Contribution Guidelines

Welcome to the contribution guidelines for RxInfer.jl. Here you'll find detailed instructions on how to contribute effectively to the project.

Reporting bugs

If you encounter any bugs while using the software, please report them via GitHub issues. To ensure efficient bug resolution, please provide comprehensive and reproducible bug reports. Include details such as the versions of Julia and RxInfer you're using, along with a concise description of the issue. Additionally, attach relevant code snippets, test cases, screenshots, or any other pertinent information that could aid in replicating and addressing the problem.

Nightly Julia status

Check the badge below to see if RxInfer can be installed on a Julia nightly version. A failing badge may indicate issues with RxInfer or its dependencies. Click on the badge to access the latest evaluation report.


Suggesting features

We encourage proposals for new features. Before submitting a feature request, consider the following:

  • Determine if the feature necessitates changes to the core RxInfer code. If not, such as adding a factor node for a specific application, consider local extensions in your script/notebook or creating a separate repository for your extensions.
  • For feature implementations requiring significant changes to the core RxInfer code, open a GitHub issue to discuss your proposal before proceeding with implementation. This allows for thorough deliberation and avoids investing time in features that may be challenging to integrate later on.

Contributing code

Installing RxInfer

For development purposes, it's recommended to use the dev command from the Julia package manager to install RxInfer. Use your fork's URL in the dev command to work on your forked version. For example:

] dev

The dev command clones RxInfer to ~/.julia/dev/RxInfer. All local changes to RxInfer 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.

Core dependencies

RxInfer.jl depends heavily on the core packages ReactiveMP.jl, GraphPPL.jl, and Rocket.jl. Ensure RxInfer.jl is updated whenever any of these packages undergo major updates or API changes. While making changes to RxInfer.jl, developers are advised to use the dev command for these packages as well. Note that standard Julia testing utilities ignore the local development environment and test the package with the latest released versions of core dependencies. Refer to the Makefile section below to learn how to test RxInfer.jl with locally installed core dependencies.

Committing code

We use the standard GitHub Flow workflow where all contributions are added through pull requests. To contribute:

  • Fork the repository
  • Commit your contributions to your fork
  • Create a pull request on the main branch of the RxInfer repository.

Before opening a pull request, ensure all tests pass without errors. Additionally, ensure all examples (found in the /examples/ directory) run succesfully.


Use make test, make examples and make docs commands to verify that all tests, examples, and documentation build correctly. See the Makefile section below for detailed command descriptions.

Style conventions

We use the default Julia style guide. There are a couple of important points modifications to the Julia style guide to take into account:

  • 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 !

The RxInfer repository contains scripts to automatically format code according to our guidelines. Use make format command to fix code style. This command overwrites files. Use make lint to run a linting procedure without overwriting the actual source files.

Unit tests

We use the test-driven development (TDD) methodology for RxInfer development. Aim for comprehensive test coverage, ensuring tests cover each piece of added code.

All unit tests are located in the /test/ directory. The /test/ directory follows the structure of the /src/ directory. Each test file should have the following filename format: *_tests.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 RxInfer

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

make test

Use make devtest to use local dev-ed versions of the core packages.


RxInfer.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 test dev=true would run tests while using dev-ed versions of core packages
  • make devtest: Alias for the make test dev=true ...
  • make docs: Compile documentation
  • make devdocs: Same as make docs, but uses dev-ed versions of core packages
  • make examples: Run all examples and put them in the docs/ folder if successfull
  • make devexamples: Same as make examples, but uses dev-ed versions of core packages
  • make lint: Check codestyle
  • make format: Check and fix codestyle

Core packages include ReactiveMP.jl, GraphPPL.jl and Rocket.jl. When using any of the dev commands from the Makefile those packages must be present in the Pkg.devdir() directory.