Contributing Guide

There are a number of ways to contribute to django-scribbler. If you are interested in making django-scribbler better then this guide will help you find a way to contribute.

Ways to Contribute

You can contribute to the project by submitting bug reports, feature requests or documentation updates through the Github issues.

Translate django-scribbler

We are working towards translating django-scribbler into different languages. There are only a few strings to translate so it is a great way to be involved with the project. The translations are managed through Transifex. Please do not submit translate requests/updates to the Github repo.

Getting the Source

You can clone the repository from Github:

git clone

However this checkout will be read only. If you want to contribute code you should create a fork and clone your fork. You can then add the main repository as a remote:

git clone<your-username>/django-scribbler.git
cd django-scribbler
git remote add upstream git://
git fetch upstream

django-scribbler requires a few static libraries which are not included in the repository. Before beginning development you should make sure you have these libraries with:

make fetch-static-libs

Running the Tests

When making changes to the code, either fixing bugs or adding features, you’ll want to run the tests to ensure that you have not broken any of the existing functionality. With the code checked out and Django installed you can run the tests via:

python test



Note that the tests require the mock library. To test against multiple versions of Django you can use install and use tox>=1.4. The tox command will run the tests against supported versions of Django and Python.:

# Build all environments
# Build a single environment
tox -e py36-1.11.X

Building all environments will also build the documentation. More on that in the next section.

The JS plugins are tested using the QUnit <> testing framework. You can run the tests by opening scribbler\tests\qunit\index.html in your browser. You can also run the tests using the PhantomJS <> headless runner. First install PhantomJS from NPM (requires at least 1.6):

# Install phantomjs from the NPM package
npm install phantomjs -g
# Run QUnit tests
phantomjs scribbler/tests/qunit/runner.js scribbler/tests/qunit/index.html

We’ve added a make command which you can use as well:

make test-js

Building the Documentation

This project aims to have a minimal core with hooks for customization. That makes documentation an important part of the project. Useful examples and notes on common use cases are a great way to contribute and improve the documentation.

The docs are written in ReST and built using Sphinx. As noted above you can use tox to build the documentation or you can build them on their own via:

tox -e docs


make html

from inside the docs/ directory.

Building the CSS

The CSS used by django-scribbler is built using LESS. No changes should be made to the scribbler.css directly. Instead changes should be made to the scribbler.less file. After changes are made to scribbler.less you can create the new compressed CSS with the Node based complier. In addition, this inlines the required codemirror.css:

make build-css

The example project uses the client-side LESS compiler to make local development easier.

Building the JS

While it is not often needed for local development, the final released JS is bundled and minified using Browserify and UglifyJS2. To build bundle-min.js you should have the optimizer installed and run:

make build-js

Coding Standards

Code contributions should follow the PEP8 and Django contributing style standards. Please note that these are only guidelines. Overall code consistency and readability are more important than strict adherence to these guides.

The Javascript is configured for some basic JSHint checks. Changes to the Javascript should pass without errors. You can check the Javascript file on the command line with Node based CLI tool:

# Install jshint from the NPM package
npm install jshint -g
# Check the scribbler JS
jshint scribbler/static/scribbler/js/

This can also be done with the make command:

make lint-js

Submitting a Pull Request

The easiest way to contribute code or documentation changes is through a pull request. For information on submitting a pull request you can read the Github help page

Pull requests are a place for the code to be reviewed before it is merged. This review will go over the coding style as well as if it solves the problem intended and fits in the scope of the project. It may be a long discussion or it might just be a simple thank you.

Not necessarily every request will be merged but you should not take it personally if you change is not accepted. If you want to increase the chances of your change being incorporated then here are some tips.

  • Address a known issue. Preference is given to a request that fixes a currently open issue.
  • Include documentation and tests when appropriate. New features should be tested and documented. Bugfixes should include tests which demonstrate the problem.
  • Keep it simple. It’s difficult to review a large block of code so try to keep the scope of the change small.

You should also feel free to ask for help writing tests or writing documentation if you aren’t sure how to go about it.

Installing an Unstable Release

Since the built CSS, JS and other static dependencies are not included in the repository, it is not possible to install django-scribbler directly from Github. If you want to install and unstable version of django-scribbler you have a few options.


While we try to keep the master branch stable, there may be bugs or unfinished work there. It is recommended that you use a stable release of django-scribbler when possible.

Install Local Build

The step overview for installing from a local build is:

  • Check out the repository
  • Install static libraries
  • Build CSS and JS
  • Install from local repository

From the command line this would be:

git clone git://
cd django-scribbler
make fetch-static-libs build-css build-js

Create an Unstable Package

Installing from a local build is probably a reasonable solution for a single person wanting to test out the current master or a feature branch in a large project. However, it isn’t a good solution if you want to deploy this to a larger testing environment or multiple computers. The basic steps are more or less the same:

  • Check out the repository
  • Install static libraries
  • Build CSS and JS
  • Create a source distribution
  • Distribute .tar file
  • Install for packaged .tar

From the command line this would be:

git clone git://
cd django-scribbler
make fetch-static-libs build-css build-js
python sdist

This will create a django-scribbler-X.X.X.tar.gz inside a dist/ directory where X.X.X is the current scribbler.__version__. This tar file would then be distributed using your favorite file hosting service (S3, Dropbox, etc). You can then install by using pip:

pip install http://path-to-hostedfile/django-scribbler-X.X.X.tar.gz