The development setup

Obtain a copy of the source code

You can just clone our git repository:

git clone
cd pretix/

External Dependencies

  • Python 3.4 or newer
  • pip for Python 3 (Debian package: python3-pip)
  • pyvenv for Python 3 (Debian package: python3-venv)
  • python-dev for Python 3 (Debian package: python3-dev)
  • libffi (Debian package: libffi-dev)
  • libssl (Debian package: libssl-dev)
  • libxml2 (Debian package libxml2-dev)
  • libxslt (Debian package libxslt1-dev)
  • msgfmt (Debian package gettext)
  • git

Your local python environment

Please execute python -V or python3 -V to make sure you have Python 3.4 (or newer) installed. Also make sure you have pip for Python 3 installed, you can execute pip3 -V to check. Then use Python’s internal tools to create a virtual environment and activate it for your current session:

pyvenv env
source env/bin/activate

You should now see a (env) prepended to your shell prompt. You have to do this in every shell you use to work with pretix (or configure your shell to do so automatically). If you are working on Ubuntu or Debian, we strongly recommend upgrading your pip and setuptools installation inside the virtual environment, otherwise some of the dependencies might fail:

pip3 install -U pip setuptools

Working with the code

The first thing you need are all the main application’s dependencies:

cd src/
pip3 install -r requirements.txt -r requirements/dev.txt

If you are working with Python 3.4, you will also need (you can skip this for Python 3.5):

pip3 install -r requirements/py34.txt

Next, you need to copy the SCSS files from the source folder to the STATIC_ROOT directory:

python collectstatic --noinput

Then, create the local database:

python migrate

A first user with username admin@localhost and password admin will be automatically created. If you want to generate more test data, run:


If you want to see pretix in a different language than English, you have to compile our language files:

make localecompile

Run the development server

To run the local development webserver, execute:

python runserver

and head to http://localhost:8000/

As we did not implement an overall front page yet, you need to go directly to http://localhost:8000/control/ for the admin view or, if you imported the test data as suggested above, to the event page at http://localhost:8000/bigevents/2018/


If you want the development server to listen on a different interface or port (for example because you develop on pretixdroid), you can check Django’s documentation for more options.

Code checks and unit tests

Before you check in your code into git, always run the static checkers and unit tests:

flake8 .
isort -c -rc .
python check


If you have multiple CPU cores and want to speed up the test suite, you can install the python package pytest-xdist using pip3 install pytest-xdist and then run py.test -n NUM with NUM being the number of threads you want to use.

It is a good idea to put this command into your git hook .git/hooks/pre-commit, for example:

cd $GIT_DIR/../src
source ../env/bin/activate
flake8 --ignore=E123,E128,F403,F401,N802,W503 .

Working with mails

If you want to test anything regarding emails in your development setup, we recommend starting Python’s debugging SMTP server in a separate shell and configuring pretix to use it. Every email will then be printed to the debugging SMTP server’s stdout.

Add this to your src/pretix.cfg:

port = 1025

Then execute python -m smtpd -n -c DebuggingServer localhost:1025.

Working with translations

If you want to translate new strings that are not yet known to the translation system, you can use the following command to scan the source code for strings to be translated and update the *.po files accordingly:

make localegen

To actually see pretix in your language, you have to compile the *.po files to their optimized binary *.mo counterparts:

make localecompile

Working with the documentation

First, you should install the requirements necessary for building the documentation. Make sure you have your virtual python environment activated (see above). Then, install the packages by executing:

cd doc/
pip3 install -r requirements.txt

To build the documentation, run the following command from the doc/ directory:

make html

You will now find the generated documentation in the doc/_build/html/ subdirectory.