API Development


This is a development guide for the j5 API. If you are looking to develop a new robot API, you probably want to look at Quick Start.

Development Process

j5 is developed on GitHub and pull requests should be submitted there. If you have write access to the repository, you optionally can develop your changes on a branch within the main repository. Alternatively, please fork the j5 repository and pull request from there.

If you are working on something that has an existing issue open on the j5 repository, please ensure that you assign the issue to yourself such that duplication of work does not accidentally occur.

If you need help with Git, there are plenty of good tutorials online.

Setting Up

Development of j5 has the same basic requirements as usage of the API.

You will need the following installed on your machine:

  • Python 3.7 or higher
  • python3-pip (for package management)
  • pipenv (optional)

Now clone the repository from GitHub into a folder on your local machine.

Inside that folder, we need to tell pipenv to install the dev dependencies: pipenv sync --dev

You can now enter the virtual environment using pipenv shell and develop using your IDE of choice.


As our code is used and viewed by students, we have a high standard of code within j5. All code must be statically typed, linted and covered in unit tests.

Unit Testing

We use pytest and coverage.py to do our unit testing.

Execute the test suite: pipenv run test

If you wish to view the HTML output from coverage.py to help you find statements that are not covered by unit tests, you can run the test suite in html-cov mode.

Execute the test suite in html-cov mode: pipenv run test-cov


We use flake8 and a number of extensions to ensure that our code meets the PEP 8 standards.

Execute the linter: pipenv run lint

Static Type Checking

We use mypy to statically type check our code.

Execute Type Checking: pipenv run type


We are using Sphinx to generate documentation for the project.

All documentation can be found in the docs/ folder.

Generate HTML Documentation: make html