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PouchDB - The JavaScript Database that Syncs

Welcome, so you are thinking about contributing to PouchDB? awesome, this is a great place to start.

Get in Touch

The following documentation should answer most of the common questions about how to get starting contributing, if you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch @ Freenode IRC, in the Google Groups mailing list, and on StackOverflow. Or you can tweet @pouchdb.

Most project discussions should happen on the Mailing list / Bug Tracker and IRC, however if you are a first time contributor and want some help getting started feel free to send a private email to any of the following maintainers:

PouchDB meeting

We hold a weekly 'office hours' meeting on IRC ( on Mondays at 5:00PM UTC (9:00 AM Pacific, 12:00 PM Eastern, 10:30 PM IST), this is open to anyone and a time when developers and users discuss issues they are having or working on.

Help Wanted

If you are looking for something to work on, we try to maintain a list of issues that should be suitable for first time contributions, they can be found tagged help wanted.

Guide to Contributions

  • Almost all Pull Requests for features or bug fixes will need tests
  • We follow Felix's Node.js Style Guide
  • Almost all Pull Requests for features or bug fixes will need tests (seriously, its really important)
  • Before opening a pull request run $ npm test to lint test the changes and run node tests. Preferably run the browser tests as well.
  • Commit messages should follow the following style:
(#99) - A brief one line description < 50 chars

Followed by further explanation if needed, this should be wrapped at
around 72 characters. Most commits should reference an existing


PouchDB needs the following to be able to build and test your build, if you haven't installed them then best to do so now, we will wait.

CouchDB must be running and available at http://localhost:5984. If you can open that URL in a browser and see "couchdb": "Welcome", then it's working.

You'll also need to ensure that CORS is enabled on the CouchDB. You can easily do this by running npm install -g add-cors-to-couchdb and then add-cors-to-couchdb.

On Windows? PouchDB's build and tests work on Windows, but you will have to follow Microsoft's guidelines for Windows to ensure you can install and compile native add-ons. Also, we recommend Git Bash for Windows because our build relies on many Bash- and Unix-isms. Another option is Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Building PouchDB

All dependencies installed? Great, now building PouchDB itself is a breeze:

$ cd pouchdb
$ npm install
$ npm run build

You will now have various distributions of PouchDB in your dist folder, congratulations.

Note that the source code is in src/, which is built by Rollup as a Node module to lib/, which is then built by Browserify as a browser-ready UMD module to dist/. All of this logic is in bin/

Testing PouchDB

Running PouchDB tests is really simple (5 minutes), go to TESTING for instructions.

Debugging PouchDB

PouchDB uses the debug module for debug logging, to turn on the log output enable the debug flag in node:


Or in the browser:


Git Essentials

Workflows can vary, but here is a very simple workflow for contributing a bug fix:

$ git clone
$ git remote add pouchdb

$ git checkout -b 121-issue-keyword master
# Write tests + code
$ git add src/afile.js
$ git commit -m "(#121) - A brief description of what I changed"
$ git push origin 121-issue-keyword

Building PouchDB Documentation

The source for the website is stored inside the docs directory of the PouchDB repository, you can make changes and submit pull requests as with any other patch. To build and view the website locally you will need to install jekyll and a few other gems. Jekyll is installed using bundler so you need to install that first.

$ gem install bundler
$ npm run install-jekyll

If you haven't already done so, you'll also need to run npm install to pull in packages for the dev server:

$ npm install

Now you can build the site and start the dev server with:

$ npm run build-site

You should now find the documentation at

Writing a PouchDB Blog Post

Writing a blog post for PouchDB is exactly the same process as other contributions; all the blog posts are kept at We always welcome blog posts from new contributors!


  1. Open up an issue proposing the blog post if you need help getting ideas or structuring it.
  2. Add yourself as an author to (Make sure you have a Gravatar too.)
  3. Add a new blog post with the date that you expect it will be published (we can always change it later).
  4. Write something!
  5. Run npm run build-site and you will always have a fresh version of the site at localhost:4000. You may need to Cmd-Shift-R or Ctrl-Shift-R (hard refresh) to see the latest version, since we use AppCache.


With great power comes great responsibility yada yada yada:

  • Code is peer reviewed, you should (almost) never push your own code.
  • Please don't accidentally force push to master.
  • Cherry Pick / Rebase commits, don't use the big green button, see below for instructions on how to merge a pull request.
  • Ensure reviewed code follows the above contribution guidelines, if it doesn't feel free to amend and make note.
  • Please try to watch when Pull Requests are made and review and / or commit them in a timely manner.
  • After you merge in a patch use tin to update the version accordingly. Run tin -v x.x.x-prerelease with x.x.x being the previous version upgraded appropriately via semver. When we are ready to publish to npm we can remove the -prerelease.
  • Thanks, you are all awesome human beings.

How to merge a pull request

  • Go to the pouchdb repository on your machine
  • Get the link to the patch of the pull request, which can be found under 'view command line instructions' next to the green 'Merge pull request' button on the page on GitHub for the pull request
  • In your command line, run the following:
    • curl[PATCH NUMBER].patch | git am - && git push origin master, replacing [PATCH NUMBER] with the number of the patch you want to merge.
  • Close the pull request once it has been merged, so no-one accidentally tries to merge it themselves
  • Make sure the issue associated with the pull request is closed, if the issue was resolved by that pull request

Release Procedure

  • Copy the last release post from ./docs/_posts/, amend date and version and fill in release notes
  • Push release post
  • npm run set-version -- $VERSION
  • npm run release
  • Copy the dist/pouchdb* files from the $VERSION tag on github, paste the release notes and add the distribution files to Github Releases, rename pouchdb.min.js to pouchdb-$VERSION.min.js after you upload it.
  • Update docs/_config.yml to the current version
  • Push updated versions to master
  • npm run publish-site

To do a dry run release, you can run:

DRY_RUN=1 npm run release

To do a beta release to npm (using the dist-tag beta), do:

BETA=1 npm run release