Contributing Guide

Thank you for considering contributing to DIYbiosphere! The project depends on the participation of the DIYbio community.

There are many ways you can contribute, from adding and editing entries, writing tutorials, improving the documentation, submitting bug and broken link reports, feature requests or writing code to better the website. You can submit questions as issues, but please consider first posing your question in Gitter or Slack, where you can also directly message other contributors.

Ground Rules

By contributing, you agree to abide to our Code of Conduct (COC) and consent to our Contributor Terms (CT) set by our Terms of Use (aka Copyright).

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)

  • COC: Be kind and respectful. Gross, rude or inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated. Confront wrongdoers directly or report them to the board of directors.
  • CT: You freely share your contributions to the Repository under the MIT license. If your contributions are displayed in the website, you freely waive authorship rights of these contributions (public domain; CC0), otherwise you will specify their copyright. You will also note contributions on behalf of third parties and specify their copyright.

Getting Started

All you need is a GitHub account (sign up). You also need to know some programming syntax, depending whether you contribute to the entries, documentation, or the software.

Your First Contribution

For writing entries you can just follow our tutorials for adding or editing entries. If you are a member, you have write access to the master branch and can edit directly. Ask to join by submitting an issue requesting membership.

If you are planning on making many changes to different files consider doing them all at once in your own fork, branch before submitting a pull request. Alternatively, look at how you can contribute like a pro by working locally in your computer.

Contributing Like a Pro

Although you can make changes to files in GitHub, it is much more easy, convenient, and powerful to do work on your computer locally. Follow our tutorial for installing everything you need.

Submitting Issues and Pull Requests

If you are submitting an issue or a pull request a template will automatically appear in the description text. Read it and follow the instructions there before deleting the text in the template and adding your own text.

Code Review Process

Members of the DIYbiophere organization have permission to merge all pull requests and directly write into the master branch.


All PRs must pass the Travis check or else merging is not possible (admins can force a merge). Check the Travis log to check for any errors on the build. Make changes, and commit them to your PR until the check passes. If you are unsure what the problem is, don’t hesitate to ask the community for help!

Push to Website

The website is rendered from the gh-pages branch. Commits to the master branch will trigger Travis to:

  1. build the website using jekyll
  2. push entries to the Algolia index (the search API)
  3. push rendered _site folder to gh-pages branch

Builds can take up to 10 minutes, so be patient. You won’t be able to observe changes in the website until the push to gh-pages is successful. Even then, it might take a few minutes to show. :unamused:

Conventions on Commit Messages

Good commits speed the reviewing process and facilitate tracking past changes. If you are making many changes that are unrelated, or your commit title has the word “and”, split the commits! Please follow these guidelines for your commit messages:

  1. Title: Describe the change and why it was necessary. Use imperative (like ‘Add’ not ‘Added’), Capitalize first letter, don’t end with period, and limit to 50 characters.
  2. Comments: Describe in further detail why the change was made and how. If addressing an Issue link to it!


Open Comments Issue in GitHub