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Where to get started to help improve Friendica

Do you want to help us improve Friendica? Here we have compiled some hints on how to get started and some tasks to help you choose. A project like Friendica is the sum of many different contributions. Very different skills are required to make good software, not all of them involve coding! We are looking for helpers in all areas, whether you write text or code, whether you spread the word to convince people or design new icons. Whether you feel like an expert or like a newbie - join us with your ideas!

Contact us

The discussion of Friendica development takes place in the following Friendica groups:

Help other users

Remember the questions you had when you first tried Friendica? A good place to start can be to help new people find their way around Friendica in the general support group. Welcome them, answer their questions, point them to documentation or ping other helpers directly if you can't help but think you know who can.


The documentation contains help on how to translate Friendica at Transifex where the UI is translated. If you don't want to translate the UI, or it is already done to your satisfaction, you might want to work on the translation of the /help files?


Are you good at designing things? If you have seen Friendica you probably have ideas to improve it, haven't you?

  • If you would like to work with us on enhancing the user interface, please join the group for Friendica development.
  • Make plans for a better Friendica interface design and share them with us.
  • Tell us if you are able to realize your ideas or what kind of help you need. We can't promise we have the right skills in the group, but we'll try.
  • Choose a thing to start with, e.g. work on the icon set of your favorite theme


Friendica uses an implementation of Domain-Driven-Design, please make sure to check out the provided links for hints at the expected code architecture.


Friendica uses Composer to manage dependencies libraries and the class autoloader both for libraries and namespaced Friendica classes.

It's a command-line tool that downloads required libraries into the vendor folder and makes any namespaced class in src available through the whole application.

If you want to have git automatically update the dependencies with composer, you can use the post-merge git-hook with a script similar to this one:

#!/usr/bin/env bash
# MIT © Sindre Sorhus -
# forked by Gianluca Guarini
# phponly by Ivo Bathke ;)
# modified for Friendica by Tobias Diekershoff
changed_files="$(git diff-tree -r --name-only --no-commit-id ORIG_HEAD HEAD)"
check_run() {
	    echo "$changed_files" | grep --quiet "$1" && eval "$2"
# `composer install` if the `composer.lock` file gets changed
# to update all the php dependencies
check_run composer.lock "bin/composer.phar install --no-dev"

just place it into .git/hooks/post-merge and make it executable.

Coding standards

For the sake of consistency between contribution and general code readability, Friendica follows the widespread PSR-2 coding standards excepted a few rules. Here's a few primers if you are new to Friendica or to the PSR-2 coding standards:

  • Indentation is tabs, period (not PSR-2).
  • By default, strings are enclosed in single quotes, but feel free to use double quotes if it makes more sense (SQL queries, adding tabs and line feeds).
  • Operators are wrapped by spaces, e.g. $var === true, $var = 1 + 2 and 'string' . $concat . 'enation'
  • Braces are mandatory in conditions
  • Boolean operators are && and || for PHP conditions, AND and OR for SQL queries
  • No closing PHP tag
  • No trailing spaces
  • Array declarations use the new square brackets syntax
  • Quoting style is single quotes by default, except for needed string interpolation, SQL query strings by convention and comments that should stay in natural language.

Don't worry, you don't have to know by heart the PSR-2 coding standards to start contributing to Friendica. There are a few tools you can use to check or fix your files before you commit.

For documentation, we use the standard of one sentence per line for the md files in the /doc and /doc/$lng subdirectories.

Check with PHP Code Sniffer

This tool checks your files against a variety of coding standards, including PSR-2, and outputs a report of all the standard violations. You can simply install it through PEAR: pear install PHP_CodeSniffer Once it is installed and available in your PATH, here's the command to run before committing your work:

$> phpcs --standard=ruleset.xml <file or directory>

The output is a list of all the coding standards violations that you should fix before committing your work. Additionally, phpcs integrates with a few IDEs (Eclipse, Netbeans, PHPStorm...) so that you don't have to fiddle with the command line.

Fix with PHP Code Beautifier and Fixer (phpbcf) included in PHP Code Sniffer

If you're getting a massive list of standards violations when running phpcs, it can be annoying to fix all the violations by hand. Thankfully, PHP Code Sniffer is shipped with an automatic code fixer that can take care of the tedious task for you. Here's the command to automatically fix the files you created/modified:

$> phpcbf --standard=ruleset.xml <file or directory>

If the command-line tools diff and patch are unavailable for you, phpcbf can use slightly slower PHP equivalents by using the --no-patch argument.

Code documentation

If you are interested in having the documentation of the Friendica code outside the code files, you can use Doxygen to generate it. The configuration file for Doxygen is located in the base directory of the project sources. Run

$> doxygen Doxyfile

to generate the files which will be located in the doc/html subdirectory in the Friendica directory. You can browse these files with any browser.

If you find missing documentation, don't hesitate to contact us and write it down to enhance the code documentation.


Have a look at our issue tracker on GitHub!

  • Try to reproduce a bug that needs more inquiries and write down what you find out.
  • If a bug looks fixed, ask the bug reporters for feedback to find out if the bug can be closed.
  • Fix a bug if you can. Please make the pull request against the develop branch of the repository.
  • There is a Junior Job label for issues we think might be a good point to start with. But you don't have to limit yourself to those issues.

Web interface

The thing many people want most is a better interface, preferably a responsive Friendica theme. This is a piece of work! If you want to get involved here:

  • Look at the first steps that were made (e.g. the clean theme). Ask us to find out whom to talk to about their experiences.
  • Talk to design people if you know any.
  • Let us know about your plans in the dev group Do not worry about cross-posting.

Client software

As Friendica is using a Twitter/GNU Social compatible API any of the clients for those platforms should work with Friendica as well. Furthermore, there are several client projects, especially for use with Friendica. If you are interested in improving those clients, please contact the developers of the clients directly.