Contributing to Pinax

We are always looking for people wanting to improve Pinax itself. This document outlines the necessary bits to begin contributing to Pinax.

Getting started

The Pinax source code is hosted on GitHub. This means you must have git installed locally. We recommend you create an account on GitHub allowing you to watch and fork the Pinax source code.

You will want to be sure that your git configuration is set for making commits to a repository. Check the following:

git config
git config

If the output of any of the two commands above are not entirely correct you can easily correct them:

git config --global "First Last"
git config --global ""

It is critical you set this information up correctly. It helps us identify who you are when you start giving us those awesome patches.

Grabbing the source code

Once you have forked the Pinax source code you can now make a clone of it to your local disk. To do this:

git clone<username>/pinax.git

This will create new directory named pinax which now contains the Pinax source tree ready for you to get started.

Setting up your environment

Now that you’ve cloned the source code you are ready to get your environment setup to work on Pinax. This section also applies if you are looking to just run off the latest code. We’ll assume that your current working directory is from within the clone (the pinax directory):

python scripts/ --development --source=. ../pinax-dev
source ../pinax-dev/bin/activate

If you use virtualenvwrapper you could alternatively do:

python scripts/ --development --source=. $WORKON_HOME/pinax-dev
workon pinax-dev

Finally, you need to install the dependencies for the development version:

pip install --requirement requirements/external_apps.txt

Committing code

The great thing about using a distributed versioning control system like git is that everyone becomes a committer. When other people write good patches it makes it very easy to include their fixes/features and give them proper credit for the work.

We recommend that you do all your work on Pinax in a separate branch. When you are ready to work on a bug or a new feature create yourself a new branch. The reason why this is important is you can commit as often you like. When you are ready you can merge in the change. Let’s take a look at a common workflow:

git checkout -b task-1-work
... do work and git commit often ...
git push origin task-1-work
git checkout -b task-1
git merge --squash --no-commit task-1-work
git commit -m "Fixed #1 — added a great new feature"
git push origin task-1

The reason we have created two new branches is to stay off of master. Keeping master clean of only upstream changes makes yours and ours lives easier. You can then send us a pull request for the fix/feature from the “ready” branch. Then we can easily review it and even take a look at the individual commits for why you may have done something. If we say that you’ve done something slightly wrong you can now go back to the task-1 branch and correct it. Let’s see how we might do this:

git checkout -b task-1-work
... fix and git commit often ...
git push
git branch -D task-1
git checkout -b task-1
git merge --squash --no-commit task-1-work
git commit -m "Fixed #1 — added a great new feature"
git push

Send another pull request and we can review the fix.

Writing commit messages

Writing a good commit message makes it simple for us to identify what your commit does from a high-level. We are not too picky, but there are some basic guidelines we’d like to ask you to follow.

Fixed #1 — added some feature

We ask that you indicate which task you have fixed (if the commit fixes it) or if you are working something complex you may want or be asked to only commits parts:

Refs #1 — added part one of feature X

As said earlier we are not too picky (some core developers may change commit messages before pulling in your changes), but as you get the basics down you make the process of getting your patch into core faster.

Another critical part is that you keep the first line as short and sweet as possible. This line is important because when git shows commits and it has limited space or a different formatting option is used the first line becomes all someone might see. If you need to explain why you made this change or explain something in detail use this format:

Fixed #13 — added time travel

You need to be driving 88 miles per hour to generate 1.21 gigawatts of
power to properly use this feature.