Developing Wagtail CRX

To create a test project locally:

  1. Clone the code from (main branch).

  2. Run pip install -r requirements-dev.txt from the root coderedcms directory. This will install development tools, and also make the install editable, which is relevant when running makemigrations in test project to actually generate the migration files in the coderedcms pip package.

  3. Follow the steps in Installation. Use testproject for your project name to ensure it is ignored by git.

  4. When making model or block changes within coderedcms, run makemigrations coderedcms in the test project to generate the relevant migration files for the pip package. ALWAYS follow steps 4 and 5 in Installation with a fresh database before making migrations.

  5. When model or block changes affect the local test project (i.e. the “website” app), run makemigrations website in the test project to generate the relevant migration files locally. Apply and test the migrations. When satisfied, re-generate the migration in project_template/website/migrations/ as so:

    1. Create a new test project using coderedcms start testproject.

    2. Before running migrations, DELETE all migrations in testproject/website/migrations/.

    3. Run python makemigrations website. This should generate an migration.

    4. Replace project_template/website/migrations/ with your newly generated migration.

When making changes that are potentially destructive or backwards incompatible, increment the minor version number until coderedcms reaches a stable 1.0 release. Each production project that uses coderedcms should specify the appropriate version in its requirements.txt to prevent breakage.


When testing existing projects with coderedcms installed from a development branch, be sure to use a disposable database, as it is likely that the migrations will not be the same migrations that get released.

Branching Strategy

Primary development takes place in individual branches for each feature or bug. Changes are then made as a pull request against the main branch.

The main branch is the primary working branch, representing the development version of coderedcms.

Releases are maintained in release/X.Y branches, where X is the Major version and Y is the Minor version. Maintenance patches are applied in main (if applicable) and then merged or cherry-picked into the respective release branch.

A Note on Cross-Platform Support

Wagtail CRX works equally well on Windows, macOS, and Linux. When adding new features or new dependencies, ensure that these utilize proper cross-platform utilities in Python.

To ease local development of Wagtail CRX, we have some automation scripts using cross-platform PowerShell Core. Throughout this contributing guide, you will encounter various PowerShell scripts which provide an easy way of running quality control measures.

Our goal is that users of any platform can develop or host a Wagtail CRX website easily.

CSS Development

When CSS changes are needed for front-end code (not the wagtail admin), Sass should be used. Each block, page, snippet, or other component that requires styling should have a dedicated .scss file created beginning with an underscore in coderedcms/static/scss/. Then import the file in our main crx-front.scss file. Then build a human readable and minified version of CSS from the command prompt as so:

$ cd coderedcms/static/coderedcms/

$ # Build human readable CSS, and source map for nicer debugging.
$ pysassc -g -t expanded scss/crx-front.scss css/crx-front.css

$ # Build minified CSS.
$ pysassc -t compressed scss/crx-front.scss css/crx-front.min.css

The generated CSS files must also be committed to version control whenever a sass file is changed, as they are distributed as part of our package.

JavaScript Development

All JavaScript should use crx-front.js as an entry point, meaning feature detection should happen in crx-front.js and then only load secondary scripts and CSS as needed. This ensures only one single small JavaScript file is required on page load, which reduces render-blocking resources and page load time.

All JavaScript files produced by CodeRed should contain a license header comment. This standard license header comment states copyright, ownership, license, and also provides compatibility for LibreJS.

Wagtail CRX (
Copyright 2018-2023 CodeRed LLC
@license magnet:?xt=urn:btih:c80d50af7d3db9be66a4d0a86db0286e4fd33292&dn=bsd-3-clause.txt BSD-3-Clause

... script code here ...

/* @license-end */

Upgrading 3rd-Party CSS/JavaScript Libraries

External front-end libraries are included in two places: * Source or distributables are in coderedcms/static/coderedcms/vendor/. * Referenced via a CDN in coderedcms/static/coderedcms/crx-front.js.

To upgrade, replace the relevant files or links in these two sources. Then be sure to change any URLs if applicable within the base.html template.

If changing SASS sources, be sure to test .scss files in coderedcms/project_template/sass/ which may require changes.

Testing Wagtail CRX

To run the unit tests, run the following command. This will output a unit test report and code coverage report:

$ pytest coderedcms/

Or more conveniently, run the PowerShell script, which will also print out the code coverage percentage in the console:

$ ./ci/run-tests.ps1

Detailed test coverage reports are now available by opening htmlcov/index.html in your browser (which is ignored by version control).

To compare your current code coverage against the code coverage of the main branch (based on latest Azure Pipeline build from main) run:

$ ./ci/compare-codecov.ps1

Adding New Tests

Test coverage at the moment is fairly minimal and it is highly recommended that new features and models include proper unit tests. Any testing infrastructure (i.e. implementations of abstract models and migrations) needed should be added to the tests app in your local copy of Wagtail CRX. The tests themselves should be in their relevant section in Wagtail CRX (i.e. tests for models in coderedcms.models.page_models should be located in coderedcms.models.tests.test_page_models).

For example, here is how you would add tests for a new abstract page type, CoderedCustomPage that would live in coderedcms/models/

  1. Navigate to coderedcms/tests/testapp/

  2. Add the following import: from coderedcms.models.page_models import CoderedCustomPage

  3. Implement a concrete version of CoderedCustomPage, i.e. CustomPage(CoderedCustomPage).

  4. Run python makemigrations to make new testing migrations.

  5. Navigate to coderedcms/models/tests/

  6. Add the following import: from coderedcms.models import CoderedCustomPage

  7. Add the following import: from coderedcms.tests.testapp.models import CustomPage

  8. Add the following to the bottom of the file:

    class CoderedCustomPageTestCase(AbstractPageTestCase, WagtailPageTests):
        model = CoderedCustomPage
  9. Add the following to the bottom of the file:

    class CustomPageTestCase(ConcreteBasicPageTestCase, WagtailPageTests):
        model = CustomPage
  10. Write any specific test cases that CoderedCustomPage and CustomPage may require.

Static Analysis

All code should be formatted with ruff before committing:

$ ruff format .

Ruff is also used to check for syntax and style errors. To analyze the entire codebase, run:

$ ruff check --fix .

Contributor Guidelines

We are happy to accept pull requests from the community if it aligns with our vision for coderedcms. When creating a pull request, please make sure you include the following:

  • A description in the pull request of what this change does and how it works.

  • Reference to an issue if the change is related to one of the issues on our GitHub page.

  • Documentation updates in the docs/ directory describing your change.

  • Unit tests, or a description of how the change was manually tested.

Following submission of your pull request, a CodeRed member will review and test your change. All changes, even by CodeRed members, must go through a pull request process to ensure quality.

Merging Pull Requests

Follow these guidelines to merge a pull request into the main branch:

  • Unit tests pass.

  • Code coverage is not lower than main branch.

  • Documentation builds, and the PR provides documentation (release notes at a minimum).

  • If there is a related issue, the issue is referenced and/or closed (if applicable)

  • Finally, always make a squash merge with a single descriptive commit message. Avoid simply using the default commit message generated by GitHub if it is a summary of previous commits or is not descriptive of the change.

In the event that the pull request needs more work that the author is unable to provide, the following process should be followed:

  • Create a new branch from main in the form of merge/pr-123 where 123 is the original pull request number.

  • Edit the pull request to merge into the new branch instead of main.

  • Make the necessary changes and submit for review using the normal process.

  • When merging this branch into main, follow the same process above, but be sure to credit the original author(s) by adding their names to the bottom of the commit message as so (see GitHub documentation):

    Co-authored-by: name <>
    Co-authored-by: another-name <>

Building Python Packages

To build a publicly consumable pip package, run:

$ python sdist bdist_wheel

Building Documentation

For every code or feature change, be sure to update the docs in the repository. To build the documentation run the PowerShell script, which will also check for errors in the documentation:

$ ./ci/make-docs.ps1

Or manually using sphinx:

$ sphinx-build -M html docs/ docs/_build/ -W

Output will be in docs/_build/html/ directory.

Updating Tutorial Documentation

Once you have worked in the tutorial site and gotten new screenshots for the Getting Started documentation, you will also need to update the fixture file, which is located in tutorial > mysite > website > fixtures.

These are the steps for updating the fixture:

  1. From the command line, type python dumpdata --natural-foreign --natural-primary -e contenttypes -e auth.Permission --indent 4 > dumpdata.json

  2. The dumped data file will show up in the website folder. Open it and copy/paste its contents into a new file called database.json. This will fix the encoding issue you would run into otherwise. Save the new fixture file and delete the one that was dumped. Also delete the one that is currently in the fixtures folder.

  3. Move the database.json file into the fixtures folder.

Publishing a New Release


For creating pre-releases, use the “rc” version specifier in coderedcms/ When publishing a production release, leave this blank. After a release is completed, increment the version and add the “dev0” version specifier.

First checkout the code/branch for release.

Next build a pip package:

$ python sdist bdist_wheel

Then upload the pip package to the Python Package Index:

$ twine upload dist/*

Finally build and update docs:

$ ./ci/make-docs.ps1

Copy the contents of docs/_build/html/ to the CodeRed docs server under the existing version directory. Using the cr tool:

$ cr upload --path ./docs/_build/html/ --remote /www/wagtail-crx/ docs

Note that we do not release separate documentation versions for minor or maintenance releases. Update the existing major version docs with release notes and other changes.