d4ddbce Nov 19, 2016
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Contributing to rclone

This is a short guide on how to contribute things to rclone.

Reporting a bug

Bug reports are welcome. Check your issue exists with the latest version first. Please add when submitting:

  • Rclone version (eg output from rclone -V)
  • Which OS you are using and how many bits (eg Windows 7, 64 bit)
  • The command you were trying to run (eg rclone copy /tmp remote:tmp)
  • A log of the command with the -v flag (eg output from rclone -v copy /tmp remote:tmp)
    • if the log contains secrets then edit the file with a text editor first to obscure them

Submitting a pull request

If you find a bug that you'd like to fix, or a new feature that you'd like to implement then please submit a pull request via Github.

If it is a big feature then make an issue first so it can be discussed.

You'll need a Go environment set up with GOPATH set. See the Go getting started docs for more info.

First in your web browser press the fork button on rclone's Github page.

Now in your terminal

go get
cd $GOPATH/src/
git remote rename origin upstream
git remote add origin

Make a branch to add your new feature

git checkout -b my-new-feature

And get hacking.

When ready - run the unit tests for the code you changed

go test -v

Note that you make need to make a test remote, eg TestSwift for some of the unit tests.

Note the top level Makefile targets

  • make check
  • make test

Both of these will be run by Travis when you make a pull request but you can do this yourself locally too. These require some extra go packages which you can install with

  • make build_dep

Make sure you

  • Add documentation for a new feature
  • Add unit tests for a new feature
  • squash commits down to one per feature
  • rebase to master git rebase master

When you are done with that

git push origin my-new-feature

Go to the Github website and click Create pull request.

You patch will get reviewed and you might get asked to fix some stuff.

If so, then make the changes in the same branch, squash the commits, rebase it to master then push it to Github with --force.


rclone's tests are run from the go testing framework, so at the top level you can run this to run all the tests.

go test -v ./...

rclone contains a mixture of unit tests and integration tests. Because it is difficult (and in some respects pointless) to test cloud storage systems by mocking all their interfaces, rclone unit tests can run against any of the backends. This is done by making specially named remotes in the default config file.

If you wanted to test changes in the drive backend, then you would need to make a remote called TestDrive.

You can then run the unit tests in the drive directory. These tests are skipped if TestDrive: isn't defined.

cd drive
go test -v

You can then run the integration tests which tests all of rclone's operations. Normally these get run against the local filing system, but they can be run against any of the remotes.

cd ../fs
go test -v -remote TestDrive:
go test -v -remote TestDrive: -subdir

If you want to run all the integration tests against all the remotes, then run in that directory

go run test_all.go

Making a release

There are separate instructions for making a release in the file - doing the first few steps is useful before making a contribution.

  • go get -u -f -v ./...
  • make check
  • make test
  • make tag

Updating the vendor dirctory

Do these commands to update the entire build directory to the latest version of all the dependencies. This should be done early in the release cycle. Individual dependencies can be added with godep get.

  • make build_dep
  • make update

Writing a new backend

Choose a name. The docs here will use remote as an example.

Note that in rclone terminology a file system backend is called a remote or an fs.


  • Look at the interfaces defined in fs/fs.go
  • Study one or more of the existing remotes

Getting going

  • Create remote/remote.go (copy this from a similar fs)
  • Add your fs to the imports in fs/all/all.go

Unit tests

  • Create a config entry called TestRemote for the unit tests to use
  • Add your fs to the end of fstest/fstests/gen_tests.go
  • generate remote/remote_test.go unit tests cd fstest/fstests; go generate
  • Make sure all tests pass with go test -v

Integration tests

  • Add your fs to fs/test_all.go
  • Make sure integration tests pass with
    • cd fs
    • go test -v -remote TestRemote: and
    • go test -v -remote TestRemote: -subdir

Add your fs to the docs

  • - main Github page
  • docs/content/ - main docs page
  • docs/content/ - overview docs
  • docs/content/ - list of remotes in config section
  • docs/content/ - front page of
  • docs/layouts/chrome/navbar.html - add it to the website navigation
  • bin/ - add the page to the docs constant