Non-development tasks

Help improve our documentation

We’re missing a few details and we’d definitely welcome some help here!

Port Nodebox library pages

Most of the pages in the libraries section are stubs. While the original Nodebox documentation is good enough reference, it’s becoming important to port those docs over to the Shoebot manual because most of the images are missing on the Nodebox site. (The PlotDevice manual thankfully keeps its own adaptation.)

It’s not hard to adapt the Nodebox docs to the Shoebot manual: docs are written in the ReStructured Text format (a kind of souped-up Markdown), and you can take a look at the source of the colors library page for an example of what Sphinx files look like. This cheat sheet explains the basics. From there, you can help complete the stub pages, which would be just excellent.

Report errors or missing parts

Pointing out parts that are missing or wrong is a great way to help. If you spot something, file an issue with the documentation label on the issue tracker to help us on this, or just pop over on the Matrix channel.

Development tasks

Make new examples or port existing ones

We’re always eager to welcome new examples that explain a concept or show off an interesting technique.

You can either contribute your own examples, or help port existing scripts:

They should work mostly without modifications – we need help testing them. Try them out and post any issues you find on our issue tracker in case you hit a wall.

Be sure to also check the brief guidelines in Coding style for examples so that your efforts can be included in Shoebot.

Help port libraries

We’re missing a few Nodebox libraries; can you help us port them to Shoebot?

See the full list of Unported libraries.

Incidentally, we’re also missing documentation to explain how to port Nodebox libraries. If you’re interested but stuck, file an issue and we’ll help you.

Add support for another operating system

We support a few operating systems, but we’d like to expand the list.

To add support for another OS, you just need to find out its package names for the libraries that Shoebot depends on:

  • Python 3

  • Pycairo

  • PyGObject3

  • Pango

  • Pillow

  • GTK3 (for the windowed canvas)

  • GTKSourceView3 (for the IDE)

The community for your operating system may be able to offer help here. The script might help too.

Look for ‘Help Out’ issues

The issues tagged ‘Help Out’ don’t need a deep knowledge of Shoebot internals, and there’s a good variety of tasks to be done.

Make text editor plugins

While our simple editor is around, power-users will be using their favourite text editor to hack on Shoebot scripts. Having plugins for any popular text editor would be a fantastic addition.

Integrate Shoebot with other software

Shoebot can be a great tool to complement other software, be it for

  • SVG, PDF or bitmap generation

  • simple visualizations

  • interact in real-time with the socket server

If you see a use case where Shoebot could be helpful, we’ll do our best to support you in implementing it.

Tips for Developers

Coding style for the Shoebot core code

We’re not picky here, other than following PEP8 style guidelines. We use the Black syntax checker in our code editors to keep us strict, and recommend it.

Coding style for examples

When creating examples for including in Shoebot, we try to adhere to a set of writing guidelines to make it easy for newcomers to understand what’s going on.

  • Avoid one-letter variables (other than x and y), and avoid two-letter names as well (things like dx can be expanded to deltax). It will look less compact, but really helps understanding what’s going on.

  • Start the example with a docstring specifying the title of the example, author info and some details about the script and its workings. If you want to format this text, use Markdown.

  • Use Flake8 or similar linter plugin to find necessary style fixes.

  • Comments in English.

  • Variables and functions are in lowercase and underscored_lowercase, class names are in CamelCase.

Making a release

This is our checklist to be sure we don’t miss any detail when we put out a release.

  • update the version number in these files:

    • Makefile



    • doc/source/

    • shoebot/ide/

  • update the changelogs


    • debian/changelog

  • tag the release commit

  • publish release on GitHub

  • push to PyPI

    • register on PyPI and place your credentials in ~/.pypirc

    • install Twine

    • make a source build with python sdist

    • make a test upload to TestPyPI with twine upload --repository-url dist/shoebot-1.3.tar.gz

    • if all is good, upload to PyPI with twine upload dist/shoebot-1.3.tar.gz

    • be sure to change the version numbers in the previous commands according to the current Shoebot version

Building Debian packages

There are some dependencies to look out for:

sudo apt-get install rename dh-python cdbs

Be sure to go through this checklist:

  • update the debian/changelog file

Then, generate the Debian packages with the make builddeb command.