Things to Run After git clone

Make sure you follow this recipe:

git clone
cd fastai

This will take care of everything that is explained in the following sections. That is tools/run-after-git-clone will execute the scripts that are explained individually below. You still need to know what they do, but you need to execute just one script.

Note: windows users, not using bash emulation, will need to invoke the command as:

python tools\run-after-git-clone

after-git-clone #1: a mandatory notebook strip out

Currently we only store source code cells under git (and a few extra fields for documentation notebooks). If you would like to commit or submit a PR, you need to confirm to that standard.

This is done automatically during diff/commit git operations, but you need to configure your local repository once to activate that instrumentation.

Therefore, your developing process will always start with:


The last command tells git to invoke configuration stored in fastai/.gitconfig, so your git diff and git commit invocations for this particular repository will now go via tools/fastai-nbstripout which will do all the work for you.

You don’t need to run it if you run:


If you skip this configuration your commit/PR involving notebooks will not be accepted, since it’ll carry in it many JSON bits which we don’t want in the git repository. Those unwanted bits create collisions and lead to unnecessarily complicated and time wasting merge activities. So please do not skip this step.

Note: we can’t make this happen automatically, since git will ignore a repository-stored .gitconfig for security reasons, unless a user will tell git to use it (and thus trust it).

If you’d like to check whether you already trusted git with using fastai/.gitconfig please look inside fastai/.git/config, which should have this entry:

        path = ../.gitconfig

or alternatively run:

tools/trust-origin-git-config -t

after-git-clone #2: automatically updating doc notebooks to be trusted on git pull

We want the doc notebooks to be already trusted when you load them in jupyter notebook, so this script which should be run once upon git clone, will install a git post-merge hook into your local check out.

The installed hook will be executed by git automatically at the end of git pull only if it triggered an actual merge event and that the latter was successful.

To trust, run:


You don’t need to run it if you run:


To distrust run:

rm .git/hooks/post-merge

Unstripped Notebook Repair

If you or someone forgot to run tools/run-after-git-clone after git clone and committed unstripped notebooks, here is how to repair it in the fastai repo:

   tools/fastai-nbstripout -d docs_src/*ipynb courses/*/*ipynb examples/*ipynb
   tools/trust-origin-git-config -d
   git commit -a
   git push

Inside the course-v3 repo, it’d be the same, but the notebooks are in a different location, so:

   tools/fastai-nbstripout -d nbs/*/*ipynb

and in the fastai_docs repo, we have two different types of notebooks: “code” and “docs” notebooks and we strip them out differently:

   tools/fastai-nbstripout dev_nb/*ipynb dev_nb/experiments/*ipynb
   tools/fastai-nbstripout -d docs/*ipynb docs/*/*ipynb

Development Editable Install

For deploying the fastai module’s files, while being able to edit them, make sure to uninstall any previously installed fastai:

   pip   uninstall fastai
   conda uninstall fastai

And then do an editable install, from inside the cloned fastai directory:

   cd fastai
   pip install -e ".[dev]"

It’s almost the same as:

   pip install -e .

but adding [dev] tells pip to install optional packages in the dev group of the dev_requirements dictionary variable in fastai/ These extra dependencies are needed only by developers and contributors.

Best not to use python develop method doc.

When you’d like to sync your codebase with the master, simply go back into the cloned fastai directory and update it:

   git pull

You don’t need to do anything else.

Editable Install Explained

If you’re new to editable install, refer to Editable installs and its examples.

This section will demonstrate how the editable installs works with fastai, including some important nuances that are important to understand.

First, make sure you’re in the correct python environment (conda activate fastai, or whatever you called your environment if any, perhaps you’re using a system-wide install, then you don’t need to activate anything, though it’s much safer to use a dedicated virtual env for working with fastai).

Let’s start by uninstalling fastai:

pip   uninstall -y fastai
conda uninstall -y fastai

sys.path is a list of system paths that python uses to search for modules to load during import.

Before an editable fastai install is added, we have the following sys.path:

python -c 'import sys, pprint; pprint.pprint(sys.path)'

Several entries were removed to make the lists easier to compare.

Now let’s perform an editable install for fastai:

cd ~/github
git clone
cd fastai
pip install -e ".[dev]"

And let’s look at sys.path again:

python -c 'import sys, pprint; pprint.pprint(sys.path)'

You can see that the path of my github checkout of fastai was added to the end of the paths that python will search when it encounters import fastai.

This setup makes it possible to edit python modules under ~/github/fastai/fastai/*/*py and have python load those files in programs running inside conda’s fastai environment automatically.

And you can see how python+pip accomplish that:

pip uninstall fastai
Uninstalling fastai-1.0.38.dev0:
  Would remove: ~/anaconda3/envs/fastai/lib/python3.6/site-packages/fastai.egg-link

And inside fastai.egg-link you will find ~/github/fastai.

One important lesson here is that you must not have a normally installed fastai co-exist with an editable install. As you can tell from the contents of sys.path the editable path is added last to the module search path. Therefore, if you have a normally installed fastai package, python will use that instead of the editable install, which is probably not what you want.

This problem doesn’t exist with pip. If you install a pip fastai package and then follow with a pip editable install of the same, pip will uninstall the previously installed package, before performing the editable install. It will do the same if you try to install a pip fastai package over a pip editable install of the same. It does it right, ensuring there is only one version of it installed.

This is not the situation with conda packages. If you do:

conda install -c fastai fastai
cd ~/github/fastai
pip install -e ".[dev]"

You end up with 2 installations of fastai, having the conda fastai package loaded by python and the editable install practically invisible to python (as it will find the conda package first):

$ ls -l ~/anaconda3/envs/fastai/lib/python3.6/site-packages/fastai*

So if you script your editable installation, always make sure to uninstall any previously installed conda fastai packages:

pip   uninstall -y fastai
conda uninstall -y fastai
cd ~/github/fastai
pip install -e ".[dev]"

Also, note, that conda can also perform an editable install:

cd ~/github/fastai
conda develop .
python -c 'import sys, pprint; pprint.pprint(sys.path)'

It does exactly the same as pip, except it performs it by editing ~/anaconda3/envs/fastai/lib/python3.6/site-packages/conda.pth.

So, you may think that it’s better to use this approach if conda is your preferred way.

We don’t recommend using this approach, because, it doesn’t play well with conda’s normal installs (a normal conda package install will supersede the editable install at run time). Unlike pip, conda’s normal packages are oblivious of their editable versions and vice versa - so you end up with having both and only one working. Moreover, conda doesn’t support extra dependencies implemented by pip (dev dependencies).

To uninstall the editable conda version you must use:

cd ~/github/fastai
conda develop -u .

fastai Versions and Timeline

The timeline the fastai project follows is:


So that if your fastai/ or fastai.__version__ doesn’t include .dev0 at the end, that means you’re using a fastai release, which you installed via pip or conda. If you use a developer install as explained earlier, you will always have .dev0 in the version number.

When a new release cycle starts it starts with .dev0 in it, for example, 1.0.15.dev0. When that cycle is complete and a release is made, it becomes 1.0.15. Think of .dev0 as a pre-release.

Switching Conda Environments in Jupyter

Other than the normal switching environments with restarts:

   source activate env1
   jupyter notebook
   (Ctrl-C to kill jupyter)
   source activate env2
   jupyter notebook

You can install nb_conda_kernels, which provides a separate jupyter kernel for each conda environment, along with the appropriate code to handle their setup. This makes switching conda environments as simple as switching jupyter kernel (e.g. from the kernel menu). And you don’t need to worry which environment you started jupyter notebook from - just choose the right environment from the notebook.

Stripping Out Jupyter Notebooks

Our setup on all fastai projects requires that *.ipynb notebooks get stripped during the commit, which is accomplished by fastai-nbstripout which runs as a filter during git commit. Therefore, when you clone any of the fastai projects that contain jupyter notebooks you must always run:


which registers the filters. This needs to be done once per git clone.

Unfortunately, we can’t enforce this, because github doesn’t allow server-side hooks.

So it’s your responsibility to watch the status of your commits at the commits page:


Alternatively, you can watch CI builds for the project you committed to:


It’s very important that you do that on a consistent basis, because when you make this mistake you affect everybody who works on the same project. You basically make it impossible for other developers to git pull without some workarounds.

Should you make the mistake and commit some unstripped out notebooks, here is how you fix it:

  1. disable the filter

    tools/trust-origin-git-config -d
  2. strip out the notebook

    tools/fastai-nbstripout -d path/to/notebooks

    with an exception of fastai_docs/dev_nb/*ipynb notebooks, which need to be stripped with:

    tools/fastai-nbstripout path/to/notebooks

    without any arguments outputs are stripped, -d doesn’t strip out the outputs.

  3. commit

    git commit path/to/notebooks
    git push
  4. re-enable the filter (very important!)


Full Diffs Mailing List

If you’d like to follow closely the development of fastai, and you don’t like clicking around github, we have a read-only full diffs mailing list that is open to all.

You can subscribe or unsubscribe at any time on your own accord here.

If you need to comment on any diff you read on that list, click on the link on top of the email and it’ll take you to the github page, corresponding to that commit, and you can comment there. Alternatively ask questions on the developer’s section of the forums.

Make sure you use a decent email client, surely don’t read the emails on google groups or gmail. You need to have a client that can properly render fixed fonts and not use variable fonts that look horrible with diffs. For example, Thunderbird works well.

Chances are that your email client may put the emails into your spam folder, so make sure you tell your client they’re ham!

You will probably want to filter these emails into a dedicated folder. If so, use the List-ID email header in the configuration of your email:

List-ID: <>

Some useful oneliners

To fix links to have .html again (both needed):

perl -pi -e 's|href="(/[^"#]+)(#[^"]+)?"|href="$1.html$2"|g' docs/*html docs_src/*ipynb
perl -pi -e 's{https?://((?:docs|docs-dev|course-v3)[\w\._-]+)(#[\w-_\.]+)?}{http://$1$2 .html$3}g' docs/*md
perl -pi -e 's{https?://((?:docs|docs-dev|course-v3)}{https://$1}g' docs/*md

How to safely and efficiently search/replace files in git repo using CLI. The operation must not touch anything under .git:

find . -type d -name ".git" -prune -o -type f -exec perl -pi -e 's|OLDSTR|NEWSTR|g' {} \;

but it touch(1)es all files which slows down git-side, so we want to do it on files that actually contain the old pattern:

grep --exclude-dir=.git -lIr "OLDSTR" . | xargs -n1 perl -pi -e 's|OLDSTR|NEWSTR|g'