Contributing to RepoBee

This article contains technical information on how to contribute to RepoBee. If you haven’t already, first read the information in the in the repo, which details how to submit a proposal. If you’ve done that, this article will tell you more about technical details.

Setting up a Development Environment

Basic Environment to Run Unit Tests

The most rudimentary development environment is easy to set up. There are three tasks to accomplish:

  • Fork the repository <> and clone your fork.

  • Setup a Python virtual environment and install the project with test dependencies.

  • Install the pre-commit hooks

So, first fork the repository <> and clone your fork down to disk.

# substitute USER for your username
$ git clone

Then, you need to set up a virtual environment in the newly cloned repository. I’m using pipenv here, but you can use something else if you have other preferences.

# install pipenv for the local user
$ python3 -m pip install --user pipenv
# move into the repobee directory and install the repobee package with pipenv
$ cd repobee
$ python3 -m pipenv install -e ".[DEV]"

The last thing takes a while, so just be patient. When it’s done, you can verify that everything was installed correctly by running the tests in the virtual environment.

$ python3 -m pipenv run pytest tests/unit_tests

Everything should pass. Now, you can run any command in the virtualenv by prepending it with python3 -m pipenv run. However, it is often more convenient to “enter” the virtual environment with python3 -m pipenv shell, and type exit to exit it. Then, you can just type in your Python commands as usual, and the virtual environment’s Python program will be used.

Pre-commit Hooks

Finally, you should also install the pre-commit hooks that come with RepoBee. They make some rudimentary checks to primarily code style before a commit can be recorded. They require the pre-commit package. I recommend installing this outside of the virtual environment so that hooks can run even if you are not in the virtual environment shell. In the root of the project, run:

$ python3 -m pip install --user pre-commit
$ python3 -m pre-commit install

And that’s it, the environment is all set up!

Full Environment to Run System Tests

To also run the system tests located in system_tests, you need to have Docker and Docker Compose installed, and the Docker daemon (service) must be running. Installing these utilities will vary by distribution, here are a few examples:

# Arch Linux
$ sudo pacman -Sy docker docker-compose
# Ubuntu
$ sudo apt install docker docker-compose
$ sudo yum -y install epel-release # docker-compose is in the EPEL repos
$ sudo yum -y install docker docker-compose

Activating the Docker daemon also differs by distribution, but if you have systemd, it looks like this:

sudo systemctl start docker   # start ASAP
sudo systemctl enable docker  # start automatically on startup

Further instructions are available in the file in the system_tests directory.

Code Style

RepoBee follows a fairly strict code style, which is mostly enforced by the Pre-commit Hooks. So make sure you install them. The code is formatted by Black <>, and you have no say in that: Black does it the way it wants. What Black does not handle is docstrings. Any public function must have a docstring, complete with type annotations and argument+return value descriptions. Here are two examples:

Docstring examples
def func_without_return_value(int_param: int, string_param: str) -> None:
   """What the function does.

      int_param: Description of the int_param.
      string_param: Description of the string_param.

def func_with_return_value(int_param: int, string_param: str) -> str:
   """What the function does.

      int_param: Description of the int_param.
      string_param: Description of the string_param.
      Description of return value.

Contributing to Docs

To be able to build the documentation, you must install the dependencies listed in requirements/, in addition to installing the package itself. In your virtual environment, run the following from the root of the repository:

$ pip install -r requirements/

Then, to build the documentation, enter the docs directory and run make html.

$ cd docs
$ make html

This will produce the documentation in docs/_build/html, with the landing page being docs/_build/html/index.html.