Getting Started with the TOM Toolkit

So you’ve decided to run a Target and Observation Manager system. This article will help you get started.

The TOM Toolkit is a Django project. This means you’ll be running an application based on the Django framework when you run a TOM. If you decide to customize your TOM, you’ll be working in Django. You’ll likely need some basic understanding of python and we recommend all users work their way through the Django tutorial first before starting with the TOM Toolkit. It doesn’t take long, and you most likely won’t need to utilize any advanced features.

Ready to go? Let’s get started.


The easiest way to getting a TOM system up and running on a Linux or Mac is to use our make-tom script. If you would rather install the TOM manually, you can follow the instructions in the Manual Installation Guide, but we recommend using the script if you are new to the TOM Toolkit.

This script will create a virtual environment and install a TOM system on your local machine. Simply clone the make-tom repository:

git clone
cd make-tom

Ensure that the script is executable…

chmod +x

…and then run the script, giving a name for your TOM’s code repository as the first argument. You can call this whatever you like:

./ my_tom

Your TOM should now be initialized, and you are ready to spin up a server.

Running the dev server

Now that your TOM has been built you can run it immediately, directly on your local machine, using the command runserver:

./ runserver

Now, if you open a web browser, you can navigate to the URL and you should see your new TOM up and running! Go ahead and login to explore what it can do.