Contribution guidelines

We welcome all possible contributors. This page details the some of the guidelines that should be followed when contributing to this package.

Reporting bugs

We track bugs using GitHub issues. We encourage you to write complete, specific, reproducible bug reports. Mention the versions of Julia and ReactiveMP for which you observe unexpected behavior. Please provide a concise description of the problem and complement it with code snippets, test cases, screenshots, tracebacks or any other information that you consider relevant. This will help us to replicate the problem and narrow the search space for solutions.

Suggesting features

We welcome new feature proposals. However, before submitting a feature request, consider a few things:

  • Does the feature require changes in the core ReactiveMP.jl code? If it doesn't (for example, you would like to add a factor node for a particular application), you can add local extensions in your script/notebook or consider making a separate repository for your extensions.
  • If you would like to add an implementation of a feature that changes a lot in the core ReactiveMP.jl code, please open an issue on GitHub and describe your proposal first. This will allow us to discuss your proposal with you before you invest your time in implementing something that may be difficult to merge later on.

Contributing code

Installing ReactiveMP

We suggest that you use the dev command from the new Julia package manager to install ReactiveMP.jl for development purposes. To work on your fork of ReactiveMP.jl, use your fork's URL address in the dev command, for example:

] dev

The dev command clones ReactiveMP.jl to ~/.julia/dev/ReactiveMP. All local changes to ReactiveMP code will be reflected in imported code.


It is also might be useful to install Revise.jl package as it allows you to modify code and use the changes without restarting Julia.

Committing code

We use the standard GitHub Flow workflow where all contributions are added through pull requests. In order to contribute, first fork the repository, then commit your contributions to your fork, and then create a pull request on the master branch of the ReactiveMP.jl repository.

Before opening a pull request, please make sure that all tests pass without failing! All demos (can be found in /demo/ directory) and benchmarks (can be found in /benchmark/ directory) have to run without errors as well.

Style conventions


ReactiveMP.jl repository contains scripts to automatically format code according to our guidelines. Use make format command to fix code style. This command overwrites files.

We use default Julia style guide. We list here a few important points and our modifications to the Julia style guide:

  • Use 4 spaces for indentation
  • Type names use UpperCamelCase. For example: AbstractFactorNode, RandomVariable, etc..
  • Function names are lowercase with underscores, when necessary. For example: activate!, randomvar, as_variable, etc..
  • Variable names and function arguments use snake_case
  • The name of a method that modifies its argument(s) must end in !

Unit tests

We use the test-driven development (TDD) methodology for ReactiveMP.jl development. The test coverage should be as complete as possible. Please make sure that you write tests for each piece of code that you want to add.

All unit tests are located in the /test/ directory. The /test/ directory follows the structure of the /src/ directory. Each test file should have following filename format: test_*.jl. Some tests are also present in jldoctest docs annotations directly in the source code. See Julia's documentation about doctests.

The tests can be evaluated by running following command in the Julia REPL:

] test ReactiveMP

In addition tests can be evaluated by running following command in the ReactiveMP root directory:

make test

Fixes to external libraries

If a bug has been discovered in an external dependencies of the ReactiveMP.jl it is the best to open an issue directly in the dependency's github repository. You use can use the fixes.jl file for hot-fixes before a new release of the broken dependecy is available.


ReactiveMP.jl uses Makefile for most common operations:

  • make help: Shows help snippet
  • make test: Run tests, supports extra arguments
    • make test test_args="distributions:normal_mean_variance" would run tests only from distributions/test_normal_mean_variance.jl
    • make test test_args="distributions:normal_mean_variance models:lgssm" would run tests both from distributions/test_normal_mean_variance.jl and models/test_lgssm.jl
  • make docs: Compile documentation
  • make benchmark: Run simple benchmark
  • make lint: Check codestyle
  • make format: Check and fix codestyle