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Contributing to Gen3


Thank you for taking the time to contribute to Gen3! 👍 🎉

Table of Contents​

How to Contribute​

Ask questions​

If you have a question, check out #gen3_community on Slack. Here you can ask both the maintainers at the Center for Translational Data Science, University of Chicago as well as the larger Gen3 community. Request an invite here.

You can also post to the Gen3 Forum here.

Finally, you can send an email request to the maintainers here (

You may also create an issue in a Gen3 repo ( If you are not sure which repo is the correct location please utilize the Gen3 Community Repo (

Create an Issue​

If you have an idea for a new feature or a bugfix, it is best to communicate with the University of Chicago Center for Translational Data Science (CTDS) developers early. Slack is a great forum for getting early feedback on an idea. You may also create an issue in GitHub. Be sure to browse through existing GitHub issues and if one seems related, comment on it.

Once you are ready, create a GitHub issue in whichever repository is appropriate ( If you are not sure which repo is the correct location please utilize the Gen3 Community Repo (

Issue Lifecycle​

When an issue is first created, it is flagged waiting-for-triage waiting for a team member to triage it. Once the issue has been reviewed, the team may ask for further information if needed, and based on the findings, the issue is either assigned for further review internally or is closed with a specific status. When a fix is ready, the issue is closed and may still be open until the fix is released.

Internal to CTDS, JIRA issues are created to track issues.

Submit a Pull Request​

  1. Note that all code contributions are subject to our Apache 2.0 license attached to each of our repositories (

  2. Should you create an issue first? No, just create the pull request and use the description to provide context and motivation, as you would for an issue.

  3. Always check out the main or master branch and submit pull requests against it. Follow naming conventions described below. This must include creating or updating unit tests as needed.

  4. Run all relevant tests against your modified code before you submit a pull request.

  5. Choose the granularity of your commits consciously and squash commits that represent multiple edits or corrections of the same logical change. See Rewriting History section of Pro Git for an overview of streamlining the commit history.

  6. See the Commit Guidelines section of Pro Git for best practices around commit messages.

  7. If there is a prior issue, reference the GitHub issue number in the description of the pull request.

  8. Once your PR is made, a CTDS staff member may reach out with additional questions and/or comment directly on your PR in GitHub.

If your PR is not approved, we’ll provide feedback about the rationale and possible steps to get it approved. Reasons for not approving PRs include: does not follow Gen3 coding conventions, inconsistent with Gen3 product vision, includes new features or packages that would be hard to maintain, or inconsistent with security requirements.

If accepted, your contribution may be heavily modified as needed prior to merging. You may also be asked to rework the submission.

If asked to make corrections, simply push the changes against the same branch, and your pull request will be updated. In other words, you should not create a new pull request when asked to make changes.

Naming Conventions​

Branches are named as type/scope, and commit messages are written as type(scope): explanation, where

  • scope identifies the thing that was added or modified,
  • explanation is a brief description of the changes in imperative present tense (such as "add function to _", not "added function"),
  • and type is defined as:
type = "chore" | "docs" | "feat" | "fix" | "refactor" | "style" | "test"

Some example branch names:

  • refactor/db-calls
  • test/user
  • docs/deployment

Some example commit messages:

  • fix(scope): remove admin scope from client
  • feat(project_members): list all members given project
  • docs(generation): fix generation script and update docs

Run Tests on your own Gen3 Instance​

In order to appropriately test your pull requests you must have a Gen3 deployment running. You can find instructions for how to run Gen3 using our preferred method of helm charts here.

Reference Docs​

Gen3 Documentation​

Main documentation site for Gen3 Helm for Gen3

Git and GitHub resources​

Before starting a new contribution, you need to be familiar with Git and GitHub concepts like: commit, branch, push, pull, remote, fork, repository, etc. There are plenty of resources online to learn Git and GitHub, for example: