Contribution guidelines

Contributing to the Spark Web Design System

Contributions to Spark Web in the form of issues and PRs are welcomed

I don't have time to read all this, where can I ask a question?

Note: Please don't file an issue to ask a question. You'll get faster results by using the resources below.

Brighte Staff

  • Ask the team for help in the #spark-web-support channel
  • "At mention" the @ui-platform user group
  • DM one of the people in the @ui-platform if you really don't want to ask publicly (but please default to making communications public so others can learn from your questions — there is no such thing as a 'dumb question'!)

Code contributions

Here is a quick guide to doing code contributions to the design system.

  1. Clone the repository to your machine
  2. Create a branch with a meaningful name for the issue: git checkout -b alter-button-appearance
  3. Install packages by running yarn install in the root of the project. Make your changes to the necessary files.
  4. Once you’ve finalised your changes, add a changeset by running yarn changeset. See documentation on adding a changeset
  5. Commit your code.
  6. Make sure that everything still works (tests pass, no linting errors etc) by running yarn validate.
  7. Push your branch.
  8. Submit a pull request with your branch.
  9. Choose a descriptive title and describe your changes briefly using the template provided.
  10. Wait for a maintainer to review your PR, make changes if it's being recommended, and get it merged.

Version management

Spark Web uses @changesets/cli to track package versions and publish packages. This tool allows each PR to indicate which packages need a version bump along with a changelog snippet. This information is then collated when performing a release to update package versions and files.

What all contributors need to do

  • Make your changes (as per usual)
  • Before you make a Pull Request, run the yarn changeset command and answer the questions that are asked. It will want to know:
    • Which packages you want to publish
    • What version you are releasing them at (We use SemVer for our versioning, you can read more in the below section)
    • A message to summarise the changes (this message will be written to the changelog of bumped packages)
  • Before you accept the changeset, it will display all the data that will be written to the changeset. If this looks fine, agree, and a changeset will be generated in the .changeset directory.

After this, a new changeset will be added which is a markdown file with YAML front matter.

├── config.json

The message you typed can be found in the markdown file. If you want to expand on it, you can write as much markdown as you want, which will all be added to the changelog on publish. If you want to add more packages or change the bump types of any packages, that's also fine.

While not every changeset is going to need a huge amount of detail, a good idea of what should be in a changeset is:

  • WHAT the change is
  • WHY the change was made
  • HOW a consumer should update their code

An example, if you generate a changeset that includes auth as a patch, and core as a minor, you can merge your PR, and the next time the version-packages command is run, these will both be updated.

'@spark-web/core': patch
'@spark-web/theme': minor
A very useful description of the changes should be here.

You can have multiple changesets in a single PR. This will give you more granular changelogs, and is encouraged

Understanding SemVer

We’re using SemVer for Spark Web, following the same conventions as (most) other packages on npm. This means the version tells you everything you need to know about whether an update fixes something (without changing the public API of a package), adds something (like a feature, or API) or breaks something in the “usage will need to be updated” sense. There are three numbers: major.minor.patch


This means “the API has changed in a non-backwards-compatible way”. It doesn’t mean your feature is broken, or fixed, better, worse, or that you’ve put a lot of work into the change. It just means that if somebody is using the package, the API has changed in a way that’s not backwards compatible.

  • There’s no wriggle room on this! Even if it’s just renaming a simple prop that nobody is using, technically if someone was, upgrading to the new version isn’t safe to do automatically and would need some effort by the consumer. You’ve “broken” the previous API. So it’s a Major change.
  • Since we’re working on visual components, you may also decide that a design change is “major” even if the public API stays the same. This is a judgement call, but if you’ve redesigned how buttons look, I’d call that a major because updating it should be reviewed by the consumer.


This means “a feature has been added”. It doesn’t mean the feature isn’t a major change; just that previous usage of the component will continue to work the same way, but there’s something new that the package now does.


This means you’ve fixed something. Maybe, you previously forgot to actually pass the borderRadius prop down to the rendered component? fixing that would be a patch, because the public API hasn’t changed, and the component just works better now with the same (intended) set of functionality.

There’s obviously some room for nuance and judgement calls in this, but generally: favour more significant version bumps. Consumers usually prefer to realise that something will change (or needs to be considered than upgrading) over being surprised. Think of the version as the easiest way to communicate with consumers of your package. There’s also the changelog; but the version number tells you what you need to know. Has the API changed in a potentially breaking way? Is there a new feature? was something just fixed? SemVer tells you this at a glance, and keeps consuming packages safer.

Release Guidelines


© 2023 Brighte Capital Pty Ltd