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How to contribute

The Dokku project would love to welcome your contributions. There are several ways to help out:

  • Create an issue on GitHub, if you have found a bug
  • Write test cases for open bug issues
  • Write patches for open bug/feature issues, preferably with test cases included
  • Contribute to the documentation
  • Come up with new ways to show off our lovely logo
  • Blog about different ways you are using dokku
  • Sponsor the Dokku project financially

There are a few guidelines that we need contributors to follow so that we have a chance of keeping on top of things.


Reporting security issues

The Dokku maintainers take security seriously. If you discover a security issue, please bring it to their attention right away!

Please DO NOT file a public issue, instead send your report privately to,

Security reports are greatly appreciated and we will publicly thank you for it.

Reporting other issues

A great way to contribute to the project is to send a detailed report when you encounter an issue. We always appreciate a well-written, thorough bug report, and will thank you for it!

Sometimes Dokku is missing a feature you need. In some cases, those features can be found in pre-existing plugins, and we encourage our users to create and contribute such packages. From time to time, we will also pull plugins into the Dokku core when the task they solve is a common one for our users.

Check that our issue database doesn't already include that problem or suggestion before submitting an issue. If you find a match, add a quick "+1" or "I have this problem too." Doing this helps prioritize the most common problems and requests.

When reporting issues, please include your host OS (Ubuntu 14.04, CentOS 7, etc). Please include:

  • The output of uname -a.
  • The output of free -m
  • The output of docker version.
  • The output of docker -D info.
  • The output of sigil -v.
  • The output of docker run --rm -ti gliderlabs/herokuish:latest herokuish version
  • The output of dokku version.
  • The output of dokku plugin.

Please also include the steps required to reproduce the problem if possible and applicable. This information will help us review and fix your issue faster.

Our Issue Report Template is available here


Before you contribute to the Dokku project, there are a few things that you'll need to do

  • Make sure you have a GitHub account.
  • Submit an issue, assuming one does not already exist.
    • Clearly describe the issue including steps to reproduce when it is a bug.
    • Make sure you fill in the earliest version that you know has the issue.
  • Fork the repository on GitHub.

Making Changes

  • Create a topic branch from where you want to base your work.
    • This is usually the master branch.
    • Only target an existing branch if you are certain your fix must be on that branch.
    • To quickly create a topic branch based on master; git checkout -b my_contribution origin/master. It is best to avoid working directly on the master branch. Doing so will help avoid conflicts if you pull in updates from origin.
  • Make commits of logical units. Implementing a new function and calling it in another file constitute a single logical unit of work.
    • Before you make a pull request, squash your commits into logical units of work using git rebase -i and git push -f.
    • A majority of submissions should have a single commit, so if in doubt, squash your commits down to one commit.
  • Check for unnecessary whitespace with git diff --check before committing.
  • Use descriptive commit messages and reference the #issue number.
  • Core test cases should continue to pass. You can run tests locally or enable circle-ci for your fork, so all tests and codesniffs will be executed.
  • Your work should apply the Dokku coding standards
  • Pull requests must be cleanly rebased on top of master without multiple branches mixed into the PR.
    • Git tip: If your PR no longer merges cleanly, use rebase master in your feature branch to update your pull request rather than merge master.

Which branch to base the work

All changes should be be based on the latest master commit.

Submitting Changes

  • Push your changes to a topic branch in your fork of the repository.
  • Submit a pull request to the repository on github, with the correct target branch.

When will my change be merged?

Be patient! The Dokku maintainers will review all pull requests and comment as quickly as possible. There may be some back and forth while the details of your pull request are discussed.

In the unlikely event that your pull request does not get merged, the dokku maintainers will either provide an alternative patch or guide you towards a better solution to the problem at hand.

During our pre-1.0 cycle, we will follow these general rules when merging pull requests:

  • bugfix (patch)
  • security (patch/minor)
  • minor feature (patch)
  • backwards incompatible change (minor)
  • major feature (minor)

Test cases and codesniffs

Dokku tests require bats. To run the test cases locally use the following command:

make ci-dependencies
make unit-tests deploy-tests

To run the shellcheck sniffs for Dokku coding standards:

make ci-dependencies
make lint

The testing docs contains installation info for bats and shellcheck.

Additional Resources