Contributing to ACME

We always welcome contributions to ACME! If you want to extend or modify ACME, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via our GitHub Issue Tracker. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Development Setup

You want to work on ACME? Great! Simply follow the steps below to get up and running (the instructions assume you are working on Linux/macOS - if you want to set up a Windows environment )

  1. Fork the ACME repo on GitHub as explained in Fork a repo

  2. Clone your shiny new fork on your local machine (or cluster node):

    git clone git://<your-github-profile>/acme.git
    cd acme
  3. Create a fresh conda environment for ACME:

    conda env create -f acme.yml
  4. Activate the environment and run ACME’s test-suite to ensure your system is set up correctly (for more details see ACME’s testing-README)

    cd tests/
    ./ pytest
  5. If everything looks fine, install ACME in “editable” mode. This creates a symlink to your local git repo in your environment’s site-packages directory (so you can import acme as if it was statically installed via pip)

    cd ../
    pip install -e .

Congratulations, you’re now ready to start tweaking ACME!

Development Pipeline

We use feature branches for development with a dedicated development branch [dev] used to collect all “production-ready” features ahead of an upcoming release. To get your feature included in ACME’s upstream code, please create a new branch from [dev] in your fork and push your work to this branch. Once you’re done with your changes, please launch a full test-run to ensure ACME’s proper functionality:

cd tests/
./ pytest

Similarly, please use a static code checker to verify ACME’s source code integrity. By default, our development environment comes with mypy. To perform the static code analysis with mypy, open a terminal, go to the root directory of your local ACME repository and run:

mypy acme --allow-redefinition

Once all checks pass and you are happy with your modifications please open a pull request for merging in the [dev] branch of ACME’s main repository.

Coding Style

ACME generally follows the PEP 8 Style Guide and uses the NumPy-Doc conventions to format docstrings.

To keep commit logs transparent, we are using three-letter tags to classify commit messages:

  • FIX bugfix commit

  • CHG change(s) in functionality

  • NEW feature addition(s)

  • REM feature/functionality removed

  • WIP work-in-progress commit, code not yet functional

  • DOC modifications in documentation

Each commit should ideally only use a single tag, specifically, please try to not mix feature additions (NEW) and bugfixes (FIX). To add context to a commit message, we use git’s command line interface for committing and simply un-comment the auto-generated “Changes to be committed” section. To further help others retrace our steps, we usually refer to GitHub issues by their number prepended with the “#” symbol. Here’s an example:

FIX: Addresses bug in this_function

- the problem was fixed by doing something incredibly smart
  in `this_function`
- in the process another bug was fixed too
- closes #4

Changes to be committed:
    modified:   path/to/file1
    modified:   path/to/file2


To build ACME’s HTML documentation, activate the development environment created above, navigate to the doc folder of the main repository and run Sphinx:

conda activate acme
cd doc/
make html

The generated output is found in doc/build/html. Opening the file index.html in a web browser opens the documentation’s landing page. Click on links to navigate to other sections or simply use the search box. For more information about Sphinx and reStructuredText see Using Sphinx and its reStructuredText Primer.


We keep track of changes in ACME by keeping a global changelog inspired by Keep a Changelog. The structure of ACME’s changelog follows the exemplary layout below:

# Changelog of ACME
All notable changes to this project will be documented in this file.
The format is based on [Keep a Changelog](

## [Unreleased]
### NEW
- Updated documentation

- repaired bug in `this_function` (closes #4)

## [0.0.1] - 2023-03-01
Bugfix release.

- Updated `this_function`

Feel free to add a short summary of your changes in the appropriate sections under [Unreleased].