Developing CLIChart

CLIChart needs your help!

I’ve been developing CLIChart for many years now, but for the last couple of years I’ve been using it less and less. And when I do use it, it already does most of the things I want. Therefore I don’t have any intention to do much more (if anything) with the project.

So, if you want CLIChart to continue and/or advance, please get involved!

Getting the source

Go to the project page on Github. You could just clone the git repo directly, but then you won’t be able to submit changes, so better to fork the project and then clone your fork - that way you’ll be able to submit pull requests in future.

Contributing your changes

Once you’ve made some changes that you think will work (and you’ve run through at least most of the checks in /DistChecklist.txt), please submit a pull request on Github.

In future, if anyone’s interested in becoming a long-term maintainer, I’m happy to pass on the reins.

Project structure

Main parts are:

  • root directory - gradle build script (build.gradle) and properties file (settings.gradle (for setuptools install), plus some text files
  • /bin - a couple of miscellaneous scripts for building and packaging
  • /resource/docs - documentation root (uses Sphinx/reST)
  • /resource/samples - sample files for demonstrating capabilities
  • /src/main/java - Java source for clichart tool
  • /src/main/python - source for all tools (including clichart wrapper)
  • /src/test/java
  • /src/test/python
  • /build - build directory.



Clichart is set up to build on *nix systems (Linux, OSX etc.). The build can be made to work on Windows under Cygwin, but you’ll probably have quite a bit of work to do if you try to do it on Windows directly...

The quick version:

# start in the project's root directory
gradle dist                 # builds and zips everything
gradle installForTest
. build/install-test/virtualenv/bin/activate

The longer version is documented in /DistChecklist.txt. This will ensure that your development environment is set up OK, and then walk you through all the steps to build, test, and package.

Mandatory Build Tools

git:Of course
Java JDK:
Gradle:Build system
Sphinx:Documentation builder. Check for sphinx-build
Python setuptools:
 Provides packaging and installer. Check for easy-install


Documentation is set up on, with a webhook from the git repo on Github to automatically rebuild the documentation when published.

Special notes about the documentation:

  • You have to update both the version and release numbers in the Sphinx file for a new release. The gradle build script will fail the build if this isn’t done
  • The documentation builds initially to /resource/docs/build - the files are then copied from there to the /build directory
  • Because the documentation build uses Sphinx, there’s no easy way (that I’ve found, at least) to have the thumbnail images updated automatically and copied in. Therefore, the gradle build script (re)generates thumbnails if required, in the /resource/docs/source/_static/images directory. This means that running a build may require a git commit afterwards.