How you can aid development

Posted by igorw in Development on January 11th, 2012

Since we opened up development and moved our code onto GitHub, we’ve received several contributions. It allowed a number of non-development team members to contribute. We have been listing these contributors in the 3.0 release announcements, and you can also see them on the area51 contributors page.

However, I think we can do better. And this is why I want to reach out to the modding community. We have limited ressources and we need your help.

Contribute patches

The bug tracker is filled with bug reports. You may have reported a few bugs yourself. There’s so many, it’s likely that a large amount will never get fixed.

This is your chance. If you ran into a bug that really bugs you (pun absolutely intended), now is the time to fix it. If you’ve interacted with the MODding community, maybe by submitting some MODs to the cusomisation database, you should already be somewhat familiar with the phpBB code base and its coding guidelines.

Creating a patch is like creating a MOD. Except you don’t have to write a MODX file. Instead you can have a diff generated for you or just use git to manage the changes.

Once you are done with your patch, you can either attach a patch file to the ticket, or you can be awesome and create a pull request on GitHub. Pull requests make it easier for us to read, discuss, and test your patch. For this reason it will likely be merged faster.

Review pull requests

Pull requests are patches awaiting review. Most of the time they will be from developers. That’s right: every change to the phpBB code base needs to be reviewed by another developer. This allows us to catch problems early, and distribute the blame when something goes wrong.

There is a list of open pull requests that are waiting to be merged. Some of them already have comments, while others have not been reviewed yet.

Reviewing these is a lot of work. But you can help! If you know the phpBB code base well, you can help by checking the diffs and making sure no new problems are being introduced. Be sure to comment with your opinion; even simply saying “looks good” is helpful because it shows that someone has reviewed the patch.

The other thing you can do is test pull requests. Reviewing is nice and dandy, but testing allows you to see if things are really working. And this is very similar to testing MODs. So if you are a MOD author or maybe even a junior MOD validator, this process should be fairly familiar to you. The only difference is that everyone will be watching you.


We use git for version control. This may be intimidating to lots of you, but for development there is really no way around it. It is a great tool, and I encourage anyone who writes code to learn how to use it.

You will first need to fork the phpbb3 repository. Then you will need it to create a branch on your fork for your change. When you have finished your patch, push to your fork on GitHub and submit a pull request. You can also checkout someone else’s branch with that person’s proposed changes, in order to test it.

I’ll be honest with you: it’s tough.

But there are lots of great resources out there! One of my favorites is the “Getting Git” talk by Scott Chacon. He explains the basics of how git works. This really helps you to get an initial understanding, so that you can move on to learn how to actually use it. Some great guides that can get you started using Git are the Git Reference or Pro Git. And we also have the Working with Git article on the phpBB wiki.

And fear not, we are here to help. If you run into any problems, just come onto IRC and ask.

In conclusion

So there you have it, secure your place on the area51 contributors page!

If you have questions or just want to see what we are up to, join us in the #phpbb-dev IRC channel on

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