Zulip overview | Community | Installing for dev | Installing for production | Ways to contribute | How to get involved | License

Zulip overview

Zulip is a powerful, open source group chat application. Written in Python and using the Django framework, Zulip supports both private messaging and group chats via conversation streams.

Zulip also supports fast search, drag-and-drop file uploads, image previews, group private messages, audible notifications, missed-message emails, desktop apps, and much more.

Further information on the Zulip project and its features can be found at https://www.zulip.org.

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There are several places online where folks discuss Zulip.

One of those places is our public Zulip instance. You can go through the simple signup process at that link, and then you will soon be talking to core Zulip developers and other users. To get help in real time, you will have the best luck finding core developers roughly between 16:00 UTC and 23:59 UTC. Most questions get answered within a day.

We have a Google mailing list that is currently pretty low traffic. It is where we do things like announce public meetings or major releases. You can also use it to ask questions about features or possible bugs.

Last but not least, we use GitHub to track Zulip-related issues (and store our code, of course). Anybody with a Github account should be able to create Issues there pertaining to bugs or enhancement requests. We also use Pull Requests as our primary mechanism to receive code contributions.

Installing the Zulip Development environment

The Zulip development environment is the recommended option for folks interested in trying out Zulip. This is documented in the developer installation guide.

Running Zulip in production

Zulip in production only supports Ubuntu 14.04 right now, but work is ongoing on adding support for additional platforms. The installation process is documented at https://zulip.org/server.html and in more detail in the documentation.

Ways to contribute

Zulip welcomes all forms of contributions! The page documents the Zulip development process.

How to get involved with contributing to Zulip

First, subscribe to the Zulip development discussion mailing list.

The Zulip project uses a system of labels in our issue tracker to make it easy to find a project if you don’t have your own project idea in mind or want to get some experience with working on Zulip before embarking on a larger project you have in mind:

  • Integrations. Integrate Zulip with another piece of software and contribute it back to the community! Writing an integration can be a great first contribution. There’s detailed documentation on how to write integrations in the Zulip integration writing guide.
  • Bite Size: Smaller projects that might be a great first contribution.
  • Documentation: The Zulip project loves contributions of new documentation.
  • Help Wanted: A broader list of projects that nobody is currently working on.
  • Platform support: These are open issues about making it possible to install Zulip on a wider range of platforms.
  • Bugs: Open bugs.
  • Feature requests: Browsing this list can be a great way to find feature ideas to implement that other Zulip users are excited about.
  • 2016 roadmap milestone: The projects that are priorities for the Zulip project. These are great projects if you’re looking to make an impact.

If you’re excited about helping with an open issue, just post on the conversation thread that you’re working on it. You’re encouraged to ask questions on how to best implement or debug your changes – the Zulip maintainers are excited to answer questions to help you stay unblocked and working efficiently.

We also welcome suggestions of features that you feel would be valuable or changes that you feel would make Zulip a better open source project, and are happy to support you in adding new features or other user experience improvements to Zulip.

If you have a new feature you’d like to add, we recommend you start by opening a GitHub issue about the feature idea explaining the problem that you’re hoping to solve and that you’re excited to work on it. A Zulip maintainer will usually reply within a day with feedback on the idea, notes on any important issues or concerns, and and often tips on how to implement or test it. Please feel free to ping the thread if you don’t hear a response from the maintainers – we try to be very responsive so this usually means we missed your message.

For significant changes to the visual design, user experience, data model, or architecture, we highly recommend posting a mockup, screenshot, or description of what you have in mind to zulip-devel@ to get broad feedback before you spend too much time on implementation details.

Finally, before implementing a larger feature, we highly recommend looking at the new feature tutorial and coding style guidelines on ReadTheDocs.

Feedback on how to make this development process more efficient, fun, and friendly to new contributors is very welcome! Just send an email to the Zulip Developers list with your thoughts.


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Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the “License”); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at


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