Developers’ Guide


  1. The documentation guide (how to write a good documentation, naming conventions, docstring examples) is in the Documentation Guide.
  2. We highly recommend to get in touch with us (see Get in touch with us) before starting to implement a new feature in Elephant. This way, we can point out synergies with complementary efforts and help in designing your implementation such that its integration into Elephant will be an easy process.
  3. If you experience any problems during one of the steps below, please contact us and we’ll help you.
  1. Follow the instructions in Prerequisites to setup a clean conda environment. To be safe, run:

    $ pip uninstall elephant

    to uninstall elephant in case you’ve installed it previously as a pip package.

  2. Fork Elephant as described in Fork a repo. Download Elephant source code from your forked repo:

    $ git clone git://<your-github-profile>/elephant.git
    $ cd elephant
  3. Install the requirements (either via pip or conda):

pip install -r requirements/requirements.txt
pip install -r requirements/requirements-extras.txt  # optional
pip install -r requirements/requirements-tests.txt
conda env create -f requirements/environment.yml
conda activate elephant
pip install -r requirements/requirements-tests.txt
  1. Before you make any changes, run the test suite to make sure all the tests pass on your system:

    $ nosetests .

    You can specify a particular module to test, for example

    $ nosetests elephant/test/

    At the end, if you see “OK”, then all the tests passed (or were skipped because certain dependencies are not installed), otherwise it will report on tests that failed or produced errors.

  2. Implement the functional you want to add in Elephant. This includes (either of them):

    • fixing a bug;
    • improving the documentation;
    • adding a new functionality.
  3. If it is a new functionality, please write:

    • documentation (refer to Documentation Guide);
    • tests to cover your new functions as much as possible.
  4. Run the tests again as described in step 4.

  5. Commit your changes:

    $ git add .
    $ git commit -m "informative commit message"
    $ git push

    If this is your first commit to the project, please add your name and affiliation/employer to doc/authors.rst

  6. Open a pull request. Then we’ll merge your code in Elephant.