Development Setup Notes

The following are some useful notes for setting up an environment to work on coala.


We highly recommend installing coala in a virtualenv for development. This will allow you to have a contained environment in which to modify coala, separate from any other installation of coala that you may not want to break. For more information about virtualenvs, please refer to the virtualenv setup section for information on setting one up.


If you are interested in contributing to coala, we recommend that you read our newcomers’ guide to familiarize yourself with our workflow, and perhaps with GitHub itself.

You will most likely need to work only in the coala or coala-bears repository. The former is the core of coala, and the latter contains the set of standard bears. You can fork and clone the repositories from:

Installing from Git

We recommend first installing the latest development snapshot of coala’s master branch from and all of its dependencies with pip using

(venv)$ git clone
(venv)$ cd coala
(venv)$ pip3 install -e .
(venv)$ cd -
(venv)$ git clone
(venv)$ cd coala-bears
(venv)$ pip3 install -e .

Then you can install a repository-backed version of the repository you would like to modify using

(venv)$ pip3 install -e <path/to/clone>

You will then be able to edit the repository and have the changes take effect in your virtualenv immediately. You will also be able to use pip to manage your installation of the package should you need to install from a different source in the future.

Building Documentation

You should run this command before trying to build the documentation:

(venv)$ pip3 install -r docs-requirements.txt

Once you have done so, you can build the documentation by entering the docs directory and running make. The documentation on the coala website is in the coala (not coala-bears) repository.