New Developer’s Guide

Setting up Github:

Before you start using GitHub, you have to install Git on your computer. Even if it is on your device, it is a good idea to update to the latest version. You can either install it as a package, via another installer or download the source code and compile it yourself.

Download Git here.

Connecting GitHub to Git

To connect Git on your device to GitHub, follow the instructions here.

Learn how to keep your email address hidden here.

Installing PyNE:

There are a couple of methods outlined for downloading PyNE on this site under Installation. For developers, it is recommended that you install PyNE from the source.

Make sure that your device has all of the dependencies downloaded. You can check this by typing the name of the program into your command line followed by --version (e.g., $ python --version). If you are starting as a developer, likely, you will not have all of the necessary components.

Creating an Environment

If you already have Python installed through Anaconda, but it is not compatible with the current version of PyNE, follow these steps to create an environment for the conda install method.

Documentation on creating and managing an environment can be found here.

Signing up for list hosts:

Everyone faces challenges sometimes when writing code. Thankfully, you can always contact the PyNE Developers at Another way to communicate with PyNE developers is to join the Google Group.

Preparing to Contribute:

The skills of forking and cloning are especially important to have mastered before beginning any contribution to the repository.

Before forking this or any other repository, engage SSH keys. The process of creating SSH keys on your device is detailed here.

To fork, clone, and then make the original repository a remote follow these steps.

  1. Go to PyNE.

  2. Select Fork, and then your account.

  3. In the command line, enter

    $ git clone
    * Replace USERNAME with your account's name.
  4. Then add the original repository as a remote to your account, first enter the clone on your device with the command “cd pyne”.

  5. Complete the process by entering

    $ git remote add upstream

You can now easily contribute by editing the contents of the folders, pushing these changes to your fork, and then making a pull request to the PyNE Github.


Follow the Developer’s Guide for contributions to this site, and PyNE itself.

Imposter syndrome disclaimer: We want your help. No really, we do.

There might be a little voice inside that tells you you’re not ready; that you need to do one more tutorial, or learn another framework, or write a few more of your own projects before you can contribute here.

We want to assure you, that’s not the case.

This project has some clear Contribution Guidelines and expectations that you can read about in the Developer’s Guide and below.

Below, you will find an outline of the process that you’ll need to follow to get a pull request merged. By making expectations and process explicit, we hope it will make it easier for you to contribute.

And you don’t just have to write code. You can help out by writing documentation, tests, or even by giving feedback about this work. (And yes, that includes giving feedback about the contribution guidelines.)

Thank you for contributing!

This disclaimer was originally written by Adrienne Lowe for a PyCon talk, and was adapted for PyNE’s Guide for New Developers.

Getting Practice

Novices to open-source projects can get still contribute to PyNE. To do so, go to PyNE’s GitHub Page. Once on this page, select the “low hanging pinoli” label to display more issues with the same tag. Pinoli is the Italian word for the Pine Nut, and this marker is the first place New Developers should look to contribute.

Making a Pull Request

Before you make the pull request (PR), make sure that you include a change to the CHANGELOG.rst file under the appropriate heading. Your contribution can be as simple as a line of text, but it should incorporate the PR’s number in parenthesis at the end. If there is a line already in the changelog that describes a similar action (e.g., adding a publication) to your own, you can add the number of your PR after the existing line.

The PR should contain a description of the changes, appropriate labels, projects, and a reference to the issue that led to it, which you can do by inserting ‘#issue_number’ to the description (i.e., adding #161 to your PR description). These elements will help other contributors discover and review your work. Adding a reference to the issue the pull request will allow people to see the issue inspired it alongside any conversation about the issue.

Changing Documentation

To contribute, you can edit the text file in any program that allows you to edit text (Vim, TextEdit, Nano, etc.) and does not invisibly add characters to the file (like Word).

Your contributions will be more robust if they follow the formatting of other documents in the PyNE repository. As such, before you create or update a file, it is a good idea to skim through other PyNE documentation to see how they are formatted. Finally, commit these changes to your forked version and submit a pull request.