Contributing to the Jupyter Notebook

If you’re reading this section, you’re probably interested in contributing to Jupyter. Welcome and thanks for your interest in contributing!

Please take a look at the Contributor documentation, familiarize yourself with using the Jupyter Notebook, and introduce yourself on the mailing list and share what area of the project you are interested in working on.

General Guidelines

For general documentation about contributing to Jupyter projects, see the Project Jupyter Contributor Documentation.

Setting Up a Development Environment

Installing Node.js and npm

Building the Notebook from its GitHub source code requires some tools to create and minify JavaScript components and the CSS, specifically Node.js and Node’s package manager, npm. It should be node version ≥ 6.0.

If you use conda, you can get them with:

conda install -c conda-forge nodejs

If you use Homebrew on Mac OS X:

brew install node

Installation on Linux may vary, but be aware that the nodejs or npm packages included in the system package repository may be too old to work properly.

You can also use the installer from the Node.js website.

Installing the Jupyter Notebook

Once you have installed the dependencies mentioned above, use the following steps:

pip install --upgrade setuptools pip
git clone
cd notebook
pip install -e .

If you are using a system-wide Python installation and you only want to install the notebook for you, you can add --user to the install commands.

Once you have done this, you can launch the master branch of Jupyter notebook from any directory in your system with:

jupyter notebook


While running the notebook, select one of your notebook files (the file will have the extension .ipynb). In the top tab you will click on “Help” and then click on “About”. In the pop window you will see information about the version of Jupyter that you are running. You will see “The version of the notebook server is:”. If you are working in development mode, you will see that your version of Jupyter notebook will include the word “dev”. If it does not include the word “dev”, you are currently not working in development mode and should follow the steps below to uninstall and reinstall Jupyter.

Troubleshooting the Installation

If you do not see that your Jupyter Notebook is not running on dev mode, it’s possible that you are running other instances of Jupyter Notebook. You can try the following steps:

  1. Uninstall all instances of the notebook package. These include any installations you made using pip or conda.

  2. Run python3 -m pip install -e . in the notebook repository to install the notebook from there.

  3. Run npm run build to make sure the Javascript and CSS are updated and compiled.

  4. Launch with python3 -m notebook --port 8989, and check that the browser is pointing to localhost:8989 (rather than the default 8888). You don’t necessarily have to launch with port 8989, as long as you use a port that is neither the default nor in use, then it should be fine.

  5. Verify the installation with the steps in the previous section.

Rebuilding JavaScript and CSS

There is a build step for the JavaScript and CSS in the notebook. To make sure that you are working with up-to-date code, you will need to run this command whenever there are changes to JavaScript or LESS sources:

npm run build

IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to run npm run build after switching branches. When switching between branches of different versions (e.g. 4.x and master), run pip install -e .. If you have tried the above and still find that the notebook is not reflecting the current source code, try cleaning the repo with git clean -xfd and reinstalling with pip install -e ..

Development Tip

When doing development, you can use this command to automatically rebuild JavaScript and LESS sources as they are modified:

npm run build:watch

Git Hooks

If you want to automatically update dependencies and recompile JavaScript and CSS after checking out a new commit, you can install post-checkout and post-merge hooks which will do it for you:


See git-hooks/ for more details.

Running Tests

Python Tests

Install dependencies:

pip install -e '.[test]'

To run the Python tests, use:


If you want coverage statistics as well, you can run:

py.test --cov notebook -v --pyargs notebook

JavaScript Tests

To run the JavaScript tests, you will need to have PhantomJS and CasperJS installed:

npm install -g casperjs phantomjs-prebuilt

Then, to run the JavaScript tests:

python -m notebook.jstest [group]

where [group] is an optional argument that is a path relative to notebook/tests/. For example, to run all tests in notebook/tests/notebook:

python -m notebook.jstest notebook

or to run just notebook/tests/notebook/deletecell.js:

python -m notebook.jstest notebook/deletecell.js

Building the Documentation

To build the documentation you’ll need Sphinx, pandoc and a few other packages.

To install (and activate) a conda environment named notebook_docs containing all the necessary packages (except pandoc), use:

conda create -n notebook_docs pip
conda activate notebook_docs  # Linux and OS X
activate notebook_docs        # Windows
pip install .[docs]

If you want to install the necessary packages with pip, use the following instead:

pip install .[docs]

Once you have installed the required packages, you can build the docs with:

cd docs
make html

After that, the generated HTML files will be available at build/html/index.html. You may view the docs in your browser.

You can automatically check if all hyperlinks are still valid:

make linkcheck

Windows users can find make.bat in the docs folder.

You should also have a look at the Project Jupyter Documentation Guide.