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.

Build Status Coverage Status docs Zulip chat


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 a reply within minutes to a few hours, depending on time of day.

For Google Summer of Code students and applicants, we have a mailing list for help, questions, and announcements.

We have a public mailing list that is currently pretty low traffic because most discussions happen in our public Zulip instance. We use it to announce Zulip developer community gatherings and ask for feedback on major technical or design decisions. It has several hundred subscribers, so you can use it to ask questions about features or possible bugs, but please don’t use it ask for generic help getting started as a contributor (e.g. because you want to do Google Summer of Code). The rest of this page covers how to get involved in the Zulip project in detail.

Zulip also has a blog.

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.

The Zulip community has a Code of Conduct.

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 supports Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty and Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial. 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.

Google Summer of Code

We participated in GSoC last year and hope to do so again in 2017. For guidance, please read our GSoC instructions and ideas page and feel free to email our GSoC mailing list.

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.

Another way to find issues in Zulip is to take advantage of our “area:” convention in separating out issues. We partition all of our issues into areas like admin, compose, emoji, hotkeys, i18n, onboarding, search, etc. You can see this here:


Click on any of the “area:” labels and you will see all the tickets related to your area of interest.

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.


Copyright 2011-2016 Dropbox, Inc. and contributors

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


Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

The software includes some works released by third parties under other free and open source licenses. Those works are redistributed under the license terms under which the works were received. For more details, see the docs/THIRDPARTY file included with this distribution.