Installation instructions

If you want to install NarraFirma locally to play with it, follow these instructions.

For bugs or problems

Visit the GitHub issues list for help with problems and bugs.

Frequently-asked questions


Can I use NarraFirma for story work that isn’t PNI?

Sure. You might not use a lot of what is in the software, but it’s flexible, and nothing is required.

Does NarraFirma support grounded theory?

Not really. NarraFirma is used for mixed-methods research, in which texts and metadata about texts are given equal importance.

What if I don’t want to do all of the PNI phases in my project?

Everything in NarraFirma is optional. Just skip any pages you don’t want to use.


Can I import stories I collected in another way?

Yes, you can import stories from a spreadsheet (CSV) file. To do this, you need to create a story form description (also in CSV), which will tell NarraFirma what to find in your data file. This helps NarraFirma support import from any survey taking system you might be using.

How many stories can NarraFirma handle?

Because the stories (and answers to questions) are text only (so far), NarraFirma should be able to handle quite a few. With large numbers of stories you may see some slower performance, but with typical projects of 100-300 stories, and probably even up to several hundred stories, you should not see a problem.

What about web security?

We strongly suggest that you set up any web site on which you intend to install NarraFirma (WordPress or Node.js) with SSL (secure sockets). Your hosting provider should be able to help you do that.

What is the current state of NarraFirma?

As of this writing (late October 2015), NarraFirma is in a beta testing phase. What this means is that the software has been tested in-house (by its developers) but not in lots of conditions (in lots of browsers and browser versions, for example). We expect to find some “gotchas” when NarraFirma runs up against conditions we have not thought to (or have not been able to) create. We might also be surprised by actions people take that we had not anticipated.

NarraFirma is ready to use on projects right now. But during the beta testing period, we suggest that you back up your work often by exporting the project to a JSON file. The backup file can be imported into a new project if anything should go wrong. Not that anything has gone wrong in any of our testing so far, but we want to feel 100% sure NarraFirma will work for every project before we say the beta testing period is over.

Also, if you use the web surveying part of NarraFirma, we suggest you use it in a situation where you have a backup copy of the stories (like on paper forms from a face-to-face session). Or use it for a not-so-important project, where you can ask people to tell their story again if something goes wrong, or you can ask more people to make up for stories that got lost. Again, everything should work fine, and nothing should be lost. But until we are 100% sure the software works perfectly in several full projects, we want people to be careful.

We also suggest that you set up SSL security on any web site that runs NarraFirma (unless you run it locally). That recommendation will continue long after the beta-test period.


I’d like to install NarraFirma locally to play with it. How should I do that?

We have written some instructions for setting up NarraFirma on your local computer. If you get confused, search for guides to setting up WordPress or Node.js locally – there are many good resources out there for doing this.

Open source

How can I help with NarraFirma?

You can donate, volunteer, and spread the word.


What license is NarraFirma distributed under?

The General Public License, version 2.0 or later.

Have a question we didn’t answer?

You can ask your question on the support forum (coming soon) or send an email to cfkurtz at cfkurtz dot com.