Developer Guide

Getting Started

For this you’ll need to use the development release; found in the git repository.

Get a GitHub account and enable 2-factor authentication.

Join the development mailing list log2timeline-dev.

But I don’t know how to use git

But I don’t know how to program in Python

Setting up and maintaining your development environment

The first challenge you will encounter is setting up and maintaining your development environment.

Start by setting up a development environment:

Writing code

Once you’ve set up your development environment we recommend start simple:


For and overview of the general architecture of Plaso:


Individual features are tracked as a github issue and labeled as “enhancement”. A list of features we’d already like to add can be found here.

Contributing Code

Want to add a parser to Plaso and you are ready to go? Start by checking here if someone is already working on it. If you don’t see anything there you can just go ahead and create an issue on the github site and mark it as “enhancement”. Assign the issue to yourself so that we can keep track on who is working on what.

If you cannot program and still have a great idea for a feature please go ahead and create an issue and leave it unassigned, note that the priority will be who ever wants to work on it.

Before you start writing code, please review the following:

  • Style guide. All code submitted to the project needs to follow this style guide.

  • Code review. All code that is submitted into the project is reviewed by at least one other person.

  • Adding a new dependency. If your code requires adding a new dependency please check out these instructions.

Before you submit your first code review

  1. Join the development mailing list: and Slack channel, we recommend using the same account as step 1

  2. Install the required development tools like pylint and python-mock

  3. Make sure to run all the tests in the Plaso codebase, and that they successfully complete in your development environment

  4. Make sure your development environment is set up correctly so that you can develop and test correctly.

  5. Make sure your email address and name are correctly set in git. You can use the following commands:

git config --global "Full Name"
git config --global
git config --global push.default matching

Use git config -l to see your current configuration.

Core features changes

Sometimes you need to make some change to the core of the Plaso codebase. In those cases we ask that contributors first create a short design proposal explaining the rationale behind the change. The design doc needs to contain:

  1. A description of the problem you are facing

  2. A list of the objectives of the change

  3. A discussion of what’s in scope and what’s not

  4. A description of your proposed the solution

The preferred way of creating these design docs is to use Google Docs and send the link to the development mailing list so that it can be discussed further before starting to implement the code.


Tests are part of a maintainable code base. Code without sufficient test is very likely to be broken by a large rewrite/refactor.

Plaso has specific guidelines for writing tests: Style guide - tests