3. Developers Guide

3.1. Contributing Guide

Contributions are welcome and greatly appreciated!

3.1.1. Workflow

A bug-fix or enhancement is delivered using a pull request. A good pull request should cover one bug-fix or enhancement feature. This ensures the change set is easier to review and less likely to need major re-work or even be rejected.

The workflow that developers typically use to fix a bug or add enhancements is as follows.

  • Fork the rastrea2r_server repo into your account.

  • Obtain the source by cloning it onto your development machine.

    $ git clone git@github.com:your_name_here/rastrea2r_server.git
    $ cd rastrea2r_server
  • Create a branch for local development:

    $ git checkout -b name-of-your-bugfix-or-feature

    Now you can make your changes locally.

  • Familiarize yourself with the developer convenience rules in the Makefile.

    $ make help
  • Create and activate a Python virtual environment for local development.

    $ make venv
    $ source path/to/<venv-name>/bin/activate
    (venv) $

    The rule creates the virtual environment outside the project directory so that it never accidentally gets added to the change set.


    (venv) is used to indicate when the commands should be run within the virtual environment containing the development dependencies.

  • Develop fix or enhancement:

    • Make a fix or enhancement (e.g. modify a class, method, function, module, etc).

    • Update an existing unit test or create a new unit test module to verify the change works as expected.

    • Run the test suite.

      (venv) $ make test

      See the Testing section for more information on testing.

    • Check code coverage of the area of code being modified.

      (venv) $ make check-coverage

      Review the output produced in docs/source/coverage/coverage.html. Add additional test steps, where practical, to improve coverage.

    • The change should be style compliant. Perform style check.

      (venv) $ make check-style

      See the Code Style section for more information.

    • The change should include type annotations where appropriate. Perform type annotations check.

      (venv) $ make check-types

      See the Type Annotations section for more information.

    • Fix any errors or regressions.

  • The docs and the change log should be updated for anything but trivial bug fixes. Perform docs check.

    (venv) $ make docs

    See the Documentation section for more information.

  • Commit and push changes to your fork.

    $ git add .
    $ git commit -m "A detailed description of the changes."
    $ git push origin name-of-your-bugfix-or-feature

    A pull request should preferably only have one commit upon the current master HEAD, (via rebases and squash).

  • Submit a pull request through the service website (e.g. Github, Gitlab).

  • Check automated continuous integration steps all pass. Fix any problems if necessary and update the pull request.

3.2. Testing

The rastrea2-server project implements a regression test suite that improves developer productivity by identifying capability regressions early.

Developers implementing fixes or enhancements must ensure that they have not broken existing functionality. The rastrea2-server project provides some convenience tools so this testing step can be quickly performed.

Use the Makefile convenience rules to run the tests.

(venv) $ make test

To run tests verbosely use:

(venv) $ make test-verbose

Alternatively, you may want to run the tests suite directly. The following steps assume you are running in a virtual environment in which the rastrea2r_server package has been installed. If this is not the case then you will likely need to set the PYTHONPATH environment variable so that the rastrea2r_server package can be found.

(venv) $ cd tests
(venv) $ python -m unittest

Individual unit tests can be run also.

(venv) $ python -m test_basic

3.3. Coverage

The coverage tool can be run to collect code test coverage metrics.

Use the Makefile convenience rule to run the tests.

(venv) $ make check-coverage

The test code coverage report can be found here

3.4. Code Style

Adopting a consistent code style assists with maintenance. This project uses the code style formatter called Black. A Makefile convenience rule to enforce code style compliance is available.

(venv) $ make style

3.5. Type Annotations

The code base contains type annotations to provide helpful type information that can improve code maintenance.

Use the Makefile convenience rule to check no issues are reported.

(venv) $ make check-types

3.6. Documentation

To rebuild this project’s documentation, developers should use the Makefile in the top level directory. It performs a number of steps to create a new set of sphinx html content.

(venv) $ make docs

To quickly check consistency of ReStructuredText files use the dummy run which does not actually generate HTML content.

(venv) $ make check-docs

To quickly view the HTML rendered docs, start a simple web server and open a browser to

(venv) $ make serve-docs

3.7. Release Process

The following steps are used to make a new software release.

The steps assume they are executed from within a development virtual environment.

  • Check that the package version label in __init__.py is correct.

  • Create and push a repo tag to Github. As a convention use the package version number (e.g. YY.MM.MICRO) as the tag.

    $ git checkout master
    $ git tag YY.MM.MICRO -m "A meaningful release tag comment"
    $ git tag  # check release tag is in list
    $ git push --tags origin master
    • This will trigger Github to create a release at: