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If you'd like to contribute to Regal, here are some pointers to help get you started.

Before you start, the architecture guide provides a useful overview of how Regal works, so you might want to read that before diving into the code!


The following tools are required to build, test and lint Regal:

Recommended, but not required:

  • The rq tool. This is used for automating and simplifying many of the tasks outlined in this document, and is (ab)used as a Rego-based replacement for Make in this project. Check out the do.rq file to see what that looks like, and for documentation on the available tasks.

Contributing New Rules

If you'd like to contribute a new built-in rule, the simplest way to get started is to run the regal new rule command. This should be done from the top-level directory of the Regal repository, and would look something like this:

regal new rule --type builtin --category naming --name foo-bar-baz

This will create two files in bundle/regal/rules/naming (since naming was the category) — one for the rule and one for testing it. The code here will be a pretty simple template, but contains all the required components for a built-in rule. A good idea for learning more about what's needed is to take a look at some previous PRs adding new rules to Regal.

Guiding principles for new built-in rules

  • All rules should have succinct, descriptive names which are unique - even across categories
  • A rule that misses a few cases is better than no rule at all, but it's good to document any known edge cases
  • False positives should however always be avoided
  • Add tests for as many cases as you can think of
  • Any new rule should have an example violation added in e2e/testada/violations/most_violations.rego
  • All the steps for building, testing and linting in this document should pass

If you're struggling with any of the above points, or you're unsure of what to do, no worries! Just say so in your PR, or ask for advice in the #regal channel in the Styra Community Slack!


Build the regal executable simply by running go build, or with rq installed, by running build/do.rq build.

Occasionally you may want to run the script from inside the build directory. This will populate the data directory with any data necessary for linting (such as the built-in function metadata from OPA).


To run all the Rego unit tests, you can run the regal test command targeting the bundle directory:

regal test bundle

To run all tests — Go and Rego:

go test ./...

Or using rq:

build/do.rq test

E2E tests

End-to-End (E2E) tests assert the behaviour of the regal binary called with certain configs, and test files. They expect a regal binary either in the top-level directory, or pointed at by $REGAL_BIN, and can be run locally via

go test -tags e2e ./e2e

Alternatively, using rq:

build/do.rq e2e


Regal uses golangci-lint with most linters enabled. In order to check your code, run:

golangci-lint run ./...

In order to please the gci linter, you may either manually order imports, or have them automatically ordered and grouped by the tool:

gci write \
-s standard \
-s default \
-s "prefix(" \
-s "prefix(" \
-s blank \
-s dot .

In order to ensure consistent formatting in our markdown docs, we use the markdownlint tool in CI. To run it yourself before submitting a PR, install it (brew install markdownlint-cli) and run:

markdownlint --config docs/.markdownlint.yaml docs/

Preparing a pull request

Using rq, run all the required steps with:

build/do.rq pr

This will run all the formatters, linters and tests. Make sure all of them pass before submitting your PR. If there's anything you can't figure out, don't hesitate to ask for help in the #regal Slack channel (see Community below).


The table in the Rules section of the README is generated with the following command:

go run main.go table --write-to-readme bundle

Wasm (Experimental)

Build with

GOOS=wasip1 GOARCH=wasm go build -o regal.wasm .

Run with wasmtime regal.wasm and the like:

$ curl -sSf | bash
# ...
$ wasmtime --version
wasmtime-cli 13.0.0
$ wasmtime --dir $(pwd) regal -- lint bundle
90 files linted. No violations found.


If you'd like to discuss Regal development or just talk about Regal in general, please join us in the #regal channel in the Styra Community Slack!