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Contribute to LBRY

First: if you're unsure or afraid of anything, just ask or submit the issue or pull request anyways. You won't be yelled at for giving your best effort. The worst that can happen is that you'll be politely asked to change something. We appreciate any sort of contributions, and don't want a wall of rules to get in the way of that.

However, for those individuals who want a bit more guidance on the best way to contribute to the project, read on. This document will cover what we're looking for. By addressing all the points we're looking for, it raises the chances we can quickly merge or address your contributions.


Choose an Issue

LBRY is an open source project and therefore is developed out in the open for everyone to see. What you see here are the latest source code changes and issues.

Since LBRY is based on a decentralized community, we believe that the app will be stronger if it receives contributions from individuals outside the core team -- such as yourself!

To make contributing as easy and rewarding as possible, we have instituted the following system:

  • Anyone can view all issues in the system by clicking on the Issues button at the top of the page. Feel free to add an issue if you think we have missed something (and you might earn some LBC in the process because we do tip people for reporting bugs).
  • Once on the Issues page, a potential contributor can filter issues by the Help Wanted label to see a curated list of suggested issues with which community members can help.
  • Every Help Wanted issue is ranked on a scale from zero to four.
Level Description
level 0 Typos and text edits -- a tech-savvy non-programmer can fix these.
level 1 Programming issues that require little knowledge of how the LBRY app works.
level 2 Issues of average difficulty that require the developer to dig into how the app works a little bit.
level 3 Issues that are likely too tricky to be level 2 or require more thinking outside of the box.
level 4 Big features or really hard issues.

The process of ranking issues is highly subjective. The purpose of sorting issues like this is to give contributors a general idea about the type of issues they are looking at. For instance, it could very well be the case that a level 1 issue is more difficult than a level 2 issue. This system is meant to help you find relevant issues, not to prevent you from working on issues that you otherwise would. If these rankings don't work for you, feel free to ignore them.

Although all contributions should have good UX, the UX label, when applied in conjunction with Help Wanted, indicates that the contributor ought to implement the feature in a creative way that specifically focuses on providing a good user experience. These issues often have no set instruction for how the experience should be and leave it to the contributor to figure out. This may be challenging for people who do not like UX, but also more fun and rewarding for those who do.

Code Overview

The entry point for this application is src/platforms/electron/index.js.

This application is primarily written in JavaScript and is built on Electron while utilizing React and Redux for UI and application state.

The project comes with diverse tools for simplifying the development process and for providing better code quality. It's recommended to make use of them thoroughly during ongoing development. We follow the well-known Airbnb JavaScript Style Guide for defining our styling rules and code best practices.

lbry-redux and lbryinc

This project uses lbry-redux and lbryionc to share Redux and LBRY API specific code with lbry-android and other LBRY apps. Over time, more Redux code that is suitable to be shared will be moved into lbry-redux. If modifying Redux code, you may be asked to make some of your changes in lbry-redux rather than lbry-desktop. The steps to work with lbry-redux locally can be found here.


Flow is a static type checker for JavaScript. Flow checks your code for errors through static type annotations. For using Flow, you need to add the following annotation to the beginning of the file you're editing:

// @flow

After adding this, you can start adding type annotations to the code.

If you add a project dependency and you want to use it with Flow, you need to import its type definitions in the project by running:

$ yarn flow-defs


Code linting is ensured by ESLint and Flow CLI.

You can lint all the project's sources at any time by running:

$ yarn lint

If you desire to lint a specific file or directory you can use:

$ yarn eslint 'glob/pattern'
$ yarn flow focus-check 'glob/pattern'

In addition to those commands, staged files are automatically linted before commit. Please take the time to fix all staged files' linting problems before committing or suppress them if necessary.

If you want the linting problems to show up on your IDE or text editor, check out ESLint integrations.

Code Formatting

Project's sources are formatted using Prettier.

Staged files are automatically formatted before commit.

You can also use the following command:

$ yarn format

for applying formatting rules to the entire project's code. For formatting a specific file or directory, use:

$ yarn prettier 'glob/pattern'

Editor integrations are available here.


There are a few tools integrated to the project that will ease the process of debugging:

Submit a Pull Request

  • After deciding what to work on, a potential contributor can fork this repository, make his or her changes, and submit a pull request. A contributor wanting to reserve an issue in advance can leave a comment saying that he or she is working on it. Contributors should respect other people's efforts to complete issues in a timely manner and, therefore, not begin working on anything reserved (or updated) within the last 3 days. If someone has been officially assigned an issue via Github's assignment system, it is also not available. Contributors are encouraged to ask if they have any questions about issue availability.
  • The changelog should be updated to include a reference to the fix/change/addition. See previous entries for format.
  • Once the pull request is visible in the LBRY repo, a LBRY team member will review it and make sure it is up to our standards. At this point, the contributor may have to change his or her code based on our suggestions and comments.
  • Then, upon a satisfactory review of the code, we will merge it and send the contributor a tip (in LBC) for the contribution.

We are dedicated to being fair and friendly in this process. In general, level 4 issues will be paid more than level 3 issues which will be paid more than level 2, and so on. However, this is not due to their labeling, but rather how difficult they end up being. Maybe an issue labeled "level 1" turns out to be very difficult. In this case, we would be more than happy to tip accordingly. If you do good work, we want you to be rewarded for it.

Also, we are here to enable you. We want you to succeed, so do not hesitate to ask questions. If you need some information or assistance in completing an issue, please let us know! That is what we are here for-- pushing development forward.

Lastly, don't feel limited by this list. Should LBRY have built-in Tor support? Add it! It's not in the issue tracker, but maybe it's a good idea. Do you think the search layout is unintuitive? Change it! We welcome all feedback and suggestions. That said, it may be the case that we do not wish to incorporate your change if you don't check with us first (also, please check with us especially if you are planning on adding Tor support :P). If you want to add a feature that is not listed in the issue tracker, go ahead and create an issue, and say in the description that you would like to try to implement it yourself. This way we can tell you in advance if we will accept your changes and we can point you in the right direction.

Tom's "Voice of the User" Wishlist

Anything marked with both "Help Wanted" and "Tom's 'Voice of the User' Wishlist" will earn you an extra 50 LBC on top of what we would otherwise tip you.

Get in Touch

Name Role Discord Email
Tom Community manager. He knows more than anyone about the app and all of its flaws. Reach out to him with any questions about how the app works, if a bug has been reported, or if a feature should be requested. jiggytom
Sean The primary engineer working on the app. Feel free to ask any questions about the code. sean

Join our Discord here.

More Information

More information about contributing to LBRY here.

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