Developer Quickstart#

This guide walks through everything you need to become a productive developer for efiboot.


Efiboot on Linux requires efibootmgr. You’ll need to install it before continuing.

On Debian-based distributions:

# apt install efibootmgr

On Arch-based distributions:

# pacman -S efibootmgr

Working Tree#

The efiboot source repository looks like this:

├── CODE_OF_CONDUCT.rst -> docs/code_of_conduct.rst
├── CONTRIBUTING.rst -> docs/contributing.rst
├── Makefile
├── pyproject.toml
├── dist/
│   └── ...
├── docs/
│   └── ...
└── src/
    └── ...

Lets go over what each of these are for.


These are the conventional locations of the community Code of Conduct, the Contributing Guide, the source code license, and the readme. The first two are just symbolic links into the documentation directory. The license is Apache 2.0.


The makefile is the heart of the development workflow. It contains recipes to initialize the development environment, build and install efiboot, format the source code, run the tests, and more. You’ll be using the makefile throughout this guide.


This contains the project metadata, dependency specs, and configuration for the build system and other tooling. To build efiboot, we use PyPA’s build and flit tools for the build frontend and backend respectively.


This directory contains the build artifacts. It is not distributed with the efiboot source repository, but it will be created automatically as soon as you start development.


This directory contains the project documentation used to build this site. The site is built with Sphinx and written using reStructuredText. The docs/api/ directory is special: Its contents are generated from the source code and are not included in the source repository.


This directory contains the source code. Efiboot is implemented as a traditional Python package. You may find the Architecture document and the API Reference helpful for finding your way around.

Initializing the Development Environment#

The makefile includes a recipe for creating a Python virtual environment that contains everything you need for development:

$ make venv

This creates the virtual environment in your working tree under .venv/.

The virtual environment contains its own copy of Python and isolated site-packages, as well as a few development tools and an editable install of efiboot.

In your shell, the virtual environment must be activated so that the tools and packages it provides are made available to you:

$ make activate

To deactivate the virtual environment and return to your system environment:

$ exit

Finally, if you need to obliterate your virtual environment and rebuild it from scratch:

$ make clean venv

Writing Code#


The development environment includes iPython. For interactive sessions, use ipython instead of python3.


If you are using an IDE, point it to the interpreter at .venv/bin/python3.

The source code lives under src/. Efiboot is implemented as a traditional Python package. You may find the Architecture document and the API Reference helpful for finding your way around.


We use Black to format the source code. You can point your editor to the formatter at .venv/bin/black or manually run the formatter:

$ make fmt

For questions of style not covered by the formatter, defer to the Google Python Style Guide.


All modules must include a logger:

import logging

logger = logging.getLogger(__name__)

The user sets the log-level when they run efiboot, using --verbose (for INFO) or --debug (for DEBUG). The default log-level is WARNING.

Type Annotations

All code must be type annotated, and all modules must contain the following:

from __future__ import annotations

This allows type annotations to be used before the types are declared. It also allows for the use of newer type annotation syntax in a backwards-compatible way.



Do not use pip to install dependencies. It may cause your environment to deviate from the canonical dev environment. If you do use pip, you must also verify that your changes work in a clean dev environment.

The project metadata and dependencies are specified in pyproject.toml. If you make changes to this file, you may need to recreate the environment:

$ make clean venv

Alternatively, you can use flit to install the dependencies from pyproject.toml into your current environment:

$ flit install

Writing Documentation#

The documentation (this site) is built with Sphinx and written in reStructuredText. All documentation lives under the docs/ directory.

To build the docs:

$ make docs

This will generate HTML documentation under dist/docs/.

Note that the API docs are generated from the source code. The API documentation lives under docs/api/. This directory is initially empty and (re)populated when you build the docs.

Sometimes doc generation will fail due to a leftover API document after a code refactor. You can fix this by obliterating the generated docs:

$ make clean-docs

Often when writing docs, you want to continuously rebuild and serve the docs on a local http server. There’s a recipe for that:

$ make sphinx-autobuild

This will continuously rebuild and serve the documentation at

Running Tests#


No tests have been written yet. Once we have tests, we should add some details about the test harness here.

With your dev environment active:

$ make check

This will run all tests, check the code style, and rebuild the artifacts.

Packaging Efiboot#


Efiboot is automatically installed into the development environment.

This section is most useful for package maintainers.

To build efiboot:

$ make all

This will create the following:

  • ./dist/efiboot-X.Y.Z-py3-none-any.whl: A Python wheel package for efiboot.

  • ./dist/efiboot-X.Y.Z.tar.gz: A Python sdist package for efiboot.

  • ./dist/docs/*: The HTML documentation (this website).

Each of these artifacts can be (re)created individually:

$ make sdist wheel doc

Once built, you can install efiboot into the current Python environment:

$ make install

The makefile more-or-less follows the GNU Makefile Conventions. You can use these conventions to install efiboot to an alternate location:

$ make install DESTDIR=${pkgdir} prefix=/usr

The makefile includes a variety of install recipes for package maintainers:

$ make install          # Installs efiboot using pip.
$ make install-docs     # Installs the docs to ${prefix}/share/docs/efiboot.
$ make install-license  # Installs the license to ${prefix}/share/licenses/efiboot.
$ make install-all      # All of the above.