Contributor guide

Firstly, thank you for considering contributing to Doctave. Open source software would not survive without people like yourself, who take time out of their busy schedules to help out. We appreciate you.

This document will help you get started working with Doctave. It will walk you through how to build, run tests, and things to keep in mind when contributing.

First, make sure you've cloned the repo,

git clone

and installed the Rust toolchain.


Doctave is a fairly standard Rust project. It uses Cargo, doesn't have any non-rust dependencies, so assuming you have Rust installed, you should be able to run cargo build and get a working build. If not, please open an issue on Github with the error you see.

$ cargo build

...building ensues...

You can now verify your installation works with:

$ cargo run -- --version

Running tests

Again, Doctave uses Cargo. You can run all tests with

$ cargo test

This will run unit tests and integration tests.

Test structure

Doctave has two types of tests: unit tests and integration tests.

You will find unit tests at the bottom of source files under src. As a general rule, they should not have any external dependencies - especially on the file system.

Integrations tests live under the tests directory. These tests shell out and execute the doctave binary directly inside an isolated environment. Each test will get its own directory under the _test_area directory when executed.

Adding integration tests

If you want to add integration tests, you should use the integration_test macro to define your tests. It takes two arguments: the name of the test, and a lambda to run the test code. The argument passed into the lambda is a TestArea struct describing the isolated test area. When creating files, or running commands or assertions, you should always run them via this struct. The definition of the struct is under docs/

Below is a simple example of a smoke test that checks when a site is built, it will contain the expected content in the index file.

integration_test!(build_smoke_test, |area| {
        indoc! {"
        # Some content

        This is some text

        * Look
        * At
        * My
        * List

    let result = area.cmd(&["build"]);

    let index = Path::new("site").join("index.html");

    area.assert_contains(&index, ">Some content</h1>");
    area.assert_contains(&index, "<p>This is some text</p>");
    area.assert_contains(&index, "<title>Test Project</title>");
    area.assert_contains(&index, "<li>Look</li>");
    area.assert_contains(&index, "<li>At</li>");
    area.assert_contains(&index, "<li>My</li>");
    area.assert_contains(&index, "<li>List</li>");

Cross-platform compatibility

Doctave runs on Mac, Linux, and Windows, which means you need to be careful about not relying on platform-specific features. Most commonly for Doctave, this means you have to be careful when building filesystem paths.

Luckily, Rust has a good solution for this: the Path and PathBuf structs. If you are familiar with Rust, think of these as str and String equivalents for handling paths. Path is always accessed through a reference, while PathBuf is an owned type.


Doctave uses GitHub actions to run tests automatically for each commit and PR. The test suite is executed on Mac, Linux, and Windows. When opening a PR, make sure you pass all checks.

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