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Script to manage GitHub organizations in a collective manner

Project description


GitHub organizations are great way for organizations to manage their Git repositories. This tool will let you automate the tedious tasks of creating teams, granting permissions, and creating repositories or modifying their settings.

The approach that the github-collective tool takes is that you edit a central configuration (currently an ini-like file) from where options are read and synchronized to GitHub respectively.

Initially, the purpose of this script was to manage Plone’s collective organization on GitHub: It is currently in use in several other locations.


Read the full documentation at


  • Create one central configuration that you can sync to GitHub to configure your organisation’s settings, repositories, teams, and more.

    • Combine this with GitHub’s fork-and-pull request model to easily allow non-administrative users to create and manage repositories with minimal overhead.

  • Repositories: create and modify repositories within an organization

    • Configure all repository properties as per the GitHub Repos API, including privacy (public/private), description, and other metadata.

    • After the initial repository creation happens, updated values in your configuration will replace those on GitHub.

  • Service hooks: add and modify service hooks for repositories.

    • GitHub repositories have support for sending information upon certain events taking place (for instance, pushes being made to a repository or a fork being taken).

    • After the initial repo creation process takes place, updated values in your hook configuration will replace those on GitHub.

    • Hooks not present in your configuration (such as those manually added on GitHub or those removed from local configuration) will not be deleted.

  • Teams: automatically create teams and modify members

    • Control permissions for teams (for example: push, pull or admin)

  • Automatically syncs all of the above with GitHub when the tool is run.

  • Buildout-style variable substitution in the form ${section:option}.


When github-collective is installed it should create an executable with same name in your bin directory.

% bin/github-collective --help
usage: github-collective [-h] -c CONFIG [-M MAILER] [-C CACHE] -o GITHUB_ORG
                         -u GITHUB_USERNAME -P GITHUB_PASSWORD [-v] [-p]

This tool will let you automate tedious tasks of creating teams granting
permission and creating repositories.

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -c CONFIG, --config CONFIG
                        path to configuration file (could also be remote
                        location). eg.
  -M MAILER, --mailer MAILER
                        TODO (default: None)
  -C CACHE, --cache CACHE
                        path to file where to cache results from github.
                        (default: None)
  -o GITHUB_ORG, --github-org GITHUB_ORG
                        github organisation. (default: None)
                        github account username. (default: None)
                        github account password. (default: None)
  -v, --verbose
  -p, --pretend

Locally-stored configuration

% bin/github-collective \
    -c example.cfg \ # path to configuration file
    -o vim-addons \  # organization that we are
    -u garbas \      # account that has management right for organization
    -P PASSWORD      # account password

Remotely-stored configuration (GitHub)

% bin/github-collective \
    -c \
                     # url to configuration file
    -o collective \  # organization that we are
    -u garbas \      # account that has management right for organization
    -P PASSWORD      # account password

Cached configuration

% bin/github-collective \
    -c \
                     # url to configuration file
    -C .cache        # file where store and read cached results from github
    -o collective \  # organization that we are
    -u garbas \      # account that has management right for organization
    -P PASSWORD      # account password


nose is utilised for testing and configuration for nose exists within the setup.cfg file within this project. This configuration automatically examines files for tests within the project, including this read-me itself. You can initialise and run tests using the Buildout configuration provided:

git clone git://
cd github-collective
virtualenv .

tox is used to ensure this package installs correctly under each version of Python. Currently we test Python 2.6 and Python 2.7. Support for running tests under tox will come shortly. To test installation:

git clone git://
cd github-collective
virtualenv .
pip install tox

Issues and Contributing

Report issues via this project’s GitHub issue tracker at

Contribute by submitting a pull request on GitHub or else by adding yourself to the Collective and contributing directly.


  • Allow configuration of organisation settings via API

  • Add facility to continue if error experienced

  • Send emails to owners about removing repos

  • Better logging mechanism (eg. logbook)

  • Support configuration extensibility (eg extends = syntax) for using multiple configuration files.



Rok Garbas (garbas)


David Beitey (davidjb)


0.4 (2012-11-28)

  • Restore ability to fork repositories to organisations after unexpected API change. [davidjb]

  • Ensure fork data payload (org name) is sent as JSON. [davidjb]

  • Allow forks to be correctly named once created. GitHub’s API forks using the same name originally, so we need to rename once forked. [davidjb]

  • Add rename helper functionality to sync module. (Note that configuration does not yet support renaming) [davidjb]

  • Read the Docs-ified documentation. [davidjb]

0.3.2 (2012-07-17)

  • Fix issue with templating of hook variables. Previously, the original config was being altered, preventing further templating. [davidjb]

  • Fix issue with hooks being updated from cache by storing the existing integer ID. [davidjb]

  • Fix issue with cache not being updated on repo change. [davidjb]

0.3.1 (2012-07-17)

  • Only send API options to GitHub to reduce overhead. [davidjb]

  • Display output of changes to configuration when running in verbose mode. This helps track down oddities with GitHub value storage to reduce overhead. [davidjb]

0.3 (2012-07-17)

  • Implement Buildout-style variable substitution for configuration with doctesting. [davidjb]

  • Output resolved configuration when running in verbose mode. [davidjb]

  • Implement deletion of repos from configuration now GitHub API v3 supports this. Warning: if a repo exists on GitHub but not in your configuration, it will now be deleted. Run the command in pretend mode first if unsure. [davidjb]

  • Optimise deletion process to not clear cache when attempting to delete. [davidjb]

  • Add extras_require option for testing to use nose. [davidjb]

  • Updating to depend on requests==0.13.1. [davidjb]

0.2 (2012-06-22)

  • Allow service hooks to be specified within the configuration. For samples, see the example configuration. Any GitHub supported hook can be associated with repos. [davidjb]

  • Allowing repo properties to be set on creation and editing of config. For available options, see This facilities private repo creation (if quota available), amongst other options. [davidjb]

  • Fix response parsing issue when creating teams. [davidjb]

  • Improved end-user documentation. [davidjb]

0.1.4 - 2012-02-19

  • adding support for requests==0.10.2 and removing pdb [f561d79, garbas]

0.1.3 - 2011-07-09

  • fix caching file bug, cache now working [garbas]

0.1.2 - 2011-07-03

  • remane team to old_team to keep convention in method, using add instead of update on sets [e48de49, garbas]

  • pretend should work for all except get reuqest type [e098f9d, garbas]

  • nicer dump of json in cache file, unindent section which searches for repos defined in teams [b8cb123, garbas]

  • we should write to cache file when there is no cache file avaliable [fd7f9ee, garbas]

0.1.1 - 2011-07-02

  • and we have first bugfix relese, after refractoring and merging enable-cache branch. [a09d174, garbas]

0.1 - 2011-07-02

  • initial release [garbas]

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