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Oh, hello there! You're probably reading this because you are interested in contributing to nteract. That's great to hear! This document will help you through your journey of open source. Love it, cherish it, take it out to dinner, but most importantly: read it thoroughly!

What do I need to know to help?

JavaScript side

You'll need knowledge of JavaScript (ES6), React, RxJS, Redux, and Flow to help out with this project. That's a whole lot of cool stuff! But don't worry, we've got some resources to help you out.

Jupyter and ZeroMQ (Optional)

While not a strict pre-requisite, familiarity with the protocol that Jupyter provides for creating rich notebooks like nteract (and other consoles/REPLs) is advised to understand the overall system.

If you want a gentle guide to Rx + Jupyter messaging at the same time, we have a build your own REPL with enchannel tutorial. This allows you to work without React while learning concepts, leading to implementing a light version of ick, an interactive console.

How do I make a contribution?

Never made an open source contribution before? Wondering how contributions work in the nteract world? Here's a quick rundown!

  1. Find an issue that you are interested in addressing or a feature that you would like to address.

  2. Fork the repository associated with the issue to your local GitHub organization.

  3. Clone the repository to your local machine using:

    git clone
  4. Create a new branch for your fix using:

    git checkout -b branch-name-here
  5. Make the appropriate changes for the issue you are trying to address or the feature that you want to add.

  6. Confirm that unit tests and linting still pass successfully with:

    npm run test

    If tests fail, don't hesitate to ask for help.

  7. Add and commit the changed files using git add and git commit.

  8. Push the changes to the remote repository using:

    git push origin branch-name-here
  9. Submit a pull request to the upstream repository.

  10. Title the pull request per the requirements outlined in the section below.

  11. Set the description of the pull request with a brief description of what you did and any questions you might have about what you did.

  12. Wait for the pull request to be reviewed by a maintainer.

  13. Make changes to the pull request if the reviewing maintainer recommends them.

  14. Celebrate your success after your pull request is merged! 🎉

How should I write my commit messages and PR titles?

Good commit messages serve at least three important purposes:

  • To speed up the reviewing process.

  • To help us write a good release note.

  • To help the future maintainers of nteract/nteract (it could be you!), say five years into the future, to find out why a particular change was made to the code or why a specific feature was added.

Structure your commit message like this:

> Short (50 chars or less) summary of changes
> More detailed explanatory text, if necessary.  Wrap it to about 72
> characters or so.  In some contexts, the first line is treated as the
> subject of an email and the rest of the text as the body.  The blank
> line separating the summary from the body is critical (unless you omit
> the body entirely); tools like rebase can get confused if you run the
> two together.
> Further paragraphs come after blank lines.
>   - Bullet points are okay, too
>   - Typically a hyphen or asterisk is used for the bullet, preceded by a
>     single space, with blank lines in between, but conventions vary here



  • Write the summary line and description of what you have done in the imperative mode, that is as if you were commanding. Start the line with "Fix", "Add", "Change" instead of "Fixed", "Added", "Changed".
  • Always leave the second line blank.
  • Line break the commit message (to make the commit message readable without having to scroll horizontally in gitk).


  • Don't end the summary line with a period - it's a title and titles don't end with a period.


  • If it seems difficult to summarize what your commit does, it may be because it includes several logical changes or bug fixes, and are better split up into several commits using git add -p.


The following blog post has a nice discussion of commit messages:

How fast will my PR be merged?

Your pull request will be merged as soon as there are maintainers to review it and after tests have passed. You might have to make some changes before your PR is merged but as long as you adhere to the steps above and try your best, you should have no problem getting your PR merged.

That's it! You're good to go!