How to contribute?

We’d love you to contribute, and here is the mini how-to: talk, fork, branch, hack, rob & pull request.

Longer version:

  1. Before diving into technicalities: if you intend to make major changes, beyond fixing bugs and small functionality improvements, please open a Github issue first, so we can discuss before coding. Please explain what you intend to accomplish and why. That often saves a lot of time and trouble in the long run.

    Use the issue to plan your changes. Try to solve only one problem at a time, instead of fixing several issues and adding different features in a single shot. Small changes are easier to handle, also for the reviewer in the last step below.

    Mention in the corresponding issue when you are working on it. “Claim” the issue to avoid duplicate efforts.

  2. Make a fork of the project, using the Github “fork” feature.

  3. Clone the original repository on your local machine and enter the directory

    git clone
    cd roberto
  4. Install this version of Roberto on your system, e.g. with one of the following lines, whichever works best for you:

    python3 install
    python3 install --user
    pip install .
    pip install . --user
    python3 -m pip install .
    python3 -m pip install . --user
  5. Add your fork as a second remote to your local repository, for which we will use the short name mine below, but any short name is fine:

    git remote add mine<your-github-account>/roberto.git
  6. Make a new branch, with a name that hints at the purpose of your modification:

    git checkout -b new-feature
  7. Make changes to the source. Please, make it easy for others to understand your code. Rules of thumb:

    • Write transparent code, e.g. self-explaining variable names.

    • Add comments to passages that are not easy to understand at first glance.

    • Write docstrings explaining the API.

    • Try to add unit tests when feasible. Not everything in Roberto is covered with unit tests because some functions only work when the program is executed as a whole. If possible, try to factor out parts of features into separate functions that are easily unit-tested.

  8. Commit your changes with a meaningful commit message. The first line is a short summary, written in the imperative mood. Optionally, this can be followed by an empty line and a longer description.

    If you feel the summary line is too short to describe what you did, it may be better to split your changes into multiple commits.

  9. Run Roberto on itself and fix all problems it reports. Either one of the following should work

    rob                 # Normal case
    python3 -m roberto  # Only if your PATH is not set correctly

    Style issues, failing tests and packaging issues should all be detected at this stage.

  10. Push your branch to your forked repository on Github:

    git push mine -u new-feature

    A link should be printed on screen, which will take the next step for you.

  11. Make a pull request from your branch new-feature in your forked repository to the master branch in the original repository.

  12. Wait for the QC tests to complete. Also coverage analysis will be shown, but this is merely indicative. Normally, someone should review your pull request in a few days. Ideally, the review results in minor corrections at worst. We’ll do our best to avoid larger problems in step 1.