Contributing a recipe

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

1. Update repo

If you’re using a fork (set up as above):

git checkout master
git pull upstream master
git push origin master

If you’re using a clone:

git checkout master
git pull origin master

2. Build an isolated conda installation with dependencies

In the top level of the bioconda-recipes repo, run:

./ --bootstrap /tmp/miniconda --overwrite

This will:

  • create a conda installation in /tmp/miniconda that is separate from any Python or conda you might already have on your system. No root privileges are needed.
  • set up the proper channel order
  • install bioconda-utils and its dependencies into that installation
  • write a config file at ~/.config/bioconda/config.yml to persistently store the location of this new installation so that subsequent calls to will use it with no further configuration.


If you plan on running bioconda-utils outside the context of – for example to build recipe skeletons, inspect the DAG of recipes, or other maintenance and development work – you need to call it using its full path. If you used /tmp/miniconda as the bootstrap path in the command above, then use /tmp/miniconda/bin/bioconda-utils.

This is by design: we want to keep all bioconda-related tools, which may have specific dependencies that must exist in the root environment, isolated from any environments you may have on your system.


The bootstrap operation runs relatively quickly, so you might consider running it every time you build and test a new recipe to ensure tests on travis-ci go as smoothly as possible.

If you are running into particularly difficult-to-troubleshoot issues, try removing the installation directory completely and then re-installing using the --bootstrap argument.

3. Write a recipe

Check out a new branch (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.

4. Test locally

The simplest way to conduct local tests is to setup the Circle CI client. Then, all that needs to be done is to execute

circleci build

in the root of your repository clone.

Alternatively, you can manually run conda build, e.g.,

conda build recipes/my-recipe

In this case. make sure to have setup Bioconda properly, see Using Bioconda. Also, you might need to manually specify environment variables that your recipe uses, e.g., CONDA_BOOST. You can look up the proper values for those variables under scripts/env_matrix.yml in the repository.

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

Push your changes to your fork or to the main repo (if using a clone) to GitHub:

git push -u origin my-recipe

If using a fork, make sure to enable Circle CI for it under

You can view the test status next to your commits in Github. Make and push changes as needed to get the tests to pass. Once they pass, create a pull request on the main bioconda repo for your changes. If

  • it’s your first recipe,
  • the recipe is doing something non-standard or
  • it adds a new package

please ask @bioconda/core for a review. If you are a member of the bioconda team and none of above criteria apply, feel free to merge your recipe once the tests pass.

6. Use your new recipe

When the PR is merged with the master branch, Circle CI will again do the builds but at the end will upload the packages to Once this completes, and as long as the channels are set up as described in 2. Set up channels, your new package is installable by anyone using:

conda install my-package-name

It is recommended that users set up channels as described in 2. Set up channels to ensure that packages and dependencies are handled correctly, and that they create an isolated environment when installing using conda create -n env-name-here.