Contributing to pycsw

The pycsw project openly welcomes contributions (bug reports, bug fixes, code enhancements/features, etc.). This document will outline some guidelines on contributing to pycsw. As well, pycsw community is a great place to get an idea of how to connect and participate in pycsw community and development.

pycsw has the following modes of contribution:

  • GitHub Commit Access
  • GitHub Pull Requests

Contributions and Licensing

Contributors are asked to confirm that they comply with project license guidelines.

GitHub Commit Access

GitHub Pull Requests

Contributions and Licensing Agreement Template

Hi all, I'd like to contribute <feature X|bugfix Y|docs|something else> to pycsw. I confirm that my contributions to pycsw will be compatible with the pycsw license guidelines at the time of contribution.


Code, tests, documentation, wiki and issue tracking are all managed on GitHub. Make sure you have a GitHub account.

Code Overview

  • the pycsw wiki documents an overview of the codebase


  • documentation is managed in docs/, in reStructuredText format
  • Sphinx is used to generate the documentation
  • See the reStructuredText Primer on rST markup and syntax.


pycsw’s issue tracker is the place to report bugs or request enhancements. To submit a bug be sure to specify the pycsw version you are using, the appropriate component, a description of how to reproduce the bug, as well as what version of Python and platform. For convenience, you can run -c get_sysprof and copy/paste the output into your issue.

Forking pycsw

Contributions are most easily managed via GitHub pull requests. Fork pycsw into your own GitHub repository to be able to commit your work and submit pull requests.


GitHub Commit Guidelines

  • enhancements and bug fixes should be identified with a GitHub issue
  • commits should be granular enough for other developers to understand the nature / implications of the change(s)
  • for trivial commits that do not need Travis CI to run, include [ci skip] as part of the commit message
  • non-trivial Git commits shall be associated with a GitHub issue. As documentation can always be improved, tickets need not be opened for improving the docs
  • Git commits shall include a description of changes
  • Git commits shall include the GitHub issue number (i.e. #1234) in the Git commit log message
  • all enhancements or bug fixes must successfully pass all OGC CITE tests before they are committed
  • all enhancements or bug fixes must successfully pass all Tester tests before they are committed
  • enhancements which can be demonstrated from the pycsw Tester should be accompanied by example CSW request XML

Coding Guidelines

  • pycsw instead of PyCSW, pyCSW, Pycsw
  • always code with PEP 8 conventions
  • always run source code through pep8 and pylint, using all pylint defaults except for C0111. sbin/ is included for convenience
  • for exceptions which make their way to OGC ExceptionReport XML, always specify the appropriate locator and code parameters
  • the pycsw wiki documents developer tasks for things like releasing documentation, testing, etc.

Submitting a Pull Request

This section will guide you through steps of working on pycsw. This section assumes you have forked pycsw into your own GitHub repository.

# setup a virtualenv
$ virtualenv mypycsw && cd mypycsw
$ . ./bin/activate
# clone the repository locally
$ git clone
$ cd pycsw
$ pip install -e . && pip install -r requirements-standalone.txt
# add the main pycsw master branch to keep up to date with upstream changes
$ git remote add upstream
$ git pull upstream master
# create a local branch off master
# The name of the branch should include the issue number if it exists
$ git branch 72-foo
$ git checkout 72-foo
# make code/doc changes
$ git commit -am 'fix xyz (#72-foo)'
$ git push origin 72-foo

Your changes are now visible on your pycsw repository on GitHub. You are now ready to create a pull request. A member of the pycsw team will review the pull request and provide feedback / suggestions if required. If changes are required, make them against the same branch and push as per above (all changes to the branch in the pull request apply).

The pull request will then be merged by the pycsw team. You can then delete your local branch (on GitHub), and then update your own repository to ensure your pycsw repository is up to date with pycsw master:

$ git checkout master
$ git pull upstream master