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Git workflow for Yii 2 contributors

So you want to contribute to Yii? Great! But to increase the chances of your changes being accepted quickly, please follow the following steps. If you are new to Git and GitHub, you might want to first check out GitHub help, try Git or learn something about Git internal data model.

Prepare your development environment

The following steps will create a development environment for Yii, which you can use to work on the core code of Yii framework. These steps only need to be done the first time you contribute.

1. Fork the Yii repository on GitHub and clone your fork to your development environment

git clone

If you have trouble setting up Git with GitHub in Linux, or are getting errors like "Permission Denied (publickey)", then you must setup your Git installation to work with GitHub

Tip: if you're not fluent with Git, we recommend reading excellent free Pro Git book.

2. Add the main Yii repository as an additional git remote called "upstream"

Change to the directory where you cloned Yii, normally, "yii2". Then enter the following command:

git remote add upstream git://

3. Prepare the testing environment

The following steps are not necessary if you want to work only on translations or documentation.

If you are going to work with JavaScript:

Note: JavaScript tests depend on jsdom library which requires Node.js 4 or newer. Using of Node.js 6 or 7 is more preferable.

  • run php build/build dev/app basic <fork> to clone the basic app and install composer dependencies for the basic app. <fork> is URL of your repository fork such as If you are core framework contributor you may skip specifying fork. This command will install foreign composer packages as normal but will link the yii2 repo to the currently checked out repo, so you have one instance of all the code installed.

    Do the same for the advanced app if needed: php build/build dev/app advanced <fork>.

    This command will also be used to update dependencies, it runs composer update internally.

Note: The default git repository Urls clone from github via SSH, you may add the --useHttp flag to the build command to use HTTPs instead.

Now you have a working playground for hacking on Yii 2.

The following steps are optional.

Unit tests

You can execute unit tests by running phpunit in the repo root directory. If you do not have phpunit installed globally you can run php vendor/bin/phpunit or vendor/bin/phpunit.bat in case of execution from the Windows OS.

Some tests require additional databases to be set up and configured. You can create tests/data/config.local.php to override settings that are configured in tests/data/config.php.

You may limit the tests to a group of tests you are working on e.g. to run only tests for the validators and redis phpunit --group=validators,redis. You get the list of available groups by running phpunit --list-groups.

You can execute JavaScript unit tests by running npm test in the repo root directory.


To work on extensions you have to clone the extension repository. We have created a command that can do this for you:

php build/build dev/ext <extension-name> <fork>

where <extension-name> is the name of the extension, e.g. redis and <fork> is URL of your extension fork such as If you are core framework contributor you may skip specifying fork.

If you want to test the extension in one of the application templates, just add it to the composer.json of the application as you would normally do e.g. add "yiisoft/yii2-redis": "~2.0.0" to the require section of the basic app. Running php build/build dev/app basic <fork> will install the extension and its dependencies and create a symlink to extensions/redis so you are not working in the composer vendor dir but in the yii2 repository directly.

Note: The default git repository Urls clone from github via SSH, you may add the --useHttp flag to the build command to use HTTPs instead.

Working on bugs and features

Having prepared your develop environment as explained above you can now start working on the feature or bugfix.

1. Make sure there is an issue created for the thing you are working on if it requires significant effort to fix

All new features and bug fixes should have an associated issue to provide a single point of reference for discussion and documentation. Take a few minutes to look through the existing issue list for one that matches the contribution you intend to make. If you find one already on the issue list, then please leave a comment on that issue indicating you intend to work on that item. If you do not find an existing issue matching what you intend to work on, please open a new issue or create a pull request directly if it is straightforward fix. This will allow the team to review your suggestion, and provide appropriate feedback along the way.

For small changes or documentation issues or straightforward fixes, you don't need to create an issue, a pull request is enough in this case.

2. Pull the latest code from the main Yii branch

git pull upstream

You should start at this point for every new contribution to make sure you are working on the latest code.

3. Create a new branch for your feature based on the current Yii master branch

That's very important since you will not be able to submit more than one pull request from your account if you'll use master.

Each separate bug fix or change should go in its own branch. Branch names should be descriptive and start with the number of the issue that your code relates to. If you aren't fixing any particular issue, just skip number. For example:

git checkout upstream/master
git checkout -b 999-name-of-your-branch-goes-here

4. Do your magic, write your code

Make sure it works :)

Unit tests are always welcome. Tested and well covered code greatly simplifies the task of checking your contributions. Failing unit tests as issue description are also accepted.

5. Update the CHANGELOG

Edit the CHANGELOG file to include your change, you should insert this at the top of the file under the first heading (the version that is currently under development), the line in the change log should look like one of the following:

Bug #999: a description of the bug fix (Your Name)
Enh #999: a description of the enhancement (Your Name)

#999 is the issue number that the Bug or Enh is referring to. The changelog should be grouped by type (Bug,Enh) and ordered by issue number.

For very small fixes, e.g. typos and documentation changes, there is no need to update the CHANGELOG.

6. Commit your changes

add the files/changes you want to commit to the staging area with

git add path/to/my/file.php

You can use the -p option to select the changes you want to have in your commit.

Commit your changes with a descriptive commit message. Make sure to mention the ticket number with #XXX so GitHub will automatically link your commit with the ticket:

git commit -m "A brief description of this change which fixes #999 goes here"

7. Pull the latest Yii code from upstream into your branch

git pull upstream master

This ensures you have the latest code in your branch before you open your pull request. If there are any merge conflicts, you should fix them now and commit the changes again. This ensures that it's easy for the Yii team to merge your changes with one click.

8. Having resolved any conflicts, push your code to GitHub

git push -u origin 999-name-of-your-branch-goes-here

The -u parameter ensures that your branch will now automatically push and pull from the GitHub branch. That means if you type git push the next time it will know where to push to. This is useful if you want to later add more commits to the pull request.

9. Open a pull request against upstream.

Go to your repository on GitHub and click "Pull Request", choose your branch on the right and enter some more details in the comment box. To link the pull request to the issue put anywhere in the pull comment #999 where 999 is the issue number.

Note that each pull-request should fix a single change. For multiple, unrelated changes, please open multiple pull requests.

10. Someone will review your code

Someone will review your code, and you might be asked to make some changes, if so go to step #6 (you don't need to open another pull request if your current one is still open). If your code is accepted it will be merged into the main branch and become part of the next Yii release. If not, don't be disheartened, different people need different features and Yii can't be everything to everyone, your code will still be available on GitHub as a reference for people who need it.

11. Cleaning it up

After your code was either accepted or declined you can delete branches you've worked with from your local repository and origin.

git checkout master
git branch -D 999-name-of-your-branch-goes-here
git push origin --delete 999-name-of-your-branch-goes-here


To detect regressions early every merge to the Yii codebase on GitHub will be picked up by Travis CI for an automated testrun. As core team doesn't wish to overtax this service, [ci skip] will be included to the merge description if the pull request:

  • affect javascript, css or image files only,
  • updates the documentation,
  • modify fixed strings only (e.g. translation updates)

Doing so will save travis from commencing testruns on changes that are not covered by tests in the first place.

Command overview (for advanced contributors)

git clone
git remote add upstream git://
git fetch upstream
git checkout upstream/master
git checkout -b 999-name-of-your-branch-goes-here

/* do your magic, update changelog if needed */

git add path/to/my/file.php
git commit -m "A brief description of this change which fixes #999 goes here"
git pull upstream master
git push -u origin 999-name-of-your-branch-goes-here