Contributing Guide

This guide documents ways to contribute to the Sick Muse project as well as the tools used to make that easier. The project source code and issue tracking is hosted on Github.

Getting the Source

You can clone the repository from Github:

git clone git://

However this checkout will be read only. If you want to contribute code you should create a fork and clone your fork. You can then add the main repository as a remote:

git clone<your-username>/sickmuse.git
git remote add upstream git://
git fetch upstream

Running the Debug Server

When running the server from inside the repo you can run the server via:

python -m

Similarly you can change the port with the --port option:

python -m --port=8000

Another helpful option for running locally is to use the --debug option:

python -m --debug

This will auto-reload the Python modules as they are changed as well as make it easier to manage CSS and JS changes which is described below.

Installing JS/CSS Libraries

The production version of Sick Muse ships with minified versions of the CSS and JS built from and including its static dependencies. To develop locally you will need the full versions of these libraries.

You may use the built-in Makefile to grab these. Behind the scenes this will use bower package manager:

# Install bower via NPM
npm install bower
# Install libraries with bower
make install-static

Building the CSS

The CSS used by Sick Muse is built using LESS. No changes should be made to the sickmuse.css directly. Instead changes should be made to the extensions.less file. After changes are made to extensions.less you can create the new compressed CSS with the Node based complier:

# Install less from the NPM package
npm install less
# Build compressed CSS
make build-css

When the server is running in debug mode it uses the client-side LESS compiler to make local development easier.

Building the JS

The JS used by Sick Muse uses RequireJS to manage its dependency loading and building the bundled version. Similar to the CSS, no changes should be made directly to the sickmuse-built.js. To build the bundled JS you will need the requirejs optimizer:

# Install requirejs from the NPM package
npm install requirejs
# Build compressed JS
make build-js

When the server is running in debug mode it uses the non-compressed version for easier debugging.

This project using JSHint for JS style and detecting problematic JS patterns:

# Install jshint from the NPM package
npm install jshint
# Build compressed JS
make lint-js

Building the Documentation

The docs are written in ReST and built using Sphinx. As noted above you can use tox to build the documentation or you can build them on their own via:

tox -e docs


make html

from inside the docs/ directory.

Submitting a Pull Request

The easiest way to contribute code or documentation changes is through a pull request. For information on submitting a pull request you can read the Github help page

Pull requests are a place for the code to be reviewed before it is merged. This review will go over the coding style as well as if it solves the problem indended and fits in the scope of the project. It may be a long discussion or it might just be a simple thank you.

Not necessarily every request will be merged but you should not take it personally if you change is not accepted. If you want to increase the chances of your change being incorporated then here are some tips.

  • Address a known issue. Preference is given to a request that fixes a currently open issue.
  • Include documentation and tests when appropriate. New features should be tested and documented. Bugfixes should include tests which demostrate the problem.
  • Keep it simple. It’s difficult to review a large block of code so try to keep the scope of the change small.

You should also feel free to ask for help writing tests or writing documentation if you aren’t sure how to go about it.