Contributing to Zinnia

Zinnia is an open-source project, so yours contributions are welcomed and needed.

Writing code

So you have a great idea to program, found a bug or a way to optimize the code ? You are welcome.


  1. Fork and clone the repository on Github.
  2. Create a branch based on develop.
  3. Write tests.
  4. Develop your code.
  5. Update the documentation if needed.
  6. Push your branch and open a pull-request.

Once the pull-request is open, the continuous integration server will build your pull-request. If the build is passing, your contribution has great chances to be integrated quickly.


Code conventions are important in a way where they ensure the lisibility of the code in the time, that’s why the code try to respect at most the PEP 8.

If you have already run the buildout script you can execute this Makefile rule to check your code.

$ make kwalitee

With a clear and uniform code, the development is better and faster.


The submited code should be covered with one or more unittests to ensure the new behavior and will make easier future developments. Without that, your code will not be reliable and may not be integrated.

See Testing and Coverage for more informations.

Writing documentation

Sometimes considered like “annoying” by hard-core coders, documentation is more important than the code itself! This is what brings fresh blood to a project, and serves as a reference for old timers.

On top of this, documentation is the one area where less technical people can help most - you just need to write a semi-decent English. People need to understand you. We don’t care about style or correctness.

The documentation should :

  • Be written in English.
  • Follow the 80 column rule.
  • Use .rst as file extension.
  • Use Sphinx and restructuredText.
  • Be accessible. You should assume the reader to be moderately familiar with Python and Django, but not anything else.

Keep it mind that documenting is most useful than coding, so your contribution will be greatly appreciated.

Contributing changes

Contribute changes to the documentation in the same fashion as committing to source code. Essentially, you will fork the project on github, make your changes to the documentation, commit them, and submit a pull request.

See code process for more details.

Writing CSS

You want to contribute to the default stylesheets provided by Zinnia ?

If you take a look at zinnia/static/zinnia/theme/css/screen.css you will probably notice that the CSS is not edited manually. It has been generated from Sass files and so it is good pratice not to edit this file directly.

Aside of zinnia/static/zinnia/theme/css directory, you can see another directory named sass which is organized like this:

|-- config/
|-- mixins/
|-- partials/
`-- screen.scss

The partials folder contains all the partials used to build the CSS, the mixins folder contains reusable mixins like the tag-cloud and finally the config folder contains all the configurable variables. For example the screen.scss file will include at the end all the files who belong in these directories into a single compiled CSS document, named screen.css.

Actually the Sass files are compiled with the libsass implementation using a Gulp script.

To install and use Gulp, you need to have a recent version of Node.js and install the dependencies like this in the root directory of Zinnia:

$ npm install .

Then you just have to run the gulp command and start to edit the Sass files to customize the stylesheets provided by Zinnia.

Once you are done, open a new pull-request on Github with your commited changes.


If you want to contribute by updating a translation or adding a translation in your language, it’s simple: create a account on and you will be able to edit the translations at this URL :

The translations hosted on will be pulled periodically in the repository, but if you are in a hurry, send me a message.

If you’ve found that a particular piece of text cannot be translated in your language, because it lacks a plural form, or requires to be split in two separate sentences to deal with a different gender, you can click the open issue button to mark your comment as an issue. A developer can then resolve the issue.