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The node.js project welcomes new contributors. This document will guide you through the process.


Fork the project on GitHub and check out your copy.

$ git clone
$ cd node
$ git remote add upstream git://

Now decide if you want your feature or bug fix to go into the master branch or the stable branch. As a rule of thumb, bug fixes go into the stable branch while new features go into the master branch.

The stable branch is effectively frozen; patches that change the node.js API/ABI or affect the run-time behavior of applications get rejected.

The rules for the master branch are less strict; consult the stability index page for details.

In a nutshell, modules are at varying levels of API stability. Bug fixes are always welcome but API or behavioral changes to modules at stability level 3 and up are off-limits.

Node.js has several bundled dependencies in the deps/ directory that are not part of the project proper. Any changes to files in that directory or its subdirectories should be sent to their respective projects. Do not send that patch to us, we cannot accept it.

In case of doubt, open an issue in the issue tracker, post your question to the node.js mailing list or contact one of the project maintainers on IRC.

Especially do so if you plan to work on something big. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing your hard work go to waste because your vision does not align with that of a project maintainer.


Okay, so you have decided on the proper branch. Create a feature branch and start hacking:

$ git checkout -b my-feature-branch -t origin/v0.8

(Where v0.8 is the latest stable branch as of this writing.)


Make sure git knows your name and email address:

$ git config --global "J. Random User"
$ git config --global ""

Writing good commit logs is important. A commit log should describe what changed and why. Follow these guidelines when writing one:

  1. The first line should be 50 characters or less and contain a short description of the change.
  2. Keep the second line blank.
  3. Wrap all other lines at 72 columns.

A good commit log looks like this:

Header line: explaining the commit in one line

Body of commit message is a few lines of text, explaining things
in more detail, possibly giving some background about the issue
being fixed, etc etc.

The body of the commit message can be several paragraphs, and
please do proper word-wrap and keep columns shorter than about
72 characters or so. That way `git log` will show things
nicely even when it is indented.

The header line should be meaningful; it is what other people see when they run git shortlog or git log --oneline.

Have a look at git log for inspiration.


Use git rebase (not git merge) to sync your work from time to time.

$ git fetch upstream
$ git rebase upstream/v0.8  # or upstream/master


Bug fixes and features should come with tests. Add your tests in the test/simple/ directory. Look at other tests to see how they should be structured (license boilerplate, common includes, etc.).

$ make jslint test

Make sure the linter is happy and that all tests pass. Please, do not submit patches that fail either check.


$ git push origin my-feature-branch

Go to and select your feature branch. Click the 'Pull Request' button and fill out the form.

Pull requests are usually reviewed within a few days. If there are comments to address, apply your changes in a separate commit and push that to your feature branch. Post a comment in the pull request afterwards; GitHub does not send out notifications when you add commits.


Please visit and sign the Contributor License Agreement. You only need to do that once.

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