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Thanks for your interest in contributing to Switchboard. This document provides a set of guidelines adapted from cowboy. Follow the guide to the best of your ability, but err on the side of getting your contributions out there. If you have questions, you can ask them on the mailing lists.


This document describes the usages and rules to follow when contributing to this project.

git is a distributed source code versioning system. This document refers to three different repositories hosting the source code of the project. Your local copy refers to the copy of the repository that you have on your computer. The remote repository origin refers to your fork of the project's repository that you can find in your GitHub account. The remote repository upstream refers to the official repository for this project.

Following this document will ensure prompt merging of your work in the master branch of the project.

Before implementing a new feature, you should create a new issue for discussion on your plans. The feature might have been rejected already, or the implementation might already be decided. If your idea is less concrete, you can also use the mailing lists for discussion on your idea.


You must fork the project's repository to your GitHub account by clicking on the Fork button.

Then, from your fork's page, copy the Git Read-Only URL to your clipboard. You must perform the following commands in the folder you choose, replacing $URL by the URL you just copied, $UPSTREAM_URL by the Git Read-Only project of the official repository, and $PROJECT by the name of this project.

$ git clone "$URL"
$ git remote add upstream $UPSTREAM_URL


Before starting working on the code, you must update to upstream. The project is always evolving, and as such you should always strive to keep up to date when submitting patches to make sure they can be merged without conflicts.

To update the current branch to upstream, you can use the following commands.

$ git fetch upstream
$ git rebase upstream/master

It may ask you to stash your changes, in which case you stash with:

$ git stash

And put your changes back in with:

$ git stash pop

You should use these commands both before working on your patch and before submitting the pull request. If conflicts arise it is your responsability to deal with them.

You must create a new branch for your work. First, ensure you are on master. You must update master to upstream before doing anything. Then create a new branch $BRANCH and switch to it.

$ git checkout -b $BRANCH

You MUST use a an insightful branch name.

If you later need to switch back to an existing branch $BRANCH, you can use:

$ git checkout $BRANCH

Source editing

The following rules must be followed:

  • Indentation uses spaces for tabs, with 4 columns per indentation.
  • Lines must not span more than 80 columns

The following rules should be followed:

  • Write small functions whenever possible
  • Avoid having too many clauses containing clauses containing clauses


You must ensure that all commits pass all tests and do not have extra Dialyzer warnings.

Running tests is fairly straightforward. Note that you need at least Erlang/OTP R16B01 for the SSL tests to run.

make tests

/* will integrate eunit with common test. */

Running Dialyzer requires some initial setup. You need to build the PLT file that Dialyzer will use for its analysis. This is a one-time operation. Dialyzer will take care of updating that file when needed.

make build-plt

Once that is done, you can run Dialyzer.

make dialyze

You must put all the related work in a single commit. Fixing a bug is one commit, adding a feature is one commit, adding two features is two commits.

You must write a proper commit title and message. The commit title MUST be at most 72 characters; it is the first line of the commit text. The second line of the commit text MUST be left blank. The third line and beyond is the commit message. You should write a commit message. If you do, you MUST make all lines smaller than 80 characters. You should explain what the commit does, what references you used and any other information that helps understanding your work.

Submitting the pull request

You must push your branch $BRANCH to GitHub, using the following command:

$ git push origin $BRANCH

You must then submit the pull request using the GitHub interface. Include an explanatory message and refer to any previous issues related to this patch.