Contributing code

Like every open-source project, django CMS is always looking for motivated individuals to contribute to its source code.

In a nutshell

Here’s what the contribution process looks like in brief:

  1. django CMS is hosted on GitHub, at
  2. The best method to contribute back is to create an account there, then fork the project. You can use this fork as if it was your own project, and should push your changes to it.
  3. When you feel your code is good enough for inclusion, “send us a pull request”, by using the nice GitHub web interface.

See the Contributing a patch how-to document for a walk-through of this process.

Basic requirements and standards

If you’re interested in developing a new feature for the CMS, it is recommended that you first discuss it on the django-cms-developers mailing list so as not to do any work that will not get merged in anyway.

  • Code will be reviewed and tested by at least one core developer, preferably by several. Other community members are welcome to give feedback.
  • Code must be tested. Your pull request should include unit-tests (that cover the piece of code you’re submitting, obviously)
  • Documentation should reflect your changes if relevant. There is nothing worse than invalid documentation.
  • Usually, if unit tests are written, pass, and your change is relevant, then it’ll be merged.

Since we’re hosted on GitHub, django CMS uses git as a version control system.

The GitHub help is very well written and will get you started on using git and GitHub in a jiffy. It is an invaluable resource for newbies and old timers alike.

Syntax and conventions


We try to conform to PEP8 as much as possible. A few highlights:

  • Indentation should be exactly 4 spaces. Not 2, not 6, not 8. 4. Also, tabs are evil.
  • We try (loosely) to keep the line length at 79 characters. Generally the rule is “it should look good in a terminal-base editor” (eg vim), but we try not be too inflexible about it.

HTML, CSS and JavaScript

As of django CMS 3.2, we are using the same guidelines as described in Aldryn Boilerplate

Frontend code should be formatted for readability. If in doubt, follow existing examples, or ask.

JS Linting

JavaScript is linted using ESLint. In order to run the linter you need to do this:

gulp lint

Or you can also run the watcher by just running gulp.


This is how you fix a bug or add a feature:

  1. fork us on GitHub.
  2. Checkout your fork.
  3. Hack hack hack, test test test, commit commit commit, test again.
  4. Push to your fork.
  5. Open a pull request.

And at any point in that process, you can add: discuss discuss discuss, because it’s always useful for everyone to pass ideas around and look at things together.

Running and writing tests is really important: a pull request that lowers our testing coverage will only be accepted with a very good reason; bug-fixing patches must demonstrate the bug with a test to avoid regressions and to check that the fix works.

We have an IRC channel, our django-cms-developers email list, and of course the code reviews mechanism on GitHub - do use them.

If you don’t have an IRC client, you can join our IRC channel using the KiwiIRC web client, which works pretty well.



When we refer to the frontend here, we only mean the frontend of django CMS’s admin/editor interface.

The frontend of a django CMS website, as seen by its visitors (i.e. the published site), is wholly independent of this. django CMS places almost no restrictions at all on the frontend - if a site can be described in HTML/CSS/JavaScript, it can be developed in django CMS.

In order to be able to work with the frontend tooling contributing to the django CMS you need to have the following dependencies installed:

  1. Node version 0.12.7 (will install npm as well). We recommend using NVM to get the correct version of Node.
  2. Globally installed gulp
  3. Local dependencies npm install


We use Sass for our styles. The files are located within cms/static/cms/sass and can be compiled using the libsass implementation of Sass compiler through Gulp.

In order to compile the stylesheets you need to run this command from the repo root:

gulp sass

While developing it is also possible to run a watcher that compiles Sass files on change:


By default, source maps are not included in the compiled files. In order to turn them on while developing just add the --debug option:

gulp --debug


We are using gulp-iconfont to generate icon web fonts into cms/static/cms/fonts/. This also creates _iconography.scss within cms/static/cms/sass/components which adds all the icon classes and ultimately compiles to CSS.

In order to compile the web font you need to run:

gulp icons

This simply takes all SVGs within cms/static/cms/fonts/src and embeds them into the web font. All classes will be automatically added to _iconography.scss as previously mentioned.

Additionally we created an SVG template within cms/static/cms/font/src/_template.svgz that you should use when converting or creating additional icons. It is named svgz so it doesn’t get compiled into the font. When using Adobe Illustrator please mind the following settings.

JS Bundling

JavaScript files are split up for easier development, but in the end they are bundled together and minified to decrease amount of requests made and improve performance. In order to do that we use gulp task runner, where bundle command is available. We use Webpack <>_ for bundling JavaScript files. Configuration for each bundle are stored inside the webpack.config.js and their respective entry points. CMS exposes only one global variable, named CMS. If you want to use JavaScript code provided by CMS in external applications, you can only use bundles distributed by CMS, not the source modules.