# How to contribute
Third-party patches are essential for keeping hiera great. We simply can't
access the huge number of platforms and myriad configurations for running
hiera. We want to keep it as easy as possible to contribute changes that get
things working in your environment. There are a few guidelines that we need
contributors to follow so that we can have a chance of keeping on top of
## Getting Started
* Make sure you have a [Jira account](http://tickets.puppetlabs.com)
* Make sure you have a [GitHub account](https://github.com/signup/free)
* Submit a ticket for your issue, assuming one does not already exist.
* Clearly describe the issue including steps to reproduce when it is a bug.
* Make sure you fill in the earliest version that you know has the issue.
* Fork the repository on GitHub
## Making Changes
* Create a topic branch from where you want to base your work.
* This is usually the master branch.
* Only target release branches if you are certain your fix must be on that
* To quickly create a topic branch based on master; `git branch
fix/master/my_contribution master` then checkout the new branch with `git
checkout fix/master/my_contribution`. Please avoid working directly on the
* Make commits of logical units.
* Check for unnecessary whitespace with `git diff --check` before committing.
* Make sure your commit messages are in the proper format.
(#99999) Make the example in CONTRIBUTING imperative and concrete
Without this patch applied the example commit message in the CONTRIBUTING
document is not a concrete example. This is a problem because the
contributor is left to imagine what the commit message should look like
based on a description rather than an example. This patch fixes the
problem by making the example concrete and imperative.
The first line is a real life imperative statement with a ticket number
from our issue tracker. The body describes the behavior without the patch,
why this is a problem, and how the patch fixes the problem when applied.
* Make sure you have added the necessary tests for your changes.
* Run _all_ the tests to assure nothing else was accidentally broken.
## Submitting Changes
* Sign the [Contributor License Agreement](http://links.puppetlabs.com/cla).
* Push your changes to a topic branch in your fork of the repository.
* Submit a pull request to the repository in the puppetlabs organization.
* Update your ticket to mark that you have submitted code and are ready for it to be reviewed.
* Include a link to the pull request in the ticket
# Additional Resources
* [More information on contributing](http://links.puppetlabs.com/contribute-to-puppet)
* [Bug tracker (Jira)](http://tickets.puppetlabs.com)
* [Contributor License Agreement](http://links.puppetlabs.com/cla)
* [General GitHub documentation](http://help.github.com/)
* [GitHub pull request documentation](http://help.github.com/send-pull-requests/)
* #puppet-dev IRC channel on freenode.org