Contributor’s Guide

If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in contributing to SmokeAPI. Thank you! The fact that you’re even considering contributing to the SmokeAPI project is very generous of you.

This document lays out guidelines and advice for contributing to this project. If you’re thinking of contributing, please start by reading this document and getting a feel for how contributing to this project works. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Andrew Wegner, the primary maintainer.

The guide is split into sections based on the type of contribution you’re thinking of making, with a section that covers general guidelines for all contributors.

Be Nice

SmokeAPI has one important rule covering all forms of contribution, including reporting bugs or requesting features. This golden rule is “Be Nice”.

All contributions are welcome, as long as everyone involved is treated with respect.

Early Feedback

If you are contributing, do not feel the need to sit on your contribution until it is polished and complete. It helps everyone involved for you to seek feedback as early as you possibly can. Submitting an early, unfinished version of your contribution for feedback does not decrease your chances of getting that contribution accepted, and can save you from putting a lot of work into a contribution that is not suitable for the project.

Contribution Suitability

Our project maintainers have the last word on whether or not a contribution is suitable. All contributions will be considered carefully, but from time to time, contributions will be rejected because they do not suit the current goals or needs of the project.

Code Contributions

Steps for Submitting Code

When contributing code, you’ll want to follow this checklist:

  1. Fork the repository on GitHub.
  2. Run the tests to confirm they all pass on your system. If they don’t, you’ll need to investigate why they fail. If you’re unable to diagnose this yourself, raise it as a bug report by following the guidelines in this document: Bug Reports.
  3. Write tests that demonstrate your bug or feature. Ensure that they fail. Note that many of our tests use mock to prevent burning through API quota. We ask that you do them and provide a mocked response.
  4. Make your change.
  5. Run the entire test suite again, confirming that all tests pass including the ones you just added.
  6. Send a GitHub Pull Request to the main repository’s master branch. GitHub Pull Requests are the expected method of code collaboration on this project.

Running Tests

Note: While this note exists, there are NO unit tests. This is a known limitation and will be corrected at some point in the future.

To be able to run the test suite, you’ll need to have mock installed. Mock is on the Python Package Index, so you can install it simply with one command:

$ pip install mock

Tests are built and run using unittest, which comes as a standard package with every Python installation. You can run the tests using the following command (from the root directory of your clone):

$ python -m unittest discover

The mock installation step can be handled automatically, if you run tests via:

$ python test

Code Review

Contributions will not be merged until they’ve been reviewed. You should implement any code review feedback unless you strongly object to it. In the event that you object to the code review feedback, you should make your case clearly and calmly. If, after doing so, the feedback is judged to still apply, you must either apply the feedback or withdraw your contribution.

Documentation Contributions

Documentation improvements are always welcome! The documentation files live in the docs/ directory of the codebase. They’re written in reStructuredText, and use Sphinx to generate the full suite of documentation.

When contributing documentation, please do your best to follow the style of the documentation files. This means a soft-limit of 79 characters wide in your text files and a semi-formal, but friendly and approachable, prose style.

When presenting Python code, use single-quoted strings ('hello' instead of "hello").

Bug Reports

Bug reports are hugely important! Before you raise one, though, please check through the GitHub issues, both open and closed, to confirm that the bug hasn’t been reported before. Duplicate bug reports can be a huge drain on the time of other contributors, and should be avoided as much as possible.

Feature Requests

If you believe there is a feature missing, feel free to raise a feature request. Please provide as much detail about the request as you can including some of the following information:

  • Intended use case(s)
  • Short falls you have with the current version
  • Possible expected results