How to develop on borgmatic

Source code

To get set up to develop on borgmatic, first install pipx to make managing your borgmatic environment easy without impacting other Python applications on your system.

Then, clone borgmatic via HTTPS or SSH:

git clone


git clone ssh://

Finally, install borgmatic "editable" so that you can run borgmatic actions during development to make sure your changes work:

cd borgmatic
pipx ensurepath
pipx install --editable .

Or to work on the Apprise hook, change that last line to:

pipx install --editable .[Apprise]

To get oriented with the borgmatic source code, have a look at the source code reference.

Automated tests

Assuming you've cloned the borgmatic source code as described above and you're in the borgmatic/ working copy, install tox, which is used for setting up testing environments. You can either install a system package of tox (likely called tox or python-tox) or you can install tox with pipx:

pipx install tox

Finally, to actually run tests, run tox from inside the borgmatic sourcedirectory:


Code formatting

If when running tests, you get an error from the Black code formatter about files that would be reformatted, you can ask Black to format them for you via the following:

tox -e black

And if you get a complaint from the isort Python import orderer, you can ask isort to order your imports for you:

tox -e isort

Similarly, if you get errors about spelling mistakes in source code, you can ask codespell to correct them:

tox -e codespell

End-to-end tests

borgmatic additionally includes some end-to-end tests that integration test with Borg and supported databases for a few representative scenarios. These tests don't run by default when running tox, because they're relatively slow and depend on containers for runtime dependencies. These tests do run on the continuous integration (CI) server, and running them on your developer machine is the closest thing to dev-CI parity.

If you would like to run the end-to-end tests, first install Docker (or Podman; see below) and Docker Compose. Then run:


This script assumes you have permission to run docker. If you don't, then you may need to run with sudo.


New in version 1.7.12 borgmatic's end-to-end tests optionally support using rootless Podman instead of Docker.

Setting up Podman is outside the scope of this documentation, but here are some key points to double-check:

Then you'll be able to run end-to-end tests as per normal, and the test script will automatically use your non-root Podman socket instead of a Docker socket.

Code style

Start with PEP 8. But then, apply the following deviations from it:

borgmatic code uses the Black code formatter, the Flake8 code checker, and the isort import orderer, so certain code style requirements are enforced when running automated tests. See the Black, Flake8, and isort documentation for more information.

Continuous integration

Each commit to main triggers a continuous integration build which runs the test suite and updates documentation. These builds are also linked from the commits for the main branch.

Documentation development

Updates to borgmatic's documentation are welcome. It's formatted in Markdown and located in the docs/ directory in borgmatic's source, plus the file at the root.

To build and view a copy of the documentation with your local changes, run the following from the root of borgmatic's source code:


This requires Docker (or Podman; see below) to be installed on your system. This script assumes you have permission to run docker. If you don't, then you may need to run with sudo.

After you run the script, you can point your web browser at http://localhost:8080 to view the documentation with your changes.

To close the documentation server, ctrl-C the script. Note that it does not currently auto-reload, so you'll need to stop it and re-run it for any additional documentation changes to take effect.


New in version 1.7.12 borgmatic's developer build for documentation optionally supports using rootless Podman instead of Docker.

Setting up Podman is outside the scope of this documentation. But once you install and configure Podman, then scripts/dev-docs should automatically use Podman instead of Docker.

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