Skip to content
Boost.Geometry Contribution Tutorial - preliminary version
Branch: master
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.

This is a preliminary/temporary version of the Boost.Geometry Contribution Tutorial. This version of the Tutorial was left here for historical purposes and won't be updated. The up-to-date version can be found in the Boost.Geometry Wiki.

Contributing to Boost.Geometry

Copyright © 2014 Adam Wulkiewicz

Distributed under the Boost Software License, Version 1.0. (See accompanying file LICENSE_1_0.txt or copy at >

Table of Contents


  • git (Git BASH on Windows)
  • a compiler to run Boost tests - gcc, clang, Visual Studio Express, etc.
  • configured GitHub account
  • every step mentioned here: TryModBoost understood and tested.

Other helpful links:

Testing the development branch of Boost.Geometry

Those are the steps which must be done to check out the Boost.Geometry repository and run tests (also described here:

Check out the develop branch

cd libs/geometry
git checkout develop
git branch -vv
git pull

Run the tests

b2 test

If everything works for you, you may move forward.

Fork Boost.Geometry repository

You can't work directly in the original Boost.Geometry repository, therefore you should create your fork of this library. This way you can modify the code and when the job is done send a pull request to merge your changes with the original repository.

Fork button

  1. login on GitHub
  2. go to Boost.Geometry repository
  3. click the 'Fork' button
  4. choose your profile
  5. wait
  6. be happy!

More info: Forking Projects

Verify if your fork works (optional)

Go out of modular-boost/libs/geometry/ directory

cd ../../..

clone your repository and checkout develop branch

git clone geometry
git checkout develop
git branch -vv
git pull

see commits

git log

For now you should see exactly the same commits as in Boost.Geometry repository.

Working with ModularBoost

You could of course stop on the previous point and work on this local clone of the fork of Boost.Geometry however there is a catch. You won't be able to use b2 (run tests or build documentation) if the library is not inside the Boost directory. It's therefore convenient to use your fork inside modular-boost which basically means adding new remote for Boost.Geometry and using it aside the original Boost.Geometry repository.


If you did the optional steps mentioned in the section Verify if your fork works (optional), go back to the Geometry module directory modular-boost/libs/geometry/.

cd ../modular-boost/libs/geometry

For now there is only one remote repository set for this local copy. You may check it by running

git remote -v

you should see something like this


There is one remote repository added, the original Boost.Geometry repository at boostorg/geometry

Add new remote repository

Add another remote repository, your fork, give it some memorable name

git remote add my_fork

now after running

git remote -v

you should also see the remote you just added


GitFlow workflow

Boost is using the GitFlow workflow or branching model if you like. It's because it is very well suited to collaboration and scaling the development team. Each repository using this model should contain two main branches:

  • master - release-ready version of the library
  • develop - development version of the library

and could contain various supporting branches for new features and hotfixes. Those supporting branches have specific purposes, there are also rules describing which branches they may originate from and which branches they may be merged with. Those issues aren't covered in this tutorial.

As a contributor you'll most likely be adding new features or fixing bugs in the development version of the library. This means that for each contribution you should create a new branch originating from the develop branch, modify it and send a pull request in order to merge it, again with the develop branch.

Create new branch for your work

Make sure you're in develop branch running

git branch -vv

you should see

Develop branch picked

Now pick a name for your new branch. Try to choose the name which doesn't already exist. To check the names of existing remote branches run

git branch -a

List of branches

or check them directly on GitHub.

Lets say that you'd like to add some new feature. To reflect that, and because Boost is using the GitFlow branching model, you could name your branch feature/example. Choosing the name for a branch is up to you since it won't be created in the original Boost.Geometry repository.

Create new local branch

git branch feature/example
git checkout feature/example

push it to your fork

git push -u my_fork feature/example

This should create a remote branch for you. The -u switch also sets up the tracking of the remote branch.


Now after running

git branch -vv

you should see

Feature branch picked

Have in mind that if you didn't use the -u switch you wouldn't see the tracking info for your new branch.

You should also be able to see your newly created remote branch on GitHub

Fork branches list

or while running


gitk develop and feature/example

Modify the branch

If you plan to add a new feature, or a bugfix, or some parts for the docs, or an example, it is often wise to consult the mailing list if that is a good idea. Other people may be working on the same thing. If it is a larger feature it is good to post a sort of implementation plan to check if the feature, and the implementation, is what is expected.


A word about commits, run

git log



and see what the commit messages convention is used.

In Boost.Geometry the commit messages should contain:

  1. some name of the modified part of the library in the square brackets, e.g. an algorithm name (tip: look at the namespaces and directories),
  2. a short title,
  3. an extended comment in the new lines (tip: to add more lines to the commit message use git commit without the -m switch).

As it's mentioned in the GIT documentation (

It's also a good idea to use the imperative present tense in these messages. In other words, use commands. Instead of "I added tests for" or "Adding tests for," use "Add tests for."


As you already know tests are placed in the test/ directory. Add tests for the newly added feature and if you added new files modify the Jamfile as well.

Run the tests (assuming you're in modular-boost/libs/geometry/)

b2 test


At the end, push your changes to the remote branch

git push my_fork feature/example

or if your local branch is tracking the remote one, just

git push

Pull request

After pushing your work you should be able to see it on GitHub.

Click "Compare and pull request" button

compare and pull button

By default GitHub wants to request a pull to the boostorg/geometry:master branch

default pull branches

Change it by clicking the "Edit" button on the right side and pick develop branch

change base branch

add some nice title and description

Pull request title

and click the "Send pull request" button.


After sending a pull request your code will be reviewed. If there are no objections your changes will be merged. Otherwise you'll see some comments under the pull request and/or under specific lines of your code. At this point it will be possible to make required changes, commit them and push to your branch. Those changes will automatically be a part of the same pull request. This procedure will be repeated until the code is ready for merging.

If you're curious how it looks like you may see one of the open or closed pull requests.

You can’t perform that action at this time.