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Filing issues

How to get help

Before you ask for help, please make sure you do the following:

  1. Read the documentation thoroughly. If in a hurry, at least use the search field that is provided at top-left on the documentation pages. Make sure you read the docs for the Pelican version you are using.
  2. Use a search engine (e.g., DuckDuckGo, Google) to search for a solution to your problem. Someone may have already found a solution, perhaps in the form of a plugin or a specific combination of settings.
  3. Try reproducing the issue in a clean environment, ensuring you are using:
  • latest Pelican release (or an up-to-date Git clone of Pelican master)
  • latest releases of libraries used by Pelican
  • no plugins or only those related to the issue

NOTE: The most common sources of problems are anomalies in (1) themes, (2) settings files, and (3) make/invoke automation wrappers. If you can't reproduce your problem when using the following steps to generate your site, then the problem is almost certainly with your chosen theme and/or settings file (and not Pelican itself):

cd ~/projects/your-site
git clone ~/projects/pelican
pelican content -s ~/projects/pelican/samples/ -t ~/projects/pelican/pelican/themes/notmyidea

If despite the above efforts you still cannot resolve your problem, be sure to include in your inquiry the following information, preferably in the form of links to content uploaded to a paste service, GitHub repository, or other publicly-accessible location:

  • Describe what version of Pelican you are running (output of pelican --version or the HEAD commit hash if you cloned the repo) and how exactly you installed it (the full command you used, e.g. python -m pip install pelican).
  • If you are looking for a way to get some end result, prepare a detailed description of what the end result should look like (preferably in the form of an image or a mock-up page) and explain in detail what you have done so far to achieve it.
  • If you are trying to solve some issue, prepare a detailed description of how to reproduce the problem. If the issue cannot be easily reproduced, it cannot be debugged by developers or volunteers. Describe only the minimum steps necessary to reproduce it (no extra plugins, etc.).
  • Upload your settings file or any other custom code that would enable people to reproduce the problem or to see what you have already tried to achieve the desired end result.
  • Upload detailed and complete output logs and backtraces (remember to add the --debug flag: pelican --debug content [...])

Once the above preparation is ready, you can contact people willing to help via (preferably) the #pelican IRC channel or send a message to authors at getpelican dot com. Remember to include all the information you prepared.

The #pelican IRC channel

  • Because of differing time zones, you may not get an immediate response to your question, but please be patient and stay logged into IRC — someone will almost always respond if you wait long enough (it may take a few hours).
  • If you don't have an IRC client handy, use the webchat.
  • You can direct your IRC client to the channel using this IRC link or you can manually join the #pelican IRC channel on the freenode IRC network.

Contributing code

Before you submit a contribution, please ask whether it is desired so that you don't spend a lot of time working on something that would be rejected for a known reason. Consider also whether your new feature might be better suited as a plugin — you can ask for help to make that determination.

Using Git and GitHub

  • Create a new git branch specific to your change (as opposed to making your commits in the master branch).

  • Don't put multiple unrelated fixes/features in the same branch / pull request. For example, if you're working on a new feature and find a bugfix that doesn't require your new feature, make a new distinct branch and pull request for the bugfix.

  • Add a file in the root of the project that contains the release type (major, minor, patch) and a summary of the changes that will be used as the release changelog entry. For example:

    Release type: minor
    Reload browser window upon changes to content, settings, or theme
  • Check for unnecessary whitespace via git diff --check before committing.

  • First line of your commit message should start with present-tense verb, be 50 characters or less, and include the relevant issue number(s) if applicable. Example: Ensure proper PLUGIN_PATH behavior. Refs #428. If the commit completely fixes an existing bug report, please use Fixes #585 or Fix #585 syntax (so the relevant issue is automatically closed upon PR merge).

  • After the first line of the commit message, add a blank line and then a more detailed explanation (when relevant).

  • Squash your commits to eliminate merge commits and ensure a clean and readable commit history.

  • If you have previously filed a GitHub issue and want to contribute code that addresses that issue, please use hub pull-request instead of using GitHub's web UI to submit the pull request. This isn't an absolute requirement, but makes the maintainers' lives much easier! Specifically: install hub and then run hub pull-request -i [ISSUE] to turn your GitHub issue into a pull request containing your code.

  • After you have issued a pull request, the continuous integration (CI) system will run the test suite for all supported Python versions and check for PEP8 compliance. If any of these checks fail, you should fix them. (If tests fail on the CI system but seem to pass locally, ensure that local test runs aren't skipping any tests.)

Contribution quality standards

  • Adhere to PEP8 coding standards. This can be eased via the pycodestyle or flake8 tools, the latter of which in particular will give you some useful hints about ways in which the code/formatting can be improved. We try to keep line length within the 79-character maximum specified by PEP8. Because that can sometimes compromise readability, the hard/enforced maximum is 88 characters.
  • Ensure your code is compatible with the officially-supported Python releases.
  • Add docs and tests for your changes. Undocumented and untested features will not be accepted.
  • Run all the tests on all versions of Python supported by Pelican to ensure nothing was accidentally broken.

Check out our Git Tips page or ask for help if you need assistance or have any questions about these guidelines.