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Contributing to CARLsim 3

Note: This document is a 'getting started' summary for contributing code, documentation, testing, and filing issues.

How to contribute

The preferred workflow for contributing to CARLsim 3 is to fork the main repository on GitHub, clone, and develop on a branch. Steps:

  1. Fork the project repository by clicking on the 'Fork' button near the top right of the page. This creates a copy of the code under your GitHub user account.

  2. Clone your fork of the CARLsim 3 repo from your GitHub account to your local disk:

    $ git clone
    $ cd CARLsim3
  3. Create a feature branch to hold your development changes:

    $ git checkout -b my-feature

    Always use a feature branch. It's good practice to never work on the master branch!

  4. Develop the feature on your feature branch. Add changed files using git add and then git commit files:

    $ git add modified_files
    $ git commit

    to record your changes in Git, then push the changes to your GitHub account with:

    $ git push -u origin my-feature
  5. Go to the GitHub web page of your fork of the CARLsim 3 repo. Click the 'Pull request' button to send your changes to the project's maintainers for review. This will send an email to the committers.

(If any of the above seems like magic to you, please look up the Git documentation on the web, or ask a friend or another contributor for help.)

Pull Request Checklist

We recommended that your contribution complies with the following rules before you submit a pull request:

  • Follow the coding guidelines.

  • Use, when applicable, the Google Test framework to test new functionality. You can follow the Working with Google Test guidelines if you are unfamiliar with the framework.

  • If your pull request addresses an issue, please use the pull request title to describe the issue and mention the issue number in the pull request description. This will make sure a link back to the original issue is created.

  • All public methods should have informative Doxygen docstrings with sample usages. You can follow the Working with Doxygen guidelines if you are unfamiliar with the framework.

  • Please prefix the title of your pull request with [MRG] (Ready for Merge), if the contribution is complete and ready for a detailed review. uhAn incomplete contribution -- where you expect to do more work before receiving a full review -- should be prefixed [WIP] (to indicate a work in progress) and changed to [MRG] when it matures. WIPs may be useful to: indicate you are working on something to avoid duplicated work, request broad review of functionality or API, or seek collaborators. WIPs often benefit from the inclusion of a task list in the PR description.

  • All other tests pass when everything is rebuilt from scratch. On Unix-like systems, check with (from the toplevel source folder):

    $ cd carlsim/tests
    $ make carlsim_tests
    $ ./carlsim_tests
  • Documentation and high-coverage tests are necessary for enhancements to be accepted.

You can also check for common programming errors with the following tools:

Filing bugs

We use Github issues to track all bugs and feature requests; feel free to open an issue if you have found a bug or wish to see a feature implemented.

It is recommended to check that your issue complies with the following rules before submitting:

New contributor tips

A great way to start contributing to CARLsim 3 is to pick an item from the list of easy issues in the issue tracker. Resolving these issues allow you to start contributing to the project without much prior knowledge. Your assistance in this area will be greatly appreciated by the more experienced developers as it helps free up their time to concentrate on other issues.