Want to fix a bug in Pootle? Want to change the behaviour of an existing feature or add new ones? This section is all about hacking on Pootle, so if you are interested on the topic, keep reading.

Before doing anything

Before starting any actual work on the source code, make sure that:

  • There is nobody working on the bug you are trying to fix. See the existing bug reports and the existing pull requests. In the situation where somebody else is working on a fix, you can always offer your help.
  • If you plan to develop a new feature and want to include it upstream, please first discuss it with the developers on the Pootle development channel or in the translate-pootle mailing list so that it doesn’t interfere in current development plans. Also note that adding new features is relatively easy, but keeping them updated is harder.

Environment setup

Although Pootle should only be deployed to production on a Linux server, it is possible to get a viable development environment up and running on Windows with some slightly different steps.


Any time you want to fix a bug or work on a new feature, create a new local branch:

$ git checkout -b <my_new_branch>

Then safely work there, create the needed commits and once the work is ready for being incorporated upstream, either:

  • Push the changes to your own GitHub fork and send us a pull request, or
  • Create a patch against the HEAD of the master branch using git diff or git format-patch and attach it to the affected issue.


When creating commits take into account the following:

What to commit

As far as possible, try to commit individual changes in individual commits. Where different changes depend on each other, but are related to different parts of a problem / solution, try to commit them in quick succession.

If a change in the code requires some change in the documentation then all those changes must be in the same commit.

If code and documentation changes are unrelated then it is recommended to put them in separate commits, despite that sometimes it is acceptable to mix those changes in the same commit, for example cleanups changes both in code and documentation.

Commit messages

Begin the commit message with a single short (less than 50 character) line summarizing the change, followed by a blank line and then a more thorough (and sometimes optional) description.


Another example:

Factor out common behavior for whatever

These reduces lines of code to maintain, and eases a lot the maintenance

Also was partially reworked to ease extending it in the future.

If your change fixes a bug in the tracker, mention the bug number. This way the bug is automatically closed after merging the commit.

Docs: Update code for this thing

Now the docs are exact and represent the actual behavior introduced in
commits ef4517ab and abc361fd.

Fixes #2399

If you are reverting a previous commit, mention the sha1 revision that is being reverted.

Revert "Fabric: Cleanup to use the new setup command"

This reverts commit 5c54bd4.