Writing Code#

So you’d like to write some code to improve the Coral Project? Splendid! A few things you can contribute are bug fixes, new features, and plug-ins or extensions.

Before you begin#

Before you begin, ensure that the work you’re going to be doing has a GitHub issue associated with it.

  • If there isn’t already someone working on it, then leave a comment to let everyone know that you are starting work on it.
  • If someone is already working on it, consider collaborating with them.

If there isn’t already an GitHub issue, then create an issue for it. You can find more information on writing a detailed issue here.

Coding style guide#

As you’re working, refer to our coding style guide to make sure your code conforms to our standards.

Working With GitHub#

This section explains how open source contributors can contribute code to the Coral Project via pull requests.

For a general primer on contributing to open source projects, GitHub has created a nice guide to contributing to open source.

The fundamentals (which are expanded on below) are:

  1. Fork the project & clone locally.
  2. Create an upstream remote and sync your local copy before you branch.
  3. Branch for each separate piece of work.
  4. Do the work, and write good commit messages.
  5. Push to your origin repository.
  6. Create a new PR in GitHub.
  7. Respond to any code review feedback.

Installing Git#

First, download and install Git. You can read more about Git on their website.

After installing Git, the first thing you should do is setup your name and email:

git config --global user.name "Your Real Name"
git config --global user.email "you@email.com"

Note that user.name should be your real name, not your GitHub username. The email you use in the user.email field will be used to associate your commits with your GitHub account.

Setting up a local repository#

First, you need to fork the project: navigate to to the repo in GitHub you want to contribute to and press the “Fork” button. This will create a copy of the repository in your own GitHub account and you’ll see a note that it’s been forked underneath the project name.

Now create a local copy of that fork (in this example, the “docs” repository is the one being cloned):

git clone https://github.com/coralproject/docs.git

This will create a new directory “docs”, containing a clone of your forked GitHub repository. Switch to the project’s new directory:

cd docs

You will now need to setup coralproject/docs as an “upstream” remote. This connects your local repository to the original “upstream” source repository (essentially, telling Git that the original reference repository is the source of your local forked copy).

git remote add upstream https://github.com/coralproject/docs.git
git fetch upstream

It’s a good idea to regularly pull in changes from “upstream” so that when you submit your pull request, merge conflicts will be less likely. You can find more detailed instructions on syncing a fork from GitHub.

Work on an issue#

When working on an issue, create a new branch for the work. Name the branch for the issue you are working on, capitalizing the word “Issue” (for example, “Issue#82”).

git checkout master
git pull upstream master && git push origin master
git checkout -b Issue#82

What this does: First, we ensure we’re on the master branch. Then, the git pull command will sync our local copy with the upstream project and the git push syncs it to our forked GitHub project. Finally, we create our new branch.

Now you can start coding! Ensure that you are only changing code related to the issue you are working on.


When committing, be sure to commit in logical blocks and add meaningful commit messages.

git commit -m 'Added instructions for commit messages'

Some guidelines to follow:

  • Never force-push your changes.
  • Write your commit messages in the past tense, not present tense.
    • Good: “Added instructions for commit messages”
    • Bad: “Add instructions for commit messages”
  • For commits to a branch, prefix the commit message with the branch name. For example: “Issue#82 Added instructions for commit messages.”

Create the pull request#

To create a PR you first need to push your branch to the origin remote.

To push a new branch:

git push origin Issue#82

When you go to your GitHub page, you will notice that a new branch has been created, along with a button that says “Compare and Pull Request.” When you feel ready to create a pull request, go ahead and push the button.

On the “Open a pull request” page, ensure that the “base fork” points to the correct repository and branch. Then ensure that you provide a good, brief title for your pull request and explain why you have created it in the description box.

Scroll down to see the diff of your changes. Double check that it contains what you expect.

Once you are happy, press the “Create pull request” button.

Review by the maintainers#

Once you’ve created your pull request, ping a code reviewer to take a look.

The reviewer will review and potentially offer suggestions. If that happens, make the suggested changes, commit, and push your changes. You may go through several cycles of reviews, changes, and updates.

Once both of you agree that the code is done, it’s time to merge.


The code reviewer will merge the pull request.

Once the merge is complete, the branch can be deleted.