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Contributing Guide

There are a number of ways to contribute to rapidsms-healthcare. If you are interested in making rapidsms-healthcare 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.

Getting the Source

You can clone the repository from Github:

git clone git://

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>/rapidsms-healthcare.git
git remote add upstream git://
git fetch upstream

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



To test against multiple versions of Django you can use install and use tox>=1.4. The tox command will run the tests against Django 1.3, 1.4 and the current Git master using Python 2.6.:

# Build all environments
# Build a single environment
tox -e py26-1.3.X

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

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.

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.

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 indended 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 demostrate 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.