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A CLI tool for managing large amounts of GitHub repositories

Project description

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RepoBee is a command line tool that allows teachers and teaching assistants to administrate large amounts of Git repositories on the GitHub and GitLab platforms (cloud and self-hosted). The most basic use case is to automate generation of student repositories based on template repositories, that can contain for example instructions and skeleton code. Given one or more template repositories, generating copies of these for students or groups is a single command away! That is however just scratching the surface: RepoBee also has functionality for updating student repos (maybe you forgot something?), batch cloning of student repos (convenient when correcting tasks), giving students read-only access to other students' repos for peer review, and more at that! There is also a plugin system in place that allows Python programmers to expand RepoBee in various ways, and end users can simply install plugins created by others. An example of such a plugin is repobee-junit4, which runs teacher-defined JUnit4 test classes on Java code in cloned student repos.

RepoBee is currently being used for the introductory courses in computer science at KTH Royal Technical Institute of Technology. The courses have roughly 200 students and several thousands of repositories, allowing us to test RepoBee at quite a large scale.

Citing RepoBee in an academic context

If you want to reference RepoBee in a paper, please cite the following paper:

Simon Larsén and Richard Glassey. 2019. RepoBee: Developing Tool Support for Courses using Git/GitHub. In Proceedings of the 2019 ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE '19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 534-540. DOI:

Feature highlights

  • Compatible with both GitHub and GitLab (both cloud and self-hosted)
  • Generate repositories for students based on template repositories
  • Batch cloning of student repositories
  • Peer review features: give students read access to other students' repositories to do code review. Easily revoke read access once reviews are done.
  • Support for group assignments (multiple students per repository)
  • Open, close and list issues for select student repositories
  • Extend RepoBee with the plugin system
  • Very little configuration required on the GitHub/GitLab side
    • The only requirement is to have an Organization/Group with private repository capabilities!
  • No local configuration required


We provide an install script that sets up an isolated and correctly configured environment for RepoBee. It supports macOS, Linux and Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). You can execute it directly using curl, with either bash or zsh.

IMPORTANT: If you use any other shell than bash or zsh, you must still execute the install script with one of them.

$ bash <(curl -s
$ zsh <(curl -s

Required software

RepoBee requires Python 3.6+ and Git to be installed. The install script will complain if they are not, and point you to relevant resources. When you have installed the requirements, simply try the install script again.

Tab completion

RepoBee supports tab completion for zsh and bash. Follow the instructions from the install script to activate tab completion.

Getting started

The best way to get started with RepoBee is to head over to the Docs, where you (among other things) will find the user guide. It covers the use of RepoBee's varous commands by way of practical example, and should set you on the right path with little effort.

Why RepoBee?

RepoBee is being developed at KTH Royal Technical Institute of Technology to help teachers and TAs administrate student repositories. It's a tool for teachers, by teachers, and we use it in our everyday work. All of the features in RepoBee are being actively used by us, and so should also be useful to other teachers. For newcomers, RepoBee offers an opinionated workflow that is easy to adopt, while the more advanced users can utilize the plugin system to augment their experience. We also recognize that lock-in is a problem, and therefore provide compatibility with both GitHub and GitLab, with hopes of also expanding support to Bitbucket at some point. But what you're really looking for is probably what RepoBee can do, so below is a list of RepoBee's command categories, which should give you a rough idea of RepoBee's capabilities.

repobee -h
usage: repobee [-h] [-v] {repos,teams,issues,reviews,config,plugin,manage} ...

A CLI tool for administrating large amounts of git repositories on GitHub and
GitLab instances. Read the docs at:

Loaded plugins: distmanager-3.0.0-alpha.7, pluginmanager-3.0.0-alpha.7

positional arguments:
    repos               manage repositories
    teams               manage teams
    issues              manage issues
    reviews             manage peer reviews
    config              configure RepoBee
    plugin              manage plugins
    manage              manage the RepoBee installation

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -v, --version         display version info


As of December 17th 2018, RepoBee's CLI is a stable release and adheres to Semantic Versioning 2.0.0. The internals of RepoBee do not adhere to this versioning, so using RepoBee as a library is not recommended.

The plugin system will be mostly stable as of RepoBee 3.0, but there is a slight risk of breakage due to unforeseen problems. If you develop a plugin, please get in touch so that can be taken into consideration if breaking changes are introduced to the plugin system.


This software is licensed under the MIT License. See the LICENSE file for specifics.

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