Contributing to bpython

Thanks for working on bpython!

On the GitHub issue tracker some issues are labeled bite-size - these are particularly good ones to start out with.

See our section about the Community for a list of resources.

#bpython on OFTC is particularly useful, but you might have to wait for a while to get a question answered depending on the time of day.

Getting your development environment set up

bpython supports Python 3.8 and newer. The code is compatible with all supported versions.

Using a virtual environment is probably a good idea. Create a virtual environment with

# determines Python version used
$ virtualenv bpython-dev
# necessary every time you work on bpython
$ source bpython-dev/bin/activate

Fork bpython in the GitHub web interface. Be sure to include the tags in your fork by un-selecting the option to copy only the main branch.

Then, clone the forked repo:

$ git clone
# or "git clone"

Next install your development copy of bpython and its dependencies:

$ cd bpython
# install bpython and required dependencies
$ pip install -e .
# install optional dependencies
$ pip install watchdog urwid
# development dependencies
$ pip install sphinx pytest
<modify a file in some way>
# this runs your modified copy of bpython!
$ bpython


Many requirements are also available from your distribution’s package manager. On Debian/Ubuntu based systems, the following packages can be used:

$ sudo apt install python3-greenlet python3-pygments python3-requests
$ sudo apt install python3-watchdog python3-urwid
$ sudo apt install python3-sphinx python3-pytest

You also need to run virtualenv with –system-site-packages packages, if you want to use the packages provided by your distribution.


Installation of some dependencies with pip requires Python headers and a C compiler. These are also available from your package manager.

$ sudo apt install gcc python3-dev

As a first dev task, I recommend getting bpython to print your name every time you hit a specific key.

To run tests from the bpython directory:

$ pytest

Building the documentation

The documentation is included in the bpython repository. After checking out the bpython repository and installing sphinx as described in the previous step, you can run the following command in your checkout of the repository to build the documentation:

$ make -C doc/sphinx html

Afterwards you can point your browser to doc/sphinx/build/html/index.html. Don’t forget to recreate the HTML after you make changes.

Hacking on the site or theme

The site (and its theme as well) is stored in a separate repository and built using pelican. To start hacking on the site you need to start out with a checkout and probably a virtual environment:

$ virtualenv bpython-site-dev
$ source bpython-site-dev/bin/activate
$ pip install pelican

Fork bsite and bsite-theme in the GitHub web interface, then clone the repositories:

$ git clone
$ git clone

Next you can fiddle around in the source files. If you want to build the site you activate your virtualenv and tell pelican to generate the site with the included configuration file.

$ source bpython-site-dev/bin/activate
# if you want to fiddle on the text of the site otherwise go into
# bsite-theme
$ cd bsite
# if you checked out the theme in a different place, use that path
$ pelican -t ../bsite-theme -s

After this you can open the output/index.html in your favourite browser and see if your changes had an effect.