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Development guidelines

SpaceVim is an effort of all the volunteers, we encourage you to pitch in. The community makes SpaceVim what it is. We have a few guidelines, which we ask all contributors to follow.

Development happens in the GitHub repository. here is a throughput graph of the repository for the last few weeks:

Throughput Graph

You can only consider reading the sections relevant to what you are going to do:

Asking for help

If you want to ask an usage question, be sure to look first into some places as it may hold the answers:

Reporting issues

Issues have to be reported on issues tracker, Please:

Contributing code

Code contributions are welcome. Please read the following sections carefully. In any case, feel free to join us on the gitter chat to ask questions about contributing!


The license is GPLv3 for all the parts of SpaceVim. this includes:

For files not belonging to SpaceVim like local packages and libraries, refer to the header file. Those files should not have an empty header, we may not accept code without a proper header file.


Before contributing to SpaceVim, you should know how does SpaceVim bootstrap, here is the logic of the bootstrap when SpaceVim startup.


SpaceVim is based on conventions, mainly for naming functions, keybindings definition and writing documentation. Please read the conventions before your first contribution to get to know them.

Pull Request

Rebase your pr Branch on top of upstream master:

git remote add upstream
git fetch upstream
git rebase upstream master

Ideally for simple PRs (most of them):

For complex PRs (big refactoring, etc):

Squash only the commits with uninteresting changes like typos, syntax fixes, etc… and keep the important and isolated steps in different commits.

Those PRs are merged and explicitly not fast-forwarded.

Commit messages

Write commit messages according to adapted Tim Pope’s guidelines:

This is a model commit message:

Capitalized, short (72 chars or less) summary

More detailed explanatory text, if necessary.  Wrap it to about 72
characters or so.  In some contexts, the first line is treated as the
subject of an email and the rest of the text as the body.  The blank
line separating the summary from the body is critical (unless you omit
the body entirely); tools like rebase can get confused if you run the
two together.

Write your commit message in the imperative: "Fix bug" and not "Fixed bug"
or "Fixes bug."  This convention matches up with commit messages generated
by commands like git merge and git revert.

Further paragraphs come after blank lines.

- Bullet points are okay, too

    - Typically a hyphen or asterisk is used for the bullet, followed by a
      single space, with blank lines in between, but conventions vary here

    - Use a hanging indent

[Gita] provide vim mode for Git commit messages, which helps you to comply to these guidelines.

Contributing a layer

Please read the layers documentation first.

Layer with no associated configuration will be rejected. For instance a layer with just a package and a hook can be easily replaced by the usage of the variable g:spacevim_custom_plugins.

File header

The file header for vim script should look like the following template:

" FILENAME --- NAME layer file for SpaceVim
" Copyright (c) 2012-2016 Shidong Wang & Contributors
" URL:
" License: GPLv3

You should replace FILENAME by the name of the file (e.g. foo.vim) and NAME by the name of the layer you are creating, don’t forget to replace YOUR NAME and YOUR EMAIL also.

Author of a new layer

In the files header, change the default author name (Shidong Wang) to your name.

here is an example for creating a new layer names foo:

  1. fork SpaceVim repo
  2. add a layer file autoload/SpaceVim/layers/foo.vim for foo layer.
  3. edit layer file, check out the example below:
" foo.vim --- foo Layer file for SpaceVim
" Copyright (c) 2012-2016 Shidong Wang & Contributors
" Author: Shidong Wang < wsdjeg at >
" URL:
" License: GPLv3

" @section foo, layer-foo
" @parentsection layers
" This the doc for this layer:
" @subsection Key Bindings
" >
"   Mode      Key           Function
"   -------------------------------------------------------------
"   normal    <leader>jA    generate accessors
"   normal    <leader>js    generate setter accessor
" <
" @subsection Layer options
" >
"   Name              Description                      Default
"   -------------------------------------------------------------
"   option1       Set option1 for foo layer               ''
"   option2       Set option2 for foo layer               []
"   option3       Set option3 for foo layer               {}
" <
" @subsection Global options
" >
"   Name              Description                      Default
"   -------------------------------------------------------------
"   g:pluginA_opt1    Set opt1 for plugin A               ''
"   g:pluginB_opt2    Set opt2 for plugin B               []
" <

function! SpaceVim#layers#foo#plugins() abort
  let plugins = []
  call add(plugins, ['Shougo/foo.vim', {'option' : 'value'}])
  call add(plugins, ['Shougo/foo_test.vim', {'option' : 'value'}])
  return plugins

function! SpaceVim#layers#foo#config() abort
  let g:foo_option1 = get(g:, 'foo_option1', 1)
  let g:foo_option2 = get(g:, 'foo_option2', 2)
  let g:foo_option3 = get(g:, 'foo_option3', 3)
  " ...
  1. Add layer document docs/layers/ for foo layer.
  2. Open docs/layers/, run :call SpaceVim#dev#layers#update() to update layer list.
  3. send PR to SpaceVim.

Contributor to an existing layer

If you are contributing to an already existing layer, you should not modify any header file.

Contributing a keybinding

Mappings are an important part of SpaceVim.

First if you want to have some personal mappings, This can be done in your ~/.SpaceVim.d/init.vim file.

If you think it worth contributing a new mappings then be sure to read the documentation to find the best mappings, then create a Pull-Request with your changes.

ALWAYS document your new mappings or mappings changes inside the relevant documentation file. It should be the the layer file and the

Language specified key bindings

All language specified key bindings are started with SPC l prefix.

we recommended to keep same language specified key bindings for different languages:

Key Binding Description
SPC l r start a runner for current file
SPC l e rename symbol
SPC l d show doc
SPC l i r remove unused imports
SPC l i s sort imports with isort
SPC l s i Start a language specified inferior REPL process
SPC l s b send buffer and keep code buffer focused
SPC l s l send line and keep code buffer focused
SPC l s s send selection text and keep code buffer focused

All of these above key bindings are just recommended as default, but it also base on the language layer itself.

Contributing a banner

The startup banner is by default the SpaceVim logo but there are also ASCII banners available in the core/banner layer.

If you have some ASCII skills you can submit your artwork!

You are free to choose a reasonable height size but the width size should be around 75 characters.

Build with SpaceVim

SpaceVim provide a lot of public APIs, you can create plugins base on this APIs. also you can add a badge to the of your plugin.




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