How to store source code
At GDS, we follow the principles set out in the Service Manual for managing the code we write by:
Publish open source code
Wherever possible, we make our source code open and reusable. This means other government departments and people in outside organisations can benefit from our work. We also maintain several open source projects developed for use on GOV.UK and with other work we do, such as GOV.UK Frontend.
It’s not always appropriate to open code. There are sometimes grounds for keeping some data and code closed, for example:
- keys and credentials
- algorithms used to detect fraud
- code or data that makes clear details of unannounced policy
The Service Manual explains how to open previously closed code and your responsibilities for maintaining open code.
When you publish open source code, your project must:
- include a README, using guidance for writing a README
- have useful and informative commit messages about why a change was made
- provide a changelog, for example the specification for CPAN Changes files
- include an MIT and OGL licence file
- link to a public list of known issues and bugs, for example GOV.UK Frontend issues
- have an email address to submit security related bug reports
- list a version number compatible with Semantic Versioning
Your open source code project should:
- publish packages to relevant language specific repositories such as PyPI - the Python Package Index or RubyGems
- post contributors’ guidelines in a contributing file, like the Go repository
- set up any tests to run in a public continuous integration environment using tools such as Github Actions or Jenkins
You could also provide a mailing list so people can discuss your project.