proxy by adding this addition flag to the last command above:

  -e "API_PROXY_ACTIVE=false" \

Using the Container

When the container is running, access the app at http://localhost:9000.

To stop the container:

docker stop cat cat-mongo cat-cql2elm

To start the containers again:

docker start cat-cql2elm cat-mongo cat

To remove the containers (usually when building new images):

docker rm cat cat-mongo cat-cql2elm

NOTE: This configuration stores data in Mongo's container. This means it is tied to the lifecycle of the mongo container and is not persisted when the container is removed.

Using Docker Compose

Alternately, use Docker Compose to build and run all of the containers. Execute:

docker-compose up

The first time, it will build the cdsauthoringtoolapi_cat and cdsauthoringtool_cat images. Subsequent times it may re-use the already built images. To force it to rebuild, pass in the --build flag.

To stop and remove the containers, run:

docker-compose down

Bonus: Running Tests in Docker

CDS Authoring Tool tests are broken up into frontend and backend tests.

To run the frontend tests in a temporary docker container (for example, to ensure it works before deploying), run the following command:

docker run --rm -e "CI=true" -e "NODE_ENV=test" -w /usr/src/app/frontend cdsauthoringtool yarn test

To run the backend tests in a temporary docker container:

docker run --rm -e "CI=true" -e "NODE_ENV=test" -w /usr/src/app/api cdsauthoringtool yarn test


Copyright 2016-2018 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

Ahrq Cds Connect Authoring Tool

The CDS Authoring Tool is part of the CDS Connect project, sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and developed under contract with AHRQ by MITRE's CAMH FFRDC.

Ahrq Cds Connect Authoring Tool Info

⭐ Stars 24
🔗 Homepage
🔗 Source Code
🕒 Last Update 10 months ago
🕒 Created 3 years ago
🐞 Open Issues 15
➗ Star-Issue Ratio 2
😎 Author AHRQ-CDS