Contributing a Pull Request

Fork and Clone the Textbook Repository

Your first step in making a contribution to our open-source textbooks is to grab a copy of the code for the book site you want to change. The book site name will tell you where to go to find the repository.

For example, if you want to make a change to the book at, you’ll find this repository at

From that GitHub page, use the ‘Fork’ button to fork a copy to your GitHub profile.


If you are a member of the LaunchCodeEducation organization on GitHub, you do not need to use a forked copy of the repository and can instead simply clone the repository you want to edit.

Clone the forked repository onto your computer:

$ git clone [email protected]:LaunchCodeEducation/intro-to-professional-web-dev.git

Alternatively, if you don’t have an SSH key configured for your GitHub account, use HTTPS:

$ git clone

With a copy of the code for the book, you’ll next have to build the program on your computer. First, you have to setup your computer with some dependencies to get the text built.



Working with our Sphinx setup requires Python 3.5+.

Check your Python version:

$ python -V
Python 3.6.1 :: Continuum Analytics, Inc.

On some systems, Python 3 will be installed as python3:

$ python3 -V
Python 3.6.5


If you are using python3, you’ll need to use pip3 wherever pip is used in the sections below.

If you don’t have a sufficient Python install, we recommend installing Miniconda.

Sphinx Setup

Install Sphinx:

$ pip install sphinx==3.3.1

Install Recommonmark to allow for writing of Markdown files in Sphinx:

$ pip install recommonmark

Install the LaunchCode fork of the sphinx-bootstrap-theme Sphinx theme.

$ pip install git+[email protected]

Install pypandoc because if you don’t, you will see an error after running build

$ pip install pypandoc

Building the site

Now build the site using the build script in the project’s root directory. To do this, open a terminal window and navigate to the project’s root directory. Use the command below to build. If all is setup correctly, you will start to see the build logs look something like those below.

$ ./
Running Sphinx v3.3.1
loading pickled environment... not yet created
building [mo]: all of 0 po files
building [html]: all source files
updating environment: 1 added, 0 changed, 0 removed
reading sources... [100%] index
looking for now-outdated files... none found
pickling environment... done
checking consistency... done
preparing documents... done
writing output... [100%] index
generating indices... genindex
writing additional pages... search
copying static files... done
copying extra files... done
dumping search index in English (code: en) ... done
dumping object inventory... done
build succeeded.

The HTML pages are in docs.

If the build script fails due to a permissions error, enable its executable bit:

$ chmod +x


At this point, if you wish to view the site locally, the build command will have created a new directory in the project called docs/. Open this directory and find index.html. Right click on the file name for index.html and select Copy Path. Drop this into your browser of choice (not Internet Explorer, please). You should see the built site running.

Adding, Committing, and Pushing Your Suggested Changes

Be sure to make your changes on a feature branch so that you can create a PR off master for the LaunchCode team to review.

$ git add .
$ git commit -m "Initial build"
$ git push origin master

Once pushed, open a PR on GitHub and we’ll be in touch to review your work and get your contributions merged in and deployed.