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Contributing to Dgraph

Getting Started

Setting Up the Development Environment


  • Install Git (may be already installed on your system, or available through your OS package manager)
  • Install Make (may be already installed on your system, or available through your OS package manager)
  • Install Docker and Docker Compose.
  • Install Go 1.13 or above.

Setup Dgraph from source repo

It's best to put the Dgraph repo somewhere in $GOPATH.

$ mkdir -p "$(go env GOPATH)/src/"
$ cd "$(go env GOPATH)/src/"
$ git clone
$ cd ./dgraph
$ make install

This will put the source code in a Git repo under $GOPATH/src/ and compile the binaries to $GOPATH/bin.

Setup Badger from source repo

Dgraph source repo vendors its own version of Badger. If you are just working on Dgraph, you do not necessarily need to check out Badger from its own repo. However, if you want to contribute to Badger as well, you will need to check it out from its own repo.

$ go get -t -v

This will put the source code in a Git repo under $GOPATH/src/

Protocol buffers

We use protocol buffers to serialize data between our server and the Go client and also for inter-worker communication. If you make any changes to the .proto files, you would have to recompile them.

Install the protoc compiler which is required for compiling proto files used for gRPC communication. Get protoc version 3.0.0 or above from GitHub releases page (look for the binary releases at the bottom, or compile from sources following the instructions).

We use gogo protobuf in Dgraph. To get the protocol buffer compiler plugin from gogo run

$ go get -u

To compile the proto file using the protoc plugin and the gogo compiler plugin run the command make regenerate from within the directory containing the .proto files.

$ cd protos
$ make regenerate

This should generate the required .pb.go file.

Build Dgraph

You can build Dgraph using make dgraph or make install which add the version information to the binary.

  • make dgraph: Creates a dgraph binary at ./dgraph/dgraph
  • make install: Creates a dgraph binary at $GOPATH/bin/dgraph. You can add $GOPATH/bin to your $PATH.
$ make install
$ dgraph version
[Decoder]: Using assembly version of decoder

Dgraph version   : v1.1.1
Dgraph SHA-256   : 97326c9328aff93851290b12d846da81a7da5b843e97d7c63f5d79091b9063c1
Commit SHA-1     : 8994a57
Commit timestamp : 2019-12-16 18:24:50 -0800
Branch           : HEAD
Go version       : go1.13.5

For Dgraph official documentation, visit
For discussions about Dgraph     , visit

Licensed variously under the Apache Public License 2.0 and Dgraph Community License.
Copyright 2015-2018 Dgraph Labs, Inc.

Build Docker Image

make image

To build a test Docker image from source, use make image. This builds a Dgraph binary using make dgraph and creates a Docker image named dgraph/dgraph tagged as the current branch name. The image only contains the dgraph binary.


$ git rev-parse --abbrev-ref HEAD # current branch
$ make image
Successfully built c74d564d911f
Successfully tagged dgraph/dgraph:master
$ $ docker run --rm -it dgraph/dgraph:master dgraph version
[Decoder]: Using assembly version of decoder

Dgraph version   : v1.1.1-1-g5fa139a0e
Dgraph SHA-256   : 31f8c9324eb90a6f4659066937fcebc67bbca251c20b9da0461c2fd148187689
Commit SHA-1     : 5fa139a0e
Commit timestamp : 2019-12-16 20:52:06 -0800
Branch           : master
Go version       : go1.13.5

For Dgraph official documentation, visit
For discussions about Dgraph     , visit

Licensed variously under the Apache Public License 2.0 and Dgraph Community License.
Copyright 2015-2018 Dgraph Labs, Inc.

For release images, follow Doing a release. It creates Docker images that contains dgraph, dgraph-ratel, and badger commands.



Run the script in the root folder.

$ ./

INFO: Running tests using the default cluster
INFO: Running test for
ok	0.004s
INFO: Running test for
ok	9.308s
INFO: Running test for
?	[no test files]

Run --help for more info.

Tests should be written in Go and use the Dgraph cluster set up in dgraph/docker-compose.yml whenever possible. If the functionality being tested requires a different cluster setup (e.g. different commandline options), the *_test.go files should be put in a separate directory that also contains a docker-compose.yml to set up the cluster as needed.

IMPORTANT: All containers should be labeled with cluster: test so they may be correctly restarted and cleaned up by the test script.


Run go test in the root folder.

$ go test ./...
ok     24.853s
ok 0.027s
ok       0.478s
ok   0.004s

Doing a release

  • Create a branch called release/v<x.y.z> from master. For e.g. release/v1.0.5. Look at the diff between the last release and master and make sure that has all the changes that went in. Also make sure that any new features/changes are added to the docs under wiki/content to the relevant section.

  • Test any new features or bugfixes and then tag the final commit on the release branch like:

    git tag -s -a v1.0.5
  • Push the release branch and the tagged commit.

    git push origin release/v<x.y.z>
    git push origin v<x.y.z>
  • Travis CI would run the contrib/nightly/ script when a new tag is pushed. This script would create the binaries for linux, darwin and windows and also upload them to Github after creating a new draft release. It would also publish a new docker image for the new release as well as update the docker image with tag latest and upload them to docker hub.

  • Checkout the master branch and merge the tag to it and push it.

    git checkout master
    git merge v<x.y.z>
    git push origin master
  • Once the draft release is published on Github by Travis, modify it to add the release notes. The release notes would mostly be the same as changes for the current version in Finally publish the release and announce to users on Discourse.

  • To make sure that docs are added for the newly released version, add the version to wiki/scripts/ It is also important for a release branch for the version to exist, otherwise docs won't be built and published for it. SSH into the server serving the docs and pull the latest version of wiki/scripts/ from master branch and rerun it so that it can start publishing docs for the latest version.

  • If any bugs were fixed with regards to query language or in the server then it is a good idea to deploy the latest version on



Over years of writing big scalable systems, we are convinced that striving for simplicity wherever possible is the only way to build robust systems. This simplicity could be in design, could be in coding, or could be achieved by rewriting an entire module, that you may have painstakingly finished yesterday.

  • Pull requests are welcome, as long as you're willing to put in the effort to meet the guidelines.
  • Aim for clear, well written, maintainable code.
  • Simple and minimal approach to features, like Go.
  • Refactoring existing code now for better performance, better readability or better testability wins over adding a new feature.
  • Don't add a function to a module that you don't use right now, or doesn't clearly enable a planned functionality.
  • Don't ship a half done feature, which would require significant alterations to work fully.
  • Avoid Technical debt like cancer.
  • Leave the code cleaner than when you began.

Code style

  • We're following Go Code Review.
  • Use go fmt to format your code before committing.
  • If you see any code which clearly violates the style guide, please fix it and send a pull request. No need to ask for permission.
  • Avoid unnecessary vertical spaces. Use your judgment or follow the code review comments.
  • Wrap your code and comments to 100 characters, unless doing so makes the code less legible.

License Header

Every new source file must begin with a license header.

Most of Dgraph, Badger, and the Dgraph clients (dgo, dgraph-js, pydgraph and dgraph4j) are licensed under the Apache 2.0 license:

 * Copyright 2016-2018 Dgraph Labs, Inc. and Contributors
 * Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
 * you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
 * You may obtain a copy of the License at
 * Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
 * distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
 * See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
 * limitations under the License.

Signed Commits

Signed commits help in verifying the authenticity of the contributor. We use signed commits in Dgraph, and we prefer it, though it's not compulsory to have signed commits. This is a recommended step for people who intend to contribute to Dgraph on a regular basis.

Follow instructions to generate and setup GPG keys for signing code commits on this Github Help page.

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