2024-04-03 21:04:26 +02:00

14 KiB

Contributing to Tube Archivist

Welcome, and thanks for showing interest in improving Tube Archivist!

Table of Content

How to open an issue

Please read this carefully before opening any issue on GitHub.


  • Do provide details and context, this matters a lot and makes it easier for people to help.
  • Do familiarize yourself with the project first, some questions answer themselves when using the project for some time. Familiarize yourself with the Readme and the documentation, this covers a lot of the common questions, particularly the FAQ.
  • Do respond to questions within a day or two so issues can progress. If the issue doesn't move forward due to a lack of response, we'll assume it's solved and we'll close it after some time to keep the list fresh.


  • Don't open duplicates, that includes open and closed issues.
  • Don't open an issue for something that's already on the roadmap, this needs your help to implement it, not another issue.
  • Don't open an issue for something that's a known limitation. These are known by definition and don't need another reminder. Some limitations may be solved in the future, maybe by you?
  • Don't overwrite the issue template, they are there for a reason. Overwriting that shows that you don't really care about this project. It shows that you have a misunderstanding how open source collaboration works and just want to push your ideas through. Overwriting the template may result in a ban.

Bug Report

Bug reports are highly welcome! This project has improved a lot due to your help by providing feedback when something doesn't work as expected. The developers can't possibly cover all edge cases in an ever changing environment like YouTube and yt-dlp.

Please keep in mind:

  • Docker logs are the easiest way to understand what's happening when something goes wrong, always provide the logs upfront.
  • Set the environment variable DJANGO_DEBUG=True to Tube Archivist and reproduce the bug for a better log output. Don't forget to remove that variable again after.
  • A bug that can't be reproduced, is difficult or sometimes even impossible to fix. Provide very clear steps how to reproduce.

Feature Request

This project needs your help to grow further. There is no shortage of ideas, see the open issues on GH and the roadmap, what this project lacks is contributors interested in helping with overall improvements of the application. Focus is not on adding new features, but improving existing ones.

Existing ideas are easily multiple years worth of development effort, at least at current speed. This project is very selective with accepting new feature requests at this point.

Good feature requests usually fall into one or more of these categories:

  • You want to work on your own small scoped idea within the next few days or weeks.
  • Your idea is beneficial for a wide range of users, not just for you.
  • Your idea extends the current project by building on and improving existing functionality.
  • Your idea is quick and easy to implement, for an experienced as well as for a first time contributor.

Your request is likely going to be rejected if:

  • Your idea requires multiple days worth of development time and is unrealistic to be implemented any time soon.
  • There are already other ways to do what you are trying to do.
  • You are trying to do something that only applies to your platform, your specific workflow or your specific setup.
  • Your idea would fundamentally change how the project works or it wouldn't be able to be implemented with backwards compatibility.
  • Your idea is not a good fit for this project.

Installation Help

GitHub is most likely not the best place to ask for installation help. That's inherently individual and one on one.

  1. First step is always, help yourself. Start at the Readme or the additional platform specific installation pages in the docs.
  2. If that doesn't answer your question, open a #support thread on Discord.
  3. Only if that is not an option, open an issue here.

IMPORTANT: When receiving help, contribute back to the community by improving the installation instructions with your newly gained knowledge.

How to make a Pull Request

Thank you for contributing and helping improve this project. Focus for the foreseeable future is on improving and building on existing functionality, not on adding and expanding the application.

This is a quick checklist to help streamline the process:

  • For code changes, make your PR against the testing branch. That's where all active development happens. This simplifies the later merging into master, minimizes any conflicts and usually allows for easy and convenient fast-forward merging.
  • For documentation changes, make your PR directly against the master branch.
  • Show off your progress, even if not yet complete, by creating a draft PR first and switch it as ready when you are ready.
  • Make sure all your code is linted and formatted correctly, see below. The automatic GH action unfortunately needs to be triggered manually by a maintainer for first time contributors, but will trigger automatically for existing contributors.

Making changes to the JavaScript

The JavaScript does not require any build step; you just edit the files directly. However, there is config for eslint and prettier (a linter and formatter respectively); their use is recommended but not required. To use them, install node, run npm i from the root directory of this repository to install dependencies, then run npm run lint and npm run format to run eslint and prettier respectively.

Code formatting and linting

To keep things clean and consistent for everybody, there is a github action setup to lint and check the changes. You can test your code locally first if you want. For example if you made changes in the video module, run

./ validate tubearchivist/home/src/index/

to validate your changes. If you omit the path, all the project files will get checked. This is subject to change as the codebase improves.

Contributions beyond the scope

As you have read the FAQ and the known limitations and have gotten an idea what this project tries to do, there will be some obvious shortcomings that stand out, that have been explicitly excluded from the scope of this project, at least for the time being.

Extending the scope of this project will only be feasible with more regular contributors that are willing to help improve this project in the long run. Contributors that have an overall improvement of the project in mind and not just about implementing this one thing.

Small minor additions, or making a PR for a documented feature request or bug, even if that was and will be your only contribution to this project, are always welcome and is not what this is about.

Beyond that, general rules to consider:

  • Maintainability is key: It's not just about implementing something and being done with it, it's about maintaining it, fixing bugs as they occur, improving on it and supporting it in the long run.
  • Others can do it better: Some problems have been solved by very talented developers. These things don't need to be reinvented again here in this project.
  • Develop for the 80%: New features and additions should be beneficial for 80% of the users. If you are trying to solve your own problem that only applies to you, maybe that would be better to do in your own fork or if possible by a standalone implementation using the API.
  • If all of that sounds too strict for you, as stated above, start becoming a regular contributor to this project.

User Scripts

Some of you might have created useful scripts or API integrations around this project. Sharing is caring! Please add a link to your script to the Readme here.

  • Your repo should have a LICENSE file with one of the common open source licenses. People are expected to fork, adapt and build upon your great work.
  • Your script should not modify the official files of Tube Archivist. E.g. your symlink script should build links outside of your /youtube folder. Or your fancy script that creates a beautiful artwork gallery should do that outside of the /cache folder. Modifying the official files and folders of TA are probably not supported.
  • On the top of the repo you should have a mention and a link back to the Tube Archivist repo. Clearly state to not to open any issues on the main TA repo regarding your script.
  • Example template:
    • [<user>/<repo>]( A short one line description.

Improve to the Documentation

The documentation available at and is build from a separate repo tubearchivist/docs. The Readme has additional instructions on how to make changes.

Development Environment

I have learned the hard way, that working on a dockerized application outside of docker is very error prone and in general not a good idea. So if you want to test your changes, it's best to run them in a docker testing environment. You might be able to run the application directly, but this document assumes you're using docker.


Set up docker on your development machine.

Clone this repository.

Functional changes should be made against the unstable testing branch, so check that branch out, then make a new branch for your work.

Edit the docker-compose.yml file and replace the image: bbilly1/tubearchivist line with build: .. Also make any other changes to the environment variables and so on necessary to run the application, just like you're launching the application as normal.

Run docker compose up --build. This will bring up the application. Kill it with ctrl-c or by running docker compose down from a new terminal window in the same directory.

Make your changes locally and re-run docker compose up --build. The Dockerfile is structured in a way that the actual application code is in the last layer so rebuilding the image with only code changes utilizes the build cache for everything else and will just take a few seconds.

Develop environment inside a VM

You may find it nice to run everything inside of a VM, though this is not necessary. There's a script which has some helpers for this use case. YMMV, this is what one of the developers does:

  • Clone the repo, work on it with your favorite code editor in your local filesystem. testing branch is where all the changes are happening, might be unstable and is WIP.
  • Then I have a VM running standard Ubuntu Server LTS with docker installed. The VM keeps my projects separate and offers convenient snapshot functionality. The VM also offers ways to simulate low end environments by limiting CPU cores and memory. You can use this Ansible Docker Ubuntu playbook to get started quickly. But you could also just run docker on your host system.
  • I have my local DNS resolve tubearchivist.local to the IP of the VM for convenience. To deploy the latest changes and rebuild the application to the testing VM run:
./ test
  • The command above will call the docker build command with --build-arg INSTALL_DEBUG=1 to install additional useful debug tools.
  • The test argument takes another optional argument to build for a specific architecture valid options are: amd64, arm64 and multi, default is amd64.
  • This script is not meant to be universally usable for every possible environment but could serve as an idea on how to automatically rebuild containers to test changes - customize to your liking.

Working with Elasticsearch

Additionally to the required services as listed in the example docker-compose file, the Dev Tools of Kibana are invaluable for running and testing Elasticsearch queries.

Quick start
Generate your access token in Elasitcsearch:

bin/elasticsearch-service-tokens create elastic/kibana kibana

Example docker compose, use same version as for Elasticsearch:

    container_name: kibana
    - "ELASTICSEARCH_HOSTS=http://archivist-es:9200"
    - "5601:5601"

If you want to run queries on the Elasticsearch container directly from your host with for example curl or something like postman, you might want to publish the port 9200 instead of just exposing it.