Contributing a recipe

The following steps are done for each recipe or batch of recipes you’d like to contribute.

Update repo and requirements

  1. Before starting, it’s best to update your fork with any changes made recently to the upstream bioconda repo. Assuming you’ve set up your fork as above:
git checkout master
git pull upstream master
  1. Set up the channel order and install the versions of dependencies currently used in the master branch. The channel order should generally stay the same and the dependencies are not likely to change much, but this ensures that the local environment most closely resembles the build environment on travis-ci:
./ --set-channel-order
./ --install-requirements

Write a recipe

Check out a new branch in your fork (here the branch is arbitrarily named “my-recipe”):

git checkout -b my-recipe

and write one or more recipes. The conda-build docs are the authoritative source for information on building a recipe.

Please familiarize yourself with the Guidelines for bioconda recipes for details on bioconda-specific policies.

Test locally

To make sure your recipe works, there are several options. The quickest, but not necessarily most complete, is to run conda-build directly:

conda build <recipe-dir>


All conda and must be run from the root environment of conda, not an environment within conda, as they import conda within Python which is only allowed in the root environment.

To test the recipe in a way more representative of the travis-ci environment, use the script in the top-level directory of the repo. Currently, it is mandatory to build any recipe before using for the first time. reads the config files in the repo and sets things up as closely as possible to how the builds will be run on travis-ci. It should be run from the top-level dir of the repo. Any arguments are passed on to the bioconda-utils build command, so check bioconda-utils build -h for help and more options.

Some example commands:

This tests everything, using the installed conda-build. It will check all recipes to see what needs to be built and so it is the most comprehensive:



If you haven’t installed all the dependencies already, you can install them with ./ –install-requirements

Same thing but using –docker. If you’re on OSX and have docker installed (and running!), you can use this to test the recipe under Linux:

./ --docker

Use the –quick option which will just check recipes that have changed since the last commit to master branch or that have been newly removed from any configured blacklists. This can help speed up the recipe filter stage which can take 5 mins to thoroughly check 1500+ recipes. Note that this will not find cases where a pinned version (e.g., { CONDA_BOOST }) has been changed:

./ --docker --quick

To specify exactly which packages you want to try building, use the –packages argument. Note that the arguments to –packages can be globs and are of package names rather than paths to recipe directories. For example, to consider all R and Bioconductor packages:

./ --docker --package r-* bioconductor-*

See also

See Reading bioconda-utils logs on Travis-CI for tips on finding the information you need from log files.

Push changes, wait for tests to pass, submit pull request

Before pushing your changes to your fork on github, it’s best to merge any changes that have happened recently on the upstream master branch. See sycncing a fork for details, or:

git fetch upstream

# syncs the fork's master branch with upstream
git checkout master
git merge upstream/master

# merges those changes into the recipe's branch
git checkout my-recipe
git merge master

Push your changes to your fork on github:

git push origin my-recipe

and watch the Travis-CI logs by going to and finding your fork of bioconda-recipes. Keep making changes on your fork and pushing them until the travis-ci builds pass.

Open a pull request on the bioconda-recipes repo. If it’s your first recipe or the recipe is doing something non-standard, please ask @bioconda/core for a review.

Use your new recipe

When the PR is merged with the master branch, travis-ci will again do the builds but at the end will upload the packages to Once the merge build completes, your new package is installable by anyone using:

conda install my-package-name -c bioconda

You should recommend to your users that they set up the same channel order as used by bioconda to ensure that all dependencies are correctly met, by doing the following:

conda config --add channels defaults
conda config --add channels conda-forge
conda config --add channels bioconda