Contributing to pulse2percept


If you found a bug or want to request a feature, please open an issue in our Issue Tracker on GitHub.

We are excited that you are here and want to contribute!

Already know what you’re looking for in this guide? Jump to the following sections:

Contributing code

Perform all your work on a new branch of the repository. For example, say you want to add “feature1” to the latest version of pulse2percept:

  1. Make sure you have the latest code:

    git checkout master
    git pull upstream master


    If you get an error saying “upstream does not appear to be a git repository”, you need to run the following command first: git remote add upstream

  2. Create a new branch (aptly named “feature1” or similar):

    git checkout -b feature1
  3. Add and commit your changes to this branch:

    git add
    git commit -m "add new feature1 file"
  4. Then push it to your remote repository on GitHub:

    git push origin feature1


    All code additions must be documented and tested.

  5. Go to GitHub and submit a pull request:

    1. Click on “compare & pull request” at the top of the page.

    2. Choose “pulse2percept/pulse2percept” as the base repository and “master” as the base branch.

    3. Choose “<username>/pulse2percept” as the head repository and “feature1” as the compare branch, where “<username>” is your GitHub user name.

    4. Click on “Create pull request” (or “Create draft pull request” if your work is not ready to be merged) and describe the work you have done. Make sure to mention the issue number you are addressing (use # as prefix).

      An easy way to list all the things you changed is to use a list of checkboxes (type - [X]; or - [ ] for an item that has yet to be implemented).

Documenting your code

You are expected to document your code using NumPy docstrings. Make sure to:

  • supply short and long descriptions,
  • describe all input arguments to a function/method,
  • describe the output of a function/method,
  • provide examples of how to use your code.

For example, consider an appropriate docstring for a hypothetical function rad2deg:

def rad2deg(angle_rad):
    """Converts radians to degrees

    This function converts an angle in radians to degrees.

    angle_rad : int, float
        The input angle in radians in (between 0 and 2pi)

    angle_deg : float
        The corresponding angle in degrees (between 0 and 360 deg)

    Converting pi to degrees:
    >>> import numpy as np
    >>> rad2deg(np.pi)

    .. seealso:: `deg2rad`

You can generate the documentation yourself using Sphinx. If you installed make, type the following from your root directory:

make doc

Otherwise, type the following from your root directory:

cd doc
pip3 install -r requirements.txt
make html

The generated documentation can then be found in doc/_build/html. To see the documentation, “doc/_build/html/index.html” in your browser of choice, e.g.:

google-chrome doc/_build/html/index.html

Documenting API changes

API changes that affect the user should be documented in order to help the user sort out version differences (see reST directives):

  • Whenever a new API call is added, include a .. versionadded:: statement right before listing the function parameters that mentions the pulse2percept version where the feature first appeared.
  • Whenever the API of a function/class is changed, include a .. versionchanged:: statement right before listing the function parameters that explains what/how functionality changed in a particular pulse2percept version.

Testing your code

You are expected to test your code using pytest:

  • Bug fixes should include an example that exposes the issue.
  • New features should have tests that show at least a minimal example.

Running the test suite

pulse2percept uses pytest and numpy-testing for testing.

Every subpackage of pulse2percept (e.g., stimuli) has a subdirectory called “tests”. Within the test directory, there is a “test_<subsubpackage>.py” file for every subsubpackage of pulse2percept (e.g., “pulse2percept/stimuli/tests/” for the pulse_trains module).

When you contribute new code, you are expected to test your code in the corresponding test file.

You can run the test suite from your root directory with:

pip3 install -r requirements-dev.txt
pytest --doctest-modules --showlocals -v pulse2percept

Successful tasks will be marked with “PASSED”, unsuccessful ones with “FAILED”. We will usually not accept pull requests that don’t pass all tests.


Whenever you submit a pull request, the test suite is automatically run in the background using GitHub Actions. This will make sure that all tests pass on all supported platforms whenever changes are made to the code.

Writing your own tests

If you work on code from an existing subpackage (e.g., pulse2percept.stimuli.pulse_trains), open the corresponding test file (e.g., “pulse2percept/stimuli/tests/”).

You can add a new test by adding a function whose name starts with “test_”, followed by the name of the class or function you want to test. For example:

  • def test_TimeSeries for testing the TimeSeries object (note that this function already exists).
  • def test_TimeSeries_resample for testing the resample method of the TimeSeries object.
  • def test_newfunc for a new function called newfunc.

Within this function, you want to make sure your code works as expected. Useful numpy-testing routines for achieving this include:

  • assert_equal(actual, desired) returns an AssertionError if two objects are not equal.
  • assert_almost_equal(actual, desired, decimal=7) returns an AssertionError if two items are not equal up to desired precision (good for testing doubles).
  • assert_raises(exception_class) fails unless an Exception of class exception_class is thrown.

In addition, we provide assert_warns_msg to ensure that a specific warning message is thrown.

Thank you

You are awesome!

This guide is based on contributing guidelines from the `Nipype`_ project.