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Perceval Build Status Coverage Status PyPI version Documentation in RTD

Send Sir Perceval on a quest to retrieve and gather data from software repositories.


usage: perceval [-g] <backend> [<args>] | --help | --version | --list

Send Sir Perceval on a quest to retrieve and gather data from software

Repositories are reached using specific backends. The most common backends

    askbot           Fetch questions and answers from Askbot site
    bugzilla         Fetch bugs from a Bugzilla server
    bugzillarest     Fetch bugs from a Bugzilla server (>=5.0) using its REST API
    confluence       Fetch contents from a Confluence server
    discourse        Fetch posts from Discourse site
    dockerhub        Fetch repository data from Docker Hub site
    gerrit           Fetch reviews from a Gerrit server
    git              Fetch commits from Git
    github           Fetch issues, pull requests and repository information from GitHub
    gitlab           Fetch issues, merge requests from GitLab
    gitter           Fetch messages from a Gitter room
    googlehits       Fetch hits from Google API
    groupsio         Fetch messages from
    hyperkitty       Fetch messages from a HyperKitty archiver
    jenkins          Fetch builds from a Jenkins server
    jira             Fetch issues from JIRA issue tracker
    launchpad        Fetch issues from Launchpad issue tracker
    mattermost       Fetch posts from a Mattermost server
    mbox             Fetch messages from MBox files
    mediawiki        Fetch pages and revisions from a MediaWiki site
    meetup           Fetch events from a Meetup group
    nntp             Fetch articles from a NNTP news group
    pagure           Fetch issues from Pagure
    phabricator      Fetch tasks from a Phabricator site
    pipermail        Fetch messages from a Pipermail archiver
    redmine          Fetch issues from a Redmine server
    rocketchat       Fetch messages from a Rocket.Chat channel
    rss              Fetch entries from a RSS feed server
    slack            Fetch messages from a Slack channel
    stackexchange    Fetch questions from StackExchange sites
    supybot          Fetch messages from Supybot log files
    telegram         Fetch messages from the Telegram server
    twitter          Fetch tweets from the Twitter Search API

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -v, --version         show version
  -g, --debug           set debug mode on
  -l, --list            show available backends

Run 'perceval <backend> --help' to get information about a specific backend.


  • Python >= 3.8
  • Poetry >= 1.2
  • git
  • build-essential

You will also need some other libraries for running the tool, you can find the whole list of dependencies in pyproject.toml file.

How to install

  • build-essentials

Build-essentials is a package that contains a set of tools to compile and build software. It is required to work with Debian packages.

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential
  • git

Git is a version control system that allows you to keep track of changes in your code. It is required to work with Git repositories.

$ sudo apt-get install git


There are several ways to install Perceval on your system: packages or source code using Poetry or pip or using Docker.


Perceval can be installed using pip, a tool for installing Python packages. To do it, run the next command:

$ pip install perceval

Source code

To install from the source code you will need to clone the repository first:

$ git clone
$ cd grimoirelab-perceval

Then use pip or Poetry to install the package along with its dependencies.


To install the package from local directory run the following command:

$ pip install .

In case you are a developer, you should install perceval in editable mode:

$ pip install -e .


We use poetry for dependency management and packaging. You can install it following its documentation. Once you have installed it, you can install perceval and the dependencies in a project isolated environment using:

$ poetry install

To spaw a new shell within the virtual environment use:

$ poetry shell


A Perceval Docker image is available at DockerHub.

Detailed information on how to run and/or build this image can be found here.


Documentation is generated automatically in the ReadTheDocs Perceval site.


If you use Perceval in your research papers, please refer to Perceval: software project data at your will -- Pre-print:

APA style

Dueñas, S., Cosentino, V., Robles, G., & Gonzalez-Barahona, J. M. (2018, May). Perceval: software project data at your will. In Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Software Engineering: Companion Proceeedings (pp. 1-4). ACM.


  title={Perceval: software project data at your will},
  author={Due{\~n}as, Santiago and Cosentino, Valerio and Robles, Gregorio and Gonzalez-Barahona, Jesus M},
  booktitle={Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Software Engineering: Companion Proceeedings},



$ perceval askbot '' --from-date '2016-01-01'


To fetch bugs from Bugzilla, you have two options:

a) Use the traditional backend

$ perceval bugzilla '' --backend-user user --backend-password pass --from-date '2016-01-01'

b) Use the REST API backend for Buzilla 5.0 (or higher) servers. We strongly recommend this backend when data is fetched from version servers >=5.0 because the retrieval process is much faster.

$ perceval bugzillarest '' --backend-user user --backend-password pass --from-date '2016-01-01'


$ perceval confluence '' --from-date '2016-01-01'


$ perceval discourse '' --from-date '2016-01-01'

Docker Hub

$ perceval dockerhub grimoirelab perceval


To run gerrit, you will need an authorized SSH private key:

$ eval `ssh-agent -s`
$ ssh-add ~/.ssh/id_rsa
Identity added: /home/user/.ssh/id_rsa (/home/user/.ssh/id_rsa)

To run the backend, execute the next command:

$ perceval gerrit --user user '' --from-date '2016-01-01'


To run this backend execute the next command. Take into account that to run this backend Git program has to be installed on your system.

$ perceval git '' --from-date '2016-01-01'

To run the backend against a private git repository, you must pass the credentials directly in the URL:

$ perceval git https://<username>:<password>@repository-url

For example, for private GitHub repositories:

$ perceval git https://<username>:<api-token>

Git backend can also work with a Git log file as input. We recommend to use the next command to get the most complete log file.

$ git log --raw --numstat --pretty=fuller --decorate=full --parents --reverse --topo-order -M -C -c --remotes=origin --all > /tmp/gitlog.log

Then, to run the backend, just execute any of the next commands:

$ perceval git --git-log '/tmp/gitlog.log' 'file:///myrepo.git'


$ perceval git '/tmp/gitlog.log'


$ perceval github elastic logstash --from-date '2016-01-01'

The GitHub backend accepts the categories issue, pull_request and repository which allow to fetch the specific data.

$ perceval github --category issue elastic logstash


$ perceval gitlab fdroid fdroiddata -t $GITLAB_TOKEN --from-date '2016-01-01'


$ perceval gitter -t 'abcdefghi' --from-date '2020-03-18' 'jenkinsci' 'jenkins'


$ perceval googlehits "bitergia grimoirelab"

$ perceval groupsio 'updates' -e '<>' -p 'my-password' --from-date '2016-01-01'

In order to fetch the data from a group, you should first subscribe to it via the website. In case you want to know the group names where you are subscribed, you can use the following script:


$ perceval hyperkitty '' --from-date 2017-01-01


$ perceval jenkins ''


$ perceval jira '' --project PUP --from-date '2016-01-01'


$ perceval launchpad ubuntu --from-date '2016-01-01'


$ perceval mattermost '' jgw7jdmjkjf19ffkwnw59i5f9e --from-date '2016-01-01' -t 'abcdefghijk'


$ perceval mbox '' /tmp/mboxes/


$ perceval mediawiki '' --from-date '2016-06-30'


$ perceval meetup 'Software-Development-Analytics' --from-date '2016-06-01' -t abcdefghijk


$ perceval nntp '' '' --offset 10


$ perceval pagure '389-ds-base' --from-date '2020-03-06'


$ perceval phabricator '' -t 123456789abcefe


$ perceval pipermail ''

Pipermail also is able to fetch data from Apache's mod_box interface:

$ perceval pipermail ''


$ perceval redmine '' --from-date '2016-01-01' -t abcdefghijk


Rocket.Chat backend needs an API token and a User Id to authenticate to the server.

$ perceval rocketchat -t 'abchdefghij' -u '1234abcd' --from-date '2020-05-02' general


$ perceval rss ''


Slack backend requires an API token for authentication. Slack apps can be used to generate and configure this API token. The scopes required by a Slack app for the backend are channels:history, channels:read and users:read. To know more about Slack apps and its integration please refer the Slack apps documentation. For more information about the scopes required by a Slack app please refer the Scopes and permissions documentation.

The following script can also be used to generate an OAuth2 token to access the Slack API.

$ perceval slack C0001 --from-date 2016-01-12 -t abcedefghijk


$ perceval stackexchange --site stackoverflow --tagged python --from-date '2016-01-01' -t abcdabcdabcdabcd


$ perceval supybot '' /tmp/supybot/


Telegram backend needs an API token to authenticate the bot. In addition and in order to fetch messages from a group or channel, privacy settings must be disabled. To know how to create a bot, to obtain its token and to configure it please read the Telegram Bots docs pages.

Note that the messages are available on the Telegram server until the bot fetches them, but they will not be kept longer than 24 hours.

$ perceval telegram mybot -t 12345678abcdefgh --chats 1 2 -10


Twitter backend needs a bearer token to authenticate the requests. It can be obtained using the code available on GistGitHub:

$ perceval twitter grimoirelab -t 12345678abcdefgh

Community Backends

Some backends are implemented in a seperate repository but not merged into chaoss/grimoirelab-perceval due to long-run maintainence reasons. Please feel free to check the backends and contact the maintainers for any issues or questions related to them.

Running tests

Perceval comes with a comprehensive list of unit tests. To run them, in addition to the dependencies installed with Perceval, you need httpretty.


Licensed under GNU General Public License (GPL), version 3 or later.