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Other / Contributing to Bolt

Note: You are currently reading the documentation for Bolt 4.0. Looking for the documentation for Bolt 5.2 instead?

Whether you're a user of Bolt, a developer or both: contributing to Bolt is easy! This document shows what you can contribute and how to contribute to make it an even better product!

How you can contribute

Contributing docs or code

Basically this comes down to forking, branching and issuing pull requests. For some background information your can read this help/manual of GitHub.

Fixing particular issues

When you're going to work on a particular issue, be sure to make a separate branch for it as this allows for better separation between the issues you're working on. This also helps us analyzing pull requests and we simply cannot accept pull requests with a lot of fixes running across each other. We try to work in the following way (which is pretty common on GitHub projects):

  • Branch the repo you're basing the fix on. (This is often the master branch). A commonly used name for branches looks like "issue-<issue number>-<issue title>". This can then easily be identified.
  • Fix the issue and commit the files to your created branch. If needed, you can refer (see the supported synonyms or use #<issue number> to just refer to issues) to GitHub issue numbers in your commit message.
  • Push the branch to your own GitHub account.
  • Go to your GitHub account, switch to the branch you pushed and look for the pull request button.
  • Double-check if the changed files are correct.
  • Fill in a descriptive title and a description. In this field you can also refer to issues in the same way as in commits, shown above.
  • Now the waiting begins until your pull request is reviewed. This will result in the pull request either being discussed, accepted or rejected.

Creating a new feature

For a new feature there is a three step process:

Note: This obviously doesn't include bug fixes

Step 1 - RFC submission

Create a GitHub issue with the prefix of [RFC] in the subject line.


  • What the feature is
  • What the impacts are

Step 2 - RFC moved to Roadmap

Once approved, a core team member will add the feature and contributor's GitHub handle to the Roadmap wiki page

Step 3 - Feature implemented and merged into version -next

Once the feature window is open the contributor can submit a PR for review and merging.

Step by step guide to forking, branching and pushing

If you're not yet proficient with forking, branching and pushing your fix, here's a step- by-step guide: This example assumes that you have a GitHub account and uses the bolt code repository. The commands also hold for the other repositories. The only thing which should be changed is the repository url. The steps cover this help/manual of GitHub. Lines starting with # are comments, lines with $ are commands which you need to execute in your terminal.

  • Step 1: Go to https://github.com/bolt/core and click the fork button You now have your own bolt repository, named <your github username>/core. In my case this is bobdenotter/core.

  • Step 2: You now need to clone the project from your personal repository to your local machine to be able to work on it. Open up a terminal and navigate to the folder you'd like to put your project in. Clone the repository to your machine, like so:

    $ git clone https://github.com/<your github username>/core.git

  • Enter the project you've just cloned by changing to the folder just created:

    $ cd core

  • Step 3: Now you're in the project folder, you have a git root here. This root is in a hidden folder .git/. You now need to configure the bolt repository to be the source you want to get updates from. This is a remote repository called the 'upstream'. Add the upstream like so:

    $ git remote add upstream https://github.com/bolt/core.git

    You can now update your local version of bolt with the latest version of bolt of the official repository by fetching the code from the 'upstream' you've just added.

    $ git fetch upstream

    Now that the latest data is downloaded, you need to merge them in your own branch. If you're stepping through this, the following command is okay for now:

    $ git merge upstream/master

    The changes have now been applied and you've got the latest version of bolt.

  • Step 4: You can now push this version to your own GitHub account like so:

    $ git push origin master

    Where 'master' stands for your local branch (it is called the 'master' branch) and origin is the repository you've cloned from, which is your own GitHub repo.

  • Step 5: Branching. When you're ready to take on an issue, you should create a branch. If you're creating a branch of your master branch, make sure it's up to date (step 3). Let's say we want to take on issue #123 called "create login form". A branch name which can easily be identified would be "issue-123 -create-login-form". You can create it like so:

    $ git branch issue-123-create-login-form

    You're now working in a branch. Any commit you do while you're in this branch will be commited to this branch only.

  • Step 6: When you're done fixing, you can push your branch to a new branch in your GitHub repository by pushing your branch 'issue-123-create-login-form' to a new branch 'issue-123-login-form' to the destination 'origin' (your GitHub repo):

    $ git push origin issue-123-create-login-form:issue-123-create-login-form

  • Step 7: Go to the right repository (here: https://github.com/<username>/core) and switch to the branch 'issue-123 -create-login-form'. Then find the pull request button to create a pull request. In the pull request screen, you can do three things: you can view your commits, the changed files and fill in a title and description. First double-check if the changed files are the ones you've changed and want to contribute. (You can check the commits as well if you like to). Then fill in a descriptive title and a description (see "Pull Request Details" section below).

  • Step 8: When your pull request has been accepted and merged, you can delete the branch 'issue-123-create-login-form' as the files are now part of the 'upstream' repository of bolt. This means that you and the rest of the world automatically get those files when updating from upstream (git fetch upstream and merging it).

Pull Request Details (PR)

Details of your changes should be susinctly documented in the pull request. For new features it should include a short use case and justification.

Along with notating any issues the PR fixes, it should include mentions of any other PRs it depends on, and any relevant changelog updates.

As an example:

These changes stop kittens from crying due to poorly formatted CatNip requests.

Fixes #1024
Fixes #2048
Depends on #3072


* Feature: My change does something cool (see #1024)
* Fixed: Something that was broken (see #2048)
* Updated: FooBar library to v1.3.6

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