First Time Contributors

author Daniela Iglesias Rocabado · calendar ·
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Diving into project development can be overwhelming for beginners. A first-timers guide is key to navigate this unfamiliar terrain. From understanding basics to mastering tools, it'll help you contribute effectively. Join us as we explore how to get started in a development project!

Avoiding Issues in Your First Contributions #

The world of open-source programming project development is a vibrant and collaborative space, but it can also be daunting for those venturing in for the first time. We've noticed that new contributors often face significant challenges when taking their first steps in this environment. That's why we've created this first-timers guide.

Our aim is to provide a comprehensive resource that helps newcomers overcome initial barriers and start contributing effectively right from the get-go. By offering a guide that covers everything from the basics to best practices in open-source project development, we hope to streamline the onboarding process and foster a more inclusive and productive collaborative environment.

This guide will not only be beneficial for those starting their journey in open-source projects but will also serve as the primary reference for all affiliated projects and projects under the OSL Incubator Program. By standardizing practices and promoting a common understanding of the processes involved, we aim to enhance the experience for all contributors and promote more efficient and high-quality development in our open-source projects.

Getting Started #

In this guide, we'll tackle the common challenges that newcomers encounter in open-source projects. These include navigating Git and establishing your development environment. We'll provide step-by-step instructions on Git fundamentals and setting up your virtual workspace seamlessly.

Additionally, we will offer further advice for the contributor to start with a solid initial structure, thus ensuring that their project is well-organized from the outset. From the initial setup to active contribution in the project, this guide aims to provide contributors with the tools and knowledge needed to effectively contribute to open-source programming projects.


What is Git? #

Git is a widely used distributed version control system in software development. It allows project collaborators to work collaboratively on the same set of files, recording changes, merging contributions, and maintaining a detailed history of all modifications made to the source code.

How to install Git? #

To install Git, you can follow these steps:

  1. Windows Operating System: You can download the Git installer from the official Git website. Once downloaded, run the installer and follow the installation wizard instructions.

  2. macOS Operating System: Git is usually pre-installed on macOS. However, if it's not installed or you want to update it, you can do so through the command line or using package management tools like Homebrew.

  3. Linux Operating System: In most Linux distributions, Git is available in the default package repositories. You can install it using the package manager specific to your distribution, such as apt for Ubuntu or yum for CentOS.

For more detailed material on Git, we recommend using the Software Carpentry material, which is more focused on people who already have basic knowledge of Git but still face difficulties. You can access the material at the following link: Software Carpentry - Git Novice

First Steps to Collaborating on a Project #

Understanding Repository Forking #

When embarking on a collaborative project, the first step often involves forking a repository. Forking is a fundamental aspect of version control systems like Git, enabling individuals or teams to create their own copy of a project's repository. This copy acts as a sandbox where contributors can freely experiment, make changes, and propose improvements without affecting the original project.

Steps to Forking a Repository #

  1. Navigate to the Repository: Visit the project's repository on the hosting platform, such as GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket.

  2. Locate the Fork Button: Look for the "Fork" button on the repository's page. This button is usually located in the top-right corner. Clicking it will initiate the forking process.

  3. Choose Destination: When prompted, select where you want to fork the repository. You can fork it to your personal account or to an organization you're a part of.

  4. Wait for Forking to Complete: The platform will create a copy of the repository in your account or organization. Depending on the size of the repository and the platform's load, this process may take a few seconds to complete.

  5. Clone Your Forked Repository: Once the forking process is finished, clone the forked repository to your local machine using Git. This will create a local copy of the repository that you can work on.

Benefits of Forking a Repository #

  • Independence: Forking gives you complete control over your copy of the project. You can modify it as you see fit without impacting the original.

  • Experimentation: Forking provides a safe environment for experimenting with changes. You can try out new features, fix bugs, or test ideas without risking the stability of the main project.

  • Collaboration: Forking facilitates collaboration by enabling contributors to work on different aspects of the project simultaneously. Once you've made improvements or fixes in your fork, you can propose them to the original project through a pull request.

What is a Pull Request / Merge Request and why is it important? #

A Pull Request (PR) is a proposed change that a collaborator makes to a code repository managed by a version control system such as Git. It's essentially a request for the changes made in one branch of a repository to be incorporated into another branch, usually the main branch. Pull Requests are essential in the collaborative workflow of software development, as they allow teams to review, discuss, and approve changes before they are merged into the codebase. This facilitates collaboration, improves code quality, and helps maintain a clear history of modifications made to the project.

Steps for creating a good Pull Request: #

  1. Create a feature branch: Before starting to make changes to the code, create a new branch in the repository that clearly describes the purpose of the changes you plan to make. This helps keep the development organized and makes code review easier.

  2. Make necessary changes: Once you're on your feature branch, make the changes to the code as planned. Make sure to follow the project's coding conventions and write unit tests if necessary.

  3. Update documentation if necessary: If your changes affect existing functionality or introduce new features, it's important to update the corresponding documentation, such as code comments or user documentation.

  4. Create the Pull Request: Once you've completed your changes and are ready to request review, create a Pull Request. Provide a clear and concise description of the purpose of your changes, as well as any relevant context to facilitate review by your team members.

  5. Request review: After creating the Pull Request, assign relevant reviewers to examine your changes. This may include other developers on the team, technical leads, or anyone with expertise in the area affected by your modifications.

  6. Respond to comments and make adjustments if necessary: Once reviewers have provided feedback on your Pull Request, take the time to respond to their questions and make any necessary adjustments to your code. It's important to collaborate constructively during this process to ensure that the proposed changes are of the highest possible quality.

By following these steps, you can effectively contribute to a project's development through Pull Requests that are easy to review, approve, and merge, ultimately leading to stronger code and more efficient teamwork.

Remotes Repositories #

In version control systems like Git, a remote repository is essentially a copy of your local repository stored on a server somewhere else, often online. It acts as a central hub for collaboration and version control.

  • Origin: This remote, typically created by default when cloning the repository, points to your fork on GitHub.
  • Upstream: This remote points to the original (upstream) repository you forked from. It allows you to stay updated with the main project's development.

Creating the Upstream Remote

git remote add upstream <URL_of_upstream_repository>

Using the Upstream Remote:

Fetching Updates: Regularly use git fetch upstream to download the latest changes from the upstream repository without merging them into your local branch. Creating Feature Branches: When starting work on a new feature, it's recommended to base your branch on the latest upstream main branch:

git checkout upstream/main
git checkout -b my-feature-branch
This ensures your feature branch incorporates the most recent upstream developments.

Understanding Merge Commit vs. Rebase in Git #

In Git, managing branches is a fundamental aspect of collaboration and version control. When integrating changes from one branch to another, developers often encounter two primary methods: merge commit and rebase. Both approaches have their advantages and trade-offs, influencing how teams collaborate and maintain a clean project history. Let's delve into each method:

Merge Commit #

A merge commit, as the name suggests, involves creating a new commit to merge changes from one branch into another. Here's how it typically works:

  1. Branch Divergence: Suppose you have a feature branch (feature) and a main branch (main or master). As work progresses, both branches diverge, accumulating different commits.

  2. Merge Process: When it's time to integrate changes from feature into main, you execute a merge command. Git creates a new commit, known as a merge commit, to combine the histories of both branches.

  3. Commit History: The merge commit preserves the entire history of changes from both branches, making it clear when and how the integration occurred.

  4. Parallel Development: Merge commits allow parallel development, enabling team members to work independently without affecting each other's changes.

Rebase #

Rebasing is an alternative method for integrating changes, involving rewriting commit history to maintain a linear project history. Here's how it differs from merge commit:

  1. Branch Adjustment: Instead of creating a merge commit, rebasing adjusts the commit history of the feature branch (feature) to appear as if it originated from the tip of the main branch (main or master).

  2. Commit Replay: Git replays each commit from the feature branch onto the tip of the main branch, effectively transplanting the changes onto a different base.

  3. Linear History: By rewriting commit history, rebasing creates a linear sequence of commits, making the project history cleaner and easier to follow.

  4. Conflict Resolution: Rebasing can lead to conflicts if changes from the feature branch conflict with those on the main branch. These conflicts must be resolved manually during the rebase process.

Recommendations and Best Practices

While both merge commit and rebase have their merits, the choice often depends on the team's workflow and preferences. Here are some considerations:

Merge Commit:

  • Suitable for preserving a detailed history of parallel development.
  • Preferred when collaboration involves multiple contributors or when maintaining a clear record of individual contributions is essential.


  • Promotes a cleaner, linear project history.
  • Recommended for feature branches with short-lived changes or when maintaining a tidy commit history is a priority.

It's worth noting that some organizations, such as the Open Source Initiative (OSI), recommend the usage of git rebase to maintain a clean and linear project history. You can configure Git to use rebase by default for pull operations with the command:

$ git config --global pull.rebase true

OSL recommend the usage of git rebase

Mergin a Pull Requests (PRs) #

Pull requests (PRs) are essential for collaborative software development, enabling contributors to propose changes to a project's codebase. Once a PR is submitted, it undergoes a review process before being merged into the main codebase. Here are three common methods for merging PRs:

1. Merge Commit: #

A merge commit combines changes from different branches in version control systems like Git. It records the integration of these changes, preserving their histories and keeping the project's development organized.

Use when you want to keep a detailed history of changes from multiple branches. It preserves individual commit histories, making it suitable for tracking the development of feature branches and bug fixes separately.

2. Squash and Merge: #

"Squash and merge" condenses multiple commits into one before merging, simplifying the project's commit history.

Employ when you have multiple small, related commits that you want to consolidate into a single, more meaningful commit. It's useful for cleaning up the commit history, especially before merging feature branches into the main branch.

3. Rebase and Merge: #

"Rebase and merge" rewrites commit history to integrate changes from one branch into another, maintaining a cleaner and more linear history.

Opt for this method when you want to maintain a clean and linear commit history by incorporating changes from one branch into another. It helps to avoid unnecessary merge commits, keeping the commit history straightforward and easier to follow.

Each method offers distinct advantages and considerations, influencing the project's commit history and overall workflow.

In their development workflow, Open Science Labs recommend using squash and merge.

Pre-commit #

Pre-commit is a tool used in software development to automatically run various checks and tests on files before they are committed to a version control system, such as Git. These checks can include code formatting, linting, static analysis, and other quality assurance tasks. The goal is to catch potential issues early in the development process, ensuring that only high-quality code is committed to the repository.

Here's how to install and use pre-commit:

  1. Installation: You can install pre-commit using pip, the Python package manager. Open your terminal or command prompt and run:
$ pip install pre-commit
  1. Configuration: Once pre-commit is installed, you need to set up a configuration file named .pre-commit-config.yaml in the root directory of your project. This file specifies the hooks (checks) that pre-commit should run.

Here's a basic example of a .pre-commit-config.yaml file:

  - repo:
    rev: v3.3.0
      - id: trailing-whitespace
      - id: end-of-file-fixer
      - id: check-yaml
  1. Installation of Git Hooks: After configuring .pre-commit-config.yaml, you need to install pre-commit hooks into your Git repository. Navigate to your project directory in the terminal and run:
$ pre-commit install
  1. Running Pre-commit: Once the pre-commit hooks are installed, you can run them manually using the following command:

$ pre-commit run --all-files
This command tells pre-commit to run all configured hooks on all files in the repository. It will check for issues according to the configuration specified in .pre-commit-config.yaml and provide feedback on any problems found.

The Git hooks are triggered each time the user initiates a git commit command. By default, they operate on the files that have been modified, but their behavior can be adjusted to encompass all files if configured accordingly in the .pre-commit-config.yaml file.

In the ever-evolving world of software development, efficient collaboration and streamlined workflows are paramount. Git, the popular version control system, offers a plethora of options for managing code changes, each tailored to different team structures and project requirements. Two widely used workflows, GitHub Flow and GitFlow, stand out for their simplicity and effectiveness. Let's explore these options in detail.

GitHub Flow: #

GitHub Flow is a lightweight, branch-based workflow specifically designed for teams using GitHub for version control. It emphasizes simplicity and continuous delivery, making it an ideal choice for projects with frequent releases and rapid iteration cycles. Here's a breakdown of its key features:

Branching Model:

  • Main Branch: GitHub Flow revolves around a single main branch (often named "main" or "master"), representing the development branch that leads to production-ready code.
  • Feature Branches: Developers create feature branches off the main branch for each new feature or bug fix.


  • Create a Branch: Developers create a new branch for each feature or bug fix.
  • Make Changes: Developers create a new branch, with the latest changes from upstream/main (or origin/main, if you are not working on a fork) for each feature or bug fix.
  • Open Pull Request: Once changes are complete, a pull request (PR) is opened to merge the feature branch into the main branch.
  • Review and Merge: Team members review the code changes, provide feedback, and merge the PR into the main branch once approved.

Continuous Deployment:

  • Continuous Integration: GitHub Flow encourages the use of continuous integration tools to automatically test changes before merging.
  • Continuous Deployment: Merged changes are automatically deployed to production, ensuring a fast and reliable release cycle.

GitHub Flow's simplicity and flexibility make it a popular choice for teams of all sizes, particularly those embracing agile development practices.

GitFlow: #

GitFlow, developed by Vincent Driessen, provides a more organized approach to branching and release management. It excels in larger projects with longer release cycles and strict versioning requirements. Here's how GitFlow differs from GitHub Flow:

Branching Model:

  • Main Branches: GitFlow defines two main branches – "master" for stable releases and "develop" for ongoing development.
  • Feature Branches: Developers create feature branches off the "develop" branch for each new feature.


  • Feature Development: Developers work on feature branches, merging them into the "develop" branch once complete.
  • Release Branches: When it's time for a new release, a release branch is created from the "develop" branch for final testing and bug fixing.
  • Hotfix Branches: If critical issues arise in production, hotfix branches are created from the "master" branch to address them directly.


  • GitFlow employs a strict versioning scheme, with each release assigned a unique version number based on semantic versioning principles.

Which Workflow to Choose? #

Choosing between GitHub Flow and GitFlow depends on your team's specific needs and project requirements:

  • GitHub Flow: Ideal for teams focused on continuous delivery, rapid iteration, and simplicity. This is most used in a bunch of proyects.
  • GitFlow: Suited for larger projects with longer release cycles, strict versioning, and a more structured approach to development.

While both workflows have their merits, it's essential to assess your team's workflow preferences, project size, and release cycle frequency before making a decision.

Recommendation: #

For a deeper dive into GitFlow's advantages and implementation details, consider referring to the following blog post: click here.

OSL recommend the github flow

Python Linters Overview #

Here's a breakdown of popular Python linters and their functionalities:

  1. ruff: A high-performance Python linter and code formatter engineered for efficiency. It amalgamates the functionalities of multiple linters into a unified tool, encompassing features such as style checking, static type validation, and dead code detection. This holistic approach obviates the necessity of managing disparate linters, thus streamlining the development workflow. Notably, ruff excels in speed, rendering it well-suited for handling extensive codebases or integration into Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines. Moreover, its extensive configuration options empower users to customize its behavior according to the specific coding standards of their projects, ensuring adherence to desired styles and quality guidelines.

  2. black: An influential Python code formatter that ensures code uniformity by automatically applying a standardized style across the codebase.

  3. flake8: Integrates linting, style validation, and complexity analysis functionalities into a unified package. Widely utilized for enforcing PEP 8 coding standards and identifying common programming errors.

  4. mypy: A static type checker for Python that identifies type errors and enhances code maintainability through type annotations.

  5. pydocstyle: Ensures adherence to Python docstring conventions outlined in PEP 257, thereby enhancing code readability and documentation quality.

  6. isort: A utility for organizing and sorting import statements within Python code, maintaining a consistent import style and mitigating import-related issues.

  7. vulture: Identifies redundant code in Python projects by detecting unused variables, functions, classes, and modules.

  8. mccabe: Computes the McCabe cyclomatic complexity of functions and methods, highlighting intricate code segments for potential enhancements in readability and maintainability.

  9. bandit: A security-centric linter that identifies security vulnerabilities and insecure coding practices in Python codebases.

These linters seamlessly integrate into development workflows, furnishing developers with real-time feedback and upholding code quality throughout the development lifecycle.

Documentation #

Why Documentation is Essential #

Documentation is essential in software development for various reasons. Firstly, it enhances clarity and understanding by detailing the purpose, functionality, and usage of the software, aiding developers, users, and stakeholders in comprehending the system's workings. Additionally, it streamlines the onboarding process for new team members by furnishing them with a comprehensive overview of the project, including its architecture and coding standards. Furthermore, well-crafted documentation promotes maintainability and scalability by elucidating the project's structure, design decisions, and coding conventions, empowering developers to implement changes, rectify bugs, and incorporate new features without introducing errors.

Moreover, documentation serves as a valuable resource for support and troubleshooting, furnishing users with troubleshooting guides, FAQs, and usage examples to swiftly resolve issues. It also contributes to the project's sustainability by encapsulating critical knowledge about its design, implementation, and maintenance, thereby preserving institutional knowledge and facilitating future enhancements or migrations.

Options for Creating Documentation #

Here are some popular tools for creating documentation for your project:

  1. Sphinx: Sphinx stands out as a robust documentation generator tool extensively employed within Python ecosystems. Supporting various markup formats such as reStructuredText and Markdown, Sphinx enables the generation of documentation in diverse output formats like HTML, PDF, and ePub.

  2. MkDocs: MkDocs emerges as a user-friendly documentation tool that simplifies the generation of static websites through Markdown files. Its straightforward setup process and flexibility in customization, utilizing Jinja2 templates, empower users to swiftly produce polished and professional documentation. Be it for small-scale projects or extensive documentation requirements, MkDocs offers an intuitive solution for crafting well-structured and visually appealing documentation.

  3. Quarto: Quarto represents a modern documentation tool tailored for data science and computational projects. Leveraging the amalgamation of Markdown, LaTeX, and Jupyter Notebooks, Quarto facilitates the creation of interactive and reproducible documentation, catering to the specific needs of these domains.

To enhance your documentation writing skills, consider exploring the following resources:

  1. Diataxis: Diataxis offers comprehensive documentation writing guides, tutorials, and best practices for technical writers and developers. It covers various topics, including structuring documentation, writing clear and concise content, and using documentation tools effectively.

  2. Write the Docs Slack Community: Join the Write the Docs Slack Community to connect with other documentation enthusiasts, share ideas, and seek advice on writing documentation. The community is a valuable resource for learning from experienced writers, participating in discussions, and staying updated on the latest trends in documentation practices.

By investing time and effort in creating high-quality documentation, you can significantly improve the usability, maintainability, and overall success of your software projects.

Continuous Integration (CI) #

Continuous Integration (CI) is a crucial practice in modern software development, enabling teams to deliver high-quality code efficiently. CI involves automating the process of testing and integrating code changes into a shared repository, typically multiple times a day. This approach helps teams to identify and resolve issues early in the development cycle, maintain a consistently deployable codebase, and streamline the overall development workflow.

Here are some top options for CI/CD platforms:

  1. GitHub Actions: GitHub Actions is an integrated CI/CD solution provided within the GitHub platform. It allows developers to define workflows using YAML syntax directly in their GitHub repositories. With support for various triggers such as pushes, pull requests, and scheduled events, GitHub Actions enables flexible automation tailored to project needs.

  2. Azure Pipelines: Azure Pipelines, part of the Microsoft Azure suite, offers a cloud-based CI/CD service for building, testing, and deploying applications across different platforms. It provides extensive flexibility through YAML configuration or a graphical editor, facilitating seamless integration with Azure services and third-party tools.

  3. CircleCI: CircleCI is a popular cloud-based CI/CD platform known for its simplicity and scalability. It supports integration with version control systems like GitHub and Bitbucket, allowing teams to define build and deployment pipelines using YAML configuration files. CircleCI offers a wide range of pre-configured and customizable job types to meet diverse project requirements.

GitHub Actions has emerged as one of the most popular options for automating workflows in software development pipelines. Its seamless integration with GitHub repositories, extensive marketplace of pre-built actions, and flexibility in creating custom workflows have contributed to its widespread adoption by developers and organizations alike.

When choosing a CI/CD platform, consider factors such as integration capabilities, scalability, ease of use, and pricing. Evaluating these options based on your specific project requirements and existing development ecosystem will help determine the best fit for your team's needs. It's often beneficial to experiment with different platforms to find the one that aligns most closely with your workflow and objectives.

Unit Tests and Testing Frameworks in Python #

Unit tests are an essential part of software development, allowing developers to verify that individual components of their code behave as expected. The unittest module in Python provides a framework for organizing and running unit tests. Here's why you might consider using unittest:

  1. Standard Library Inclusion: unittest is part of Python's standard library, which means it's readily available without needing to install additional packages. This makes it convenient for projects that prefer minimal dependencies.

  2. Built-in Assertions: unittest offers a set of built-in assertion methods for verifying expected outcomes, such as assertEqual, assertTrue, and assertRaises. These assertions make it easy to write expressive and readable test cases.

  3. Test Discovery: unittest supports automatic test discovery, allowing you to organize your tests into separate modules and directories while effortlessly running them as a cohesive test suite.

  4. Integration with IDEs and CI Tools: unittest integrates well with popular IDEs like PyCharm, VS Code, and CI/CD platforms, enabling seamless test execution and reporting within your development workflow.

While unittest is a solid choice for writing unit tests in Python, there are alternative frameworks that offer additional features and flexibility:

  1. Pytest: Pytest is a popular third-party testing framework known for its simplicity and powerful features. It provides concise syntax, fixtures for reusable test setup, parameterized testing, and extensive plugin support. Pytest excels in making test code more readable and maintainable.

  2. Hypothesis: Hypothesis is a property-based testing library that complements traditional example-based testing. Instead of writing specific test cases, you specify general properties that your code should satisfy. Hypothesis then generates input data automatically to thoroughly test these properties, uncovering edge cases and potential bugs.

Python Project Initialization #

When starting a new Python project, it's beneficial to use project templates that include predefined directory structures, configuration files, and boilerplate code to jumpstart development. Tools like cookiecutter and project templates such as scicookie provide convenient starting points for various project types:

  • Cookiecutter: Cookiecutter is a command-line utility that generates projects from project templates. It prompts you for project-specific details and then creates a customized project structure based on the selected template. There are many community-contributed templates available for various types of Python projects, including web applications, libraries, and data analysis projects.

  • SciCookie: SciCookie is a project template ocused on the scientific python community, but it can be used by any python project. It includes a structured directory layout, documentation templates, and example code snippets. SciCookie helps streamline the setup process for scientific Python projects and encourages best practices in testing and documentation.

In summary, while unittest provides a robust framework for writing unit tests in Python, alternative frameworks like Pytest and Hypothesis offer additional features and flexibility. When starting a new project, leveraging project templates such as scicookie with tools like cookiecutter can accelerate setup and promote best practices in project organization and testing.

What is a virtual enviroments and why it is important? #

A virtual environment is a self-contained directory that isolates the dependencies for a specific project, regardless of the programming language. It can house an interpreter (like Python) along with its associated libraries, but it can also manage dependencies for other languages and tools. This isolation ensures that the project's requirements don't conflict with those of other projects on the same system.

When you create a virtual environment for each of your project, it essentially creates a sandboxed environment where you can install packages and dependencies without affecting the global Python installation on your system. This isolation is crucial because different projects often require different versions of libraries or dependencies, and conflicts can arise if they share the same environment.

Creating virtual environments is crucial for several reasons:

  • Isolation: Virtual environments allow you to isolate project dependencies, preventing conflicts between different projects that may require different versions of the same packages. This ensures that your projects remain stable and reproducible.

  • Dependency Management: By creating separate environments for each project, you can manage dependencies more effectively. You can install specific versions of packages for each project without affecting other projects or the system-wide installation.

  • Experimentation: Virtual environments provide a safe space for experimentation. You can try out new packages or versions without worrying about breaking existing projects or the system environment.

  • Reproducibility: Utilizing virtual environments not only streamlines collaboration but also enhances reproducibility in project workflows. By sharing environment configuration files such as environment.yml, collaborators ensure uniformity in dependencies and versions across all team members. This practice mitigates compatibility issues and fosters consistency, enabling seamless replication of results and facilitating smoother collaboration.

Conda/Mamba #

Conda is a package manager, environment manager, and dependency solver that can install and manage packages and their dependencies. Mamba is a fast, drop-in replacement for Conda that aims to provide faster package management operations.

An agnostic language package manager is a tool that handles dependencies for software projects using multiple programming languages. Unlike traditional package managers tied to one language (like npm for JavaScript), agnostic managers work across languages. They simplify development for projects using various languages, offering features like dependency management and version control in a unified way. This helps maintain consistency and flexibility, especially in projects with mixed-language environments or complex architectures.

Installation: #

For Windows users, Anaconda may be a suitable choice, providing a comprehensive Python distribution along with Conda. For Linux and macOS users, Miniconda or Miniforge offers a lighter and more streamlined approach to managing environments and packages. You can download Miniforge from here, which includes Miniconda, Conda Forge configuration, and Mamba.

Creating a Conda Enviroment To create a new Conda enviroment named myenv, open a terminal or command promt and use the following commands:

$ conda create --name myenv
  • On Windows:

    $ activate myenv

  • On Unix/ MacOs:

    $ source activate myenv

Conda-Forge: #

Is a community-driven collection of recipes, build infrastructure, and distributions for the Conda package manager. It provides a vast repository of pre-built packages for various programming languages, including Python, R, C, C++, Rust, Go, Fortran, and more. Conda-Forge aims to offer high-quality, up-to-date packages that are well-integrated with Conda environments.

Conda is not limited to managing Python packages; it can handle packages for various programming languages. This capability makes Conda a versatile tool for software development, allowing users to manage complex dependencies and libraries across different programming ecosystems.

Anaconda: #

Anaconda is a popular Python distribution that bundles the Python interpreter, Conda package manager, and a comprehensive set of pre-installed packages for scientific computing, data analysis, and machine learning. It includes tools like Jupyter Notebook, Spyder IDE, and many essential libraries for scientific computing, making it a convenient choice for data scientists and researchers.

Virtualenv #

Virtualenv is a tool to create isolated Python environments. It's lightweight and widely used in the Python community. Here's how to set up Virtualenv:

Installation: - Ensure you have Python installed on your system. - Install Virtualenv using pip (Python's package installer):

$ pip install virtualenv

Create a new Virtualenv:

$ virtualenv myenv

Activate the enviroment:

  • On Windows:

    $ myenv\Scripts\activate

  • On Unix/MacOS:

    $ source myenv/bin/activate

Pipenv #

Pipenv is a higher-level tool compared to Virtualenv. It aims to simplify and streamline the process of managing dependencies and environments for Python projects. Here's how to get started with Pipenv:


Make sure you have Python installed on your system. Install Pipenv using pip (Python's package installer):

$ pip install pipenv

Creating a new environment and managing dependencies:

Navigate to your project directory in the terminal. Use Pipenv to create a new virtual environment and generate a Pipfile, which will manage your project's dependencies:

$ pipenv --python 3.x
Replace 3.x with your desired Python version.

Installing dependencies:

Use Pipenv to install packages for your project:

$ pipenv install package-name

This will install the package and automatically update your Pipfile and Pipfile.lock.

Activating the environment:

Pipenv automatically activates the virtual environment when you enter the project directory. You'll see the name of the virtual environment displayed in your terminal prompt.

Deactivating the environment:

To deactivate the virtual environment and return to your global Python environment, simply use the exit command or close the terminal window.

Benefits of Pip

  • Dependency management: Pipenv simplifies dependency management by automatically creating and managing a Pipfile and Pipfile.lock for each project.
  • Isolation: Pipenv creates isolated environments for each project, preventing conflicts between dependencies.
  • Streamlined workflow: Pipenv combines package installation, environment management, and dependency resolution into a single tool, streamlining the development process.

Pixi #

Pixi, developed by, is a dynamic cross-platform package manager and workflow tool inspired by the Conda and Pypi ecosystems. It caters to developers seeking a unified experience across multiple programming languages, akin to renowned tools like Cargo or Yarn. Pixi's adaptability and robust feature set make it a valuable asset in modern software development environments.

Key highlights of Pixi include:

  • Multi-language Compatibility: Pixi adeptly manages packages written in various languages including Python, C++, R, and more, offering versatility in development workflows.
  • Platform Agnosticism: It seamlessly operates on Linux, Windows, macOS, and diverse hardware architectures, ensuring consistent performance across different environments.
  • Up-to-date Dependency Locking: Pixi's dependency locking mechanism guarantees the stability of projects by maintaining consistent package versions across different development setups.
  • Intuitive Command-line Interface: With a clean and user-friendly interface, Pixi enhances developer productivity and ease of use, promoting efficient workflow management.
  • Flexible Installation Options: Pixi accommodates both per-project and system-wide installations, allowing developers to tailor its usage according to specific project requirements.

For comprehensive information, detailed installation guidelines, and practical examples, visit the official Pixi website. Explore Pixi today to streamline your development process across multiple languages with ease.

Conclusion #

The proficiency in specific techniques and methodologies is crucial for anyone looking to make meaningful contributions to open-source projects. This article delineates the essential skills and practices required for effective participation, including but not limited to, adeptness with collaborative tools, version control systems, adherence to coding standards, and familiarity with contribution guidelines. Emphasizing the significance of tailored mentorship, accessible documentation, and active engagement within the community, the article serves as a comprehensive guide for enhancing the quality and impact of contributions. By adopting best practices in code review, project management, and fostering an inclusive dialogue, contributors can significantly elevate the collaborative dynamics and innovation within open-source endeavors. Thus, reading this article is instrumental for those aiming to navigate the complexities of open-source projects successfully and contribute to the advancement of collective scientific and technological objectives.