Contribution Guide

This page explains how to get started contributing code to the SoftLayer API Python Bindings project.

Code Organization

  • docs - Where The source to this documentation lives.

  • SoftLayer - All the source lives under here.

    • API - Primary API client.

    • CLI - Code for the command-line interface.

    • managers - API Managers. Abstractions to help use the API.

Setting Up A Dev Environment

Before working with the SoftLayer Python API client source, we strongly recommend that you know how to use Python’s virtual environment, virtualenv. Virtualenv allows you to create isolated Python environments that are individually tailored to particular development projects. Each environment can have its own set of libraries and even its own Python interpreter. This keeps them fully isolated, reducing the possibility of library conflicts between different projects.

After you have virtualenv, you should set up a virtual environment and activate it whenever you are working on softlayer-python. The commands needed to setup an environment and activate it might look something like this:

virtualenv --no-site-packages softlayer_env
source softlayer_env/bin/activate

Please refer to the virtualenv documentation for more information about creating, and working with virtual environments.

Once you have an appropriate environment, you will then download the SoftLayer API Python Bindings source code by following the installation instructions. Change into softlayer-python source directory and run the following to install the pre-requisites that you’ll need in order to run the test suites:

pip install -r tools/test-requirements.txt


The project has a mix of functional and unit tests. Before submitting changes to be integrated into the project, you should validate your code using tox. Simply issue the tox command from the root of the source tree:


In addition to testing different versions of Python, tox checks for common mistakes in the code using Flake8 and pylint. You should eliminate the linting errors that are reported before submitting your code. You can run only the linting checks by using this command:

tox -eanalysis

The project’s configuration instructs tox to test against many different versions of Python. A tox test will use as many of those as it can find on your local computer.

Using tox to run tests in multiple environments can be very time consuming. If you wish to quickly run the tests in your own environment, you may do so using py.test. The command to do that is:

py.test tests


Testing of this project relies quite heavily on fixtures to simulate API calls. When running the unit tests, we use the FixtureTransport class, which instead of making actual API calls, loads data from /fixtures/ and tries to find a variable that matches the method you are calling.

When adding new Fixtures you should try to sanitize the data of any account identifiying results, such as account ids, username, and that sort of thing. It is ok to leave the id in place for things like datacenter ids, price ids.

To Overwrite a fixture, you can use a mock object to do so. Like either of these two methods:

# From tests/CLI/modules/
from SoftLayer.fixtures import SoftLayer_Product_Package

def test_create_test(self):
    item_mock = self.set_mock('SoftLayer_Product_Package', 'getItems')
    item_mock.return_value = SoftLayer_Product_Package.getItems_RESERVED_CAPACITY

def test_detail_pending(self):
    capacity_mock = self.set_mock('SoftLayer_Virtual_ReservedCapacityGroup', 'getObject')
    get_object = {
        'name': 'test-capacity',
        'instances': []
    capacity_mock.return_value = get_object


The project is documented in reStructuredText and built using Sphinx. If you have fabric installed, you simply need to run the following to build the docs:

fab make_html

The documentation will be built in docs/_build/html. If you don’t have fabric, use the following commands.

cd docs
make html
sphinx-build -b html ./  ./html

The primary docs are built at Read the Docs.


This project tries to follow PEP 8 and most of the style suggestions that pyflakes recommends. Run Flake8 regularly. Flake8, with project-specific exceptions, can be run by using tox:

tox -e analysis

Autopep8 can fix a lot of the simple flake8 errors about whitespace and indention.

autopep8 -r  -a -v -i --max-line-length 119


Contributing to the Python API bindings follows the fork-pull-request model on GitHub. The project uses GitHub’s issue tracker and pull requests to manage source control, bug fixes and new feature development regarding the API bindings and the CLI. In order to contribute, we require that you sign a contributer agreemenet:

  • Sign our contributor agreement (CLA) You can find the CLA here.

  • If you’re contributing on behalf of your employer we’ll need a signed copy of our corporate contributor agreement (CCLA) as well. You can find the CCLA here.

Developer Resources