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Contributing to node-bunyan

Thanks for using node-bunyan and for considering contributing to it! Or perhaps you are just here to get a sniff for what is going on with node-bunyan development.

How you can help

If you want to help me here, great! Thank you! Some ideas:

  • Do you have experience with and/or recommendations for a good automated testing service? Ideally I'd like support for Mac, Linux, SmartOS, and maybe Windows. Also, support for node.js versions 0.10 up to whatever the current latest is. Are those too tall an order? What's more, Bunyan is meant to work (at least partially) in the browser. Is there a good service for that? Please discuss on issue #342.

  • Fielding issues labelled with "Type-Question", if you are familiar with Bunyan and know how to answer them, would be great.

  • If you want to dive into code, but aren't that familiar with node-bunyan, then issues labelled with Experience-Easy are a good place to start.

  • Once I've made a once over triaging and consolodating issues and PRs, volunteering for issues in a particular component with which you have familiarity would be great.

Trent's Biased Rules for Code

In the hope that it makes it easier to get PRs into Bunyan, here is my biased list of what I typically want. Submitting a PR without all of these is totally fine! The only side-effect is that it may take longer for me to provide feedback on it and merge it. I'll politely request missing pieces.

  • Please follow existing code style. Contributed code must pass make check. (Note: I intended to change to eslint soon, so currently make check might be a moving target.)

  • Any user visible change in behaviour should almost certainly include an update to the docs. Currently the "docs" is the

  • Adding a test case for code changes is stronly recommended, else I can't easily promise to not break your fix/feature later. If you don't grok the test suite, please ask. We can use it to form the basis for a "test/".

  • Typically a code change should have an associated issue or PR. This allows addition of follow-up issues, discussion, test data, etc. to be associated with the commit. Just using GitHub pull requests makes this easy.

  • All but the most trivial code changes should have an addition to the changelog. The audience for the changelog is Bunyan users. However, because rebasing longer-lived PRs against master is a pain with a change to, please do not include a change in your PR. Instead suggest a addition in a comment on the PR.

  • Good commit messages, please:

    • The first line should be a succinct summary of the issue or fix. A good candidate is to just cut 'n paste the issue title, if there is one.
    • If the commit is for a particular issue/PR (see previous rule), please list the issue number in the commit message. E.g. "Fixes #123" or "Related to #234".
    • The audience for commit messages is Bunyan developers.

Pull Request Lifecycle

(Language adapted from terraform.)

  • You are welcome to submit your pull request for commentary or review before it is fully completed. Please prefix the title of your pull request with "[WIP]" to indicate this. It's also a good idea to include specific questions or items you'd like feedback on.

  • Once you believe your pull request is ready to be merged, you can remove any "[WIP]" prefix from the title and a core team member will review. See Trent's Biased Rules above to help ensure that your contribution will be merged quickly.

  • Trent or, if things go well, a node-bunyan maintainer will look over your contribution and either provide comments letting you know if there is anything left to do. Please be patient. Unfortunately, I'm not able to carve out a lot of time for Bunyan development and maintenance.

  • Once all outstanding comments and checklist items have been addressed, your contribution will be merged. Merged PRs will be included in the next node-bunyan release.

  • In some cases, we might decide that a PR should be closed. We'll make sure to provide clear reasoning when this happens.

Issue labels

The point of issue labeling for node-bunyan is to help answer "what should be worked on now? what can be left for later?" I don't want issue labelling to become a burden for anyone, so (a) don't feel obliged to add them yourself and (b) I'm happy to reevaluate their usage.

Bunyan shall have categories of issue labels named "$category-$value". An issue should have max one label from each set. Users of Google Code's dearly departed issue tracker may remember this kind of thing. This is a poorman's version of structured issue tracker metadata.

I'm inclined to not do priorities right now. Possibly we'll use GitHub milestones to basically set targets for upcoming releases. But otherwise my sense is that for smaller OSS projects, assigning prios will get in the way. If people would think it helpful, I'd consider "Difficulty-" or "Experience-" categories (a la Rust's "E-" labels) to mark easier and intermediate tasks that someone interested but maybe not very familiar with Bunyan might want to tackle.

For now, here are the various labels and their purpose:


  • needstriage: Temporary label to help me do a single triage pass through all current open issues and PRs. See #335 where I'm working through this.


Color: green

  • Type-Unknown: If it is still unclear or undecided if an issue is an intended feature (perhaps arguing for better docs or examples to avoid confusion) or a bug, I will use this category.
  • Type-Question: Asking a question on Bunyan usage, about the project, etc.
  • Type-Bug: A bug in Bunyan's behaviour.
  • Type-Improvement: A new feature or other improvement.
  • Type-Doc: Issues with Bunyan's documentation.
  • Type-Task: A project task to be done.

TODO: consider Type-Unknown for the "unclear if bug or feature" tickets.


Color: blue

  • Component-Project: Project meta stuff like testing, linting, build, install, etc.
  • Component-CLI: The bunyan command-line tool.
  • Component-Lib: catch-all for other library stuff
    • Component-LibRotation: The bunyan library's log rotation support.
    • Component-LibBrowser: Bunyan's handling/support for running in the browser.
    • Component-LibFlush: A separate component for collecting the tickets related to closing/flushing bunyan streams on process shutdown.

The point of components is to find like issues to help with reference, search and resolving them. If no component fits an issue/PR, then don't add a label.


Color: red

  • Resolution-WontFix
  • Resolution-Duplicate
  • Resolution-Fixed: Also used to indicate "doc written", "question answered", "feature implemented".
  • Resolution-CannotRepro: After some reasonable attempt by maintainers to reproduce a bug report, I want it to be non-controversial to close it and mark it with this. If given more info by someone able to repro, we can happy re-open issues.


Color: yellow

  • Experience-Easy: Relatively little experience with node-bunyan should be required to complete this issue.
  • Experience-NeedsTest: Typically added to an issue or PR that needs a test case. Someone familiar enough with node-bunyan's test suite could tackle this.
  • Experience-Hard: At a guess, this is a thorny issue that requires known node-bunyan well, knowing node.js well, requires design review or all of these.

One of the "Experience-*" labels can optionally be put on an issue or PR to indicate what kind of experience a contributor would need with node-bunyan (and/or node.js) to complete it. For example, if you're looking for somewhere to start, check out the Experience-Easy tag. This category idea is borrowed from rust's E-* labels.


Anything good about this document is thanks to inspiration from rust and, more recently terraform. Anything bad about it, is my fault.

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