Contributing to IMAPClient

The best way to contribute changes to IMAPClient is to fork the official repository on Github, make changes in a branch in your personal fork and then submit a pull request.

Discussion on the mailing list before undertaking development is highly encouraged for potentially major changes.

Although not essential, it will make the project maintainers much happier if change submissions include appropriate updates to unit tests, live tests and documentation. Please ask if you’re unsure how of how the tests work.

Please read on if you plan on submitting changes to IMAPClient.

Source Code

The official source code repository for IMAPClient can be found on Github at:

Any major feature work will also be found as branches of this repository.


Development for the next major release happens on the master branch.

There is also a branch for each major release series (for example: 1.x). When appropriate and when there will be future releases for a series, changes may be selectively merged between master and a stable release branch.

Release Tags

Each released version is available in the IMAPClient repository as a Git tag (e.g. “0.9.1”).

Unit Tests

Running Unit Tests

To run the tests, from the root of the package source run:

python test

Testing Against Multiple Python Versions

When submitting a Pull Request to IMAPClient, tests are automatically ran against all the supported Python versions.

It is possible to locally run these tests using tox. Once installed, the tox command will use the tox.ini file in the root of the project source and run the unit tests against the Python versions officially supported by IMAPClient (provided these versions of Python are installed!).

Writing Unit Tests

Protocol level unit tests should not act against a real IMAP server but should use canned data instead. The IMAPClientTest base class should typically be used as the base class for any tests - it provides a mock IMAPClient instance at self.client. See the tests in tests/ for examples of how to write unit tests using this approach.


The source for the project’s documentation can be found under doc/src in the source distribution.

In order to build the documentation you’ll need install Sphinx. Running pip install '.[doc]' from the root of the project source will do this.

Once Sphinx is installed, the documentation can be rebuilt using:

python build_sphinx