Becoming a developer

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Becoming a BioPerl developer in our book simply means contributing to the project. We would prefer you become proficient enough in Using Git to submit your changes directly to the repository.

Developer accounts are generally handed out when a current developer can vouch for your knowledge of how the toolkit is organized and basic Perl so that other developers do not need to come behind and clean up lots of mistakes.

Ewan Birney had a nice intro to becoming a developer.


Ways to contribute

Although the main focus of the project is a set of Perl modules, we need contributions on a several different levels. The Project priority list has a list of open projects which need helpers.

New modules

One simple way to contribute includes added new modules to handle data from additional bioinformatics programs. Many of requested contributions are listed Project priority list as well as in the Category:TODO list.


The test system in BioPerl is located in the t directory in the distribution for each package. There are a set of tests usually named by the name of module being tested. For many modules these tests may not be sufficient to test all aspects or uses of the modules. We can definitely use additional tests and variants of data files to insure the modules are handling the parsing or data output properly.

Additional code

New scripts are also needed which provide ready to use utilities to for new users. Most of the scripts are located in the scripts directory and are outlined in the Bioperl scripts page. If you have a particular situation where you have used BioPerl and written a general purpose solution to it (or you want to use this as an opportunity to generize your script) then contribute it to the scripts directory in Git (either through Redmine or directly to Git once you have an account. The examples directory also provides example scripts to demonstrate how to use a module or set of modules.


Besides code there are plenty of needs for additional contributed documentation. This includes general HOWTOs which are narrative descriptions of using a module or set of modules. The API documentation may also be limited and this should be augmented where something is poorly described or insufficient.


Contributing a HOWTO is even easier now, you can use this wiki to contribute to our growing list of HOWTOs. If you have an idea for a HOWTO but do not want to write the entire thing, feel free to start it and solicit input from developers on the Mailing list or one of the core developers.


If you have written a tutorial about using BioPerl we will also be gathering these on the BioPerl site. This may just be a collection of web links or you can upload the entire tutorial if would prefer it to be hosted on this site. Your contributions are protected under the Project:Copyrights.

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