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This contributing guide has been derived from the tidyverse boilerplate and ruODK contributing guide.

Non-technical contributions to robotoolbox

Feel free to report issues:

  • Bug reports are for unplanned malfunctions.
  • Feature requests are for ideas and new features.

Technical contributions to robotoolbox

If you would like to contribute to the code base, follow the process below.

This explains how to propose a change to robotoolbox via a pull request using Git and GitLab.

For more general info about contributing to robotoolbox, see the Resources at the end of this document.


To test the package, you will need valid credentials for a Kobotoolbox server. Create an account request issue.

Before you do a pull request, you should always file an issue and make sure the maintainers agree that it is a problem, and is happy with your basic proposal for fixing it. If you have found a bug, follow the issue template to create a minimal reprex.


Some changes have intricate internal and external dependencies, which are easy to miss and break. These checklists aim to avoid these pitfalls.

MR process

Fork, clone, branch

The first thing you’ll need to do is to fork the robotoolbox GitLab repo, and then clone it locally. We recommend that you create a branch for each MR.


Before changing anything, make sure the package still passes the below listed flavours of R CMD check locally for you.

goodpractice::goodpractice(quiet = FALSE, )
devtools::check(cran = TRUE, remote = TRUE, incoming = TRUE)
chk <- rcmdcheck::rcmdcheck(args = c("--as-cran"))


Match the existing code style. This means you should follow the tidyverse style guide. Use the styler package to apply the style guide automatically.

Be careful to only make style changes to the code you are contributing. If you find that there is a lot of code that doesn’t meet the style guide, it would be better to file an issue or a separate MR to fix that first.


We use roxygen2, specifically with the Markdown syntax, to create NAMESPACE and all .Rd files. All edits to documentation should be done in roxygen comments above the associated function or object. Then, run devtools::document() to rebuild the NAMESPACE and .Rd files.

See the RoxygenNote in DESCRIPTION for the version of roxygen2 being used.

spelling::spell_check_files("README.Rmd", lang = "en_US")
if (fs::file_info("")$modification_time <
  fs::file_info("README.Rmd")$modification_time) {
  rmarkdown::render("README.Rmd", encoding = "UTF-8", clean = TRUE)
  if (fs::file_exists("README.html")) fs::file_delete("README.html")




For user-facing changes, add a bullet to that concisely describes the change. Small tweaks to the documentation do not need a bullet. The format should include your GitLab username, and links to relevant issue(s)/PR(s), as seen below.

* `function_name()` followed by brief description of change (#issue-num, @your-gitlab-user-name)


Before submitting your changes, make sure that the package either still passes R CMD check, or that the warnings and/or notes have not changed as a result of your edits.



When you’ve made your changes, write a clear commit message describing what you’ve done. If you’ve fixed or closed an issue, make sure to include keywords (e.g. fixes #101) at the end of your commit message (not in its title) to automatically close the issue when the MR is merged.

Push and pull

Once you’ve pushed your commit(s) to a branch in your fork, you’re ready to make the pull request. Pull requests should have descriptive titles to remind reviewers/maintainers what the MR is about. You can easily view what exact changes you are proposing using either the Git diff view in RStudio, or the branch comparison view you’ll be taken to when you go to create a new MR. If the MR is related to an issue, provide the issue number and slug in the description using auto-linking syntax (e.g. #15).

Check the docs

Review, revise, repeat

The latency period between submitting your MR and its review may vary. When a maintainer does review your contribution, be sure to use the same conventions described here with any revision commits.


Code of Conduct

Please note that this project is released with a Contributor Code of Conduct. By participating in this project you agree to abide by its terms.

Maintaining robotoolbox

Package maintenance