Contributing Code

As an open source project, Boa Constrictor welcomes contributions from the community. This step-by-step guide explains how to set up the project and make code contributions.

Where Do I Start? Sometimes, joining a new project can feel overwhelming or intimidating. Never fear, if you are reading this doc, then you are in the right place! There are many ways to contribute to Boa Constrictor, such as opening issues, adding comments, and creating pull requests for code changes. Start by reading this guide, reading the Code of Conduct, and perusing open issues to see where you can help. You can also contact Pandy Knight for help.

1. Following the Code of Conduct

All contributors must abide by the Code of Conduct. Anyone who violates the code of conduct may be banned from the project and the community.

2. Opening Issues

The Boa Constrictor project uses GitHub Issues to track work items and welcome communication from members of the community. Please open a new issue against the Boa Constrictor project if you want to:

  • Report a bug
  • Request a new feature
  • Propose an idea
  • Ask a question

Project maintainers will reply to issues in comments. Others in the community are also welcome to comment. If you want to work on an issue, please ask in the comments before starting the work.

3. Forking the Repository

If you want to make code contributions to Boa Constrictor, start by forking the repository on GitHub. That way, you can make changes to the code without affecting the original repository. Later, after you make changes in your forked repository, you can propose to merge those changes into the main repository using a pull request.

If forks are new to you, then you can learn about them from Working with forks in the GitHub docs.

4. Setting Up the .NET Solution

Boa Constrictor is implemented in C#. To work on the Boa Constrictor code, you will need to clone your forked repository to your development machine using Git. The recommended editor/IDE is Microsoft Visual Studio. Simply open Boa.Constrictor.sln in Visual Studio to open the solution and get to work!

You must also add WebDriver executables to your system PATH for target browsers. For example, if you wish to use Google Chrome as your browser, then you will need to install ChromeDriver. Make sure browser and driver versions align because older versions are not always compatible with each other!

5. Running Tests

After you set up the solution, and also after making each code change, try running the unit tests to make sure everything works correctly. Unit tests are located in the Boa.Constrictor.UnitTests project. They are written using NUnit. They can be executed from Visual Studio using Test Explorer or from the command line using the NUnit Console. Unit tests must pass for every pull request. They do not require WebDriver executables.

The Boa.Constrictor.Example project also contains tests, but they are not unit tests. Instead, they are example tests for the tutorial, and they do require WebDriver executables. If you simply check out the repository and try to run all tests without setting up WebDriver, then the Boa.Constrictor.Example tests will fail. Nevertheless, you should run these tests in addition to the unit tests when doing WebDriver work because they are de facto integration tests for WebDriver-based interactions.

6. Creating Branches

The Boa Constrictor repository uses the Feature Branch Workflow. The main version of code is in the main branch. To make a change, create a new branch off main, and commit all changes to that new branch. Later, you can open a pull request to merge those changes into the original repository’s main branch.

Use sensible names with appropriate prefixes for branch names. For example, names like feature/add-mobile-interactions and bugfix/readme-typos would be good, whereas names like fix or do_stuff would be bad.

If branches are new to you, then you can learn about them from About branches and Creating and deleting branches within your repository in the GitHub docs.

7. Making Code Changes

Commit code changes to your branch. Include concise, helpful messages in each commit. Squashing commits is recommended but not required.

Along with your code changes, update the [Unreleased] section of CHANGELOG.md with a concise description of your changes. Follow the format of Keep a Changelog. Put your description under the appropriate type heading: Added, Changed, Deprecated, Fixed, Removed, or Security.

8. Writing Docs

Boa Constrictor uses GitHub Pages to publish documentation. GitHub Pages uses Jekyll, a static site generator written in Ruby, to turn Markdown files into web pages hosted by GitHub. Boa Constrictor’s doc site address is https://q2ebanking.github.io/boa-constrictor/.

The Boa Constrictor project treats documentation as code. The doc site is built using the files under the /docs directory. You can make small updates to the docs by directly editing the Markdown files together with your other code changes. However, if you want to make deeper changes to the docs (such as theme changes), you should probably set up Ruby and Jekyll on your development machine to test changes locally. Either way, when changes are merged into the main branch, GitHub will generate and deploy the updated docs.

Please consider adding new user guides for new features and advanced tricks. Each user guide should be a concise article covering one concern with helpful example code. The collection of user guides together should provide comprehensive documentation in a way that can easily scale as the project grows. All user guides should be located under /docs/pages/user-guides, and they should be included for navigation in /docs/_data/navigation.xml.

To learn more about developing static sites with GitHub Pages and Jekyll, read the official GitHub Pages guides.

9. Handling Logos

Boa Constrictor’s logo assets are located under the /logos directory. They were originally designed and created by Tia Nieland from Q2’s Brand and Design team. You may use the logos for docs, web pages, stickers, etc. Please ask other maintainers before making any changes to logo image assets. Furthermore, please do not edit the original files - make copies with changes instead.

10. Opening Pull Requests

Once your changes are complete, push your branch to your forked repository and open a pull request from your fork to the original repository. Maintainers will review all pull requests. The Boa Constrictor repository’s GitHub Actions will automatically trigger unit tests and code analysis for every pull request.

Here are guidelines for opening good pull requests:

  • Focus on one primary change or concern per pull request.
  • Merge the latest changes from the main branch into your branch before opening the pull request to avoid merge conflicts.
  • Include explanations for the code change.
  • Link any relevant issues.
  • Make sure unit tests pass.
  • Answer review feedback promptly.

Once maintainers approve your pull request, they will merge the code. Then, you can move onto the next change!

If pull requests are new to you, then you can learn about them from Collaborating with issues and pull requests in the GitHub docs.

11. Releasing NuGet Packages

Boa Constrictor is released publicly as the Boa.Constrictor NuGet package. Package versions follow Semantic Versioning.

This repository has a GitHub Action named nuget-push.yml that will automatically build and publish the Boa.Constrictor NuGet package to NuGet.org whenever the project version changes in Boa.Constrictor.csproj in the main branch.

To release a new package, maintainers must:

  1. Create a milestone for the new version in GitHub.
  2. Mark all included issues and pull requests for the milestone.
  3. Run tests to make sure the code is good to ship.
  4. Open a pull request into the main branch to set the new version.
    • Update the Version field in Boa.Constrictor.csproj.
    • Add a new entry for the new version in CHANGELOG.md.
    • Move the changelog’s [Unreleased] section contents to the new version’s section.
  5. Review, approve, and merge the pull request into main.
  6. Verify the GitHub Action to publish the package completes successfully.
  7. Close the milestone in GitHub.

Please also note that the solution’s README.md and LICENSE.mdmust be written in pure Markdown (with no HTML) because NuGet.org publishes their contents to the package’s NuGet page.

12. Understanding Different Roles

A contributor is anyone who opens an issue or submits a pull request to the Boa Constrictor repository. Anyone can become a contributor by following this guide.

A maintainer is a regular contributor who helps guide the Boa Constrictor project. Maintainers have write access to the repository and review code changes. To express interest in becoming a maintainer, please contact Pandy Knight.

An administrator is a contributor who maintains operations for Boa Constrictor’s GitHub repository. Administrators handle things like permissions, groups, and policies. To keep privileges separate, maintainers should not be administrators. (For example, a maintainer should not be able to change settings to bypass code reviews.)