Contribute - Design (R/RShiny/Py)

I just finished listening to the Talk Python To Me hosted by Michael Kennedy, and who interviewed Bryan Van de Ven promoting Bokeh. I am interested in being a contributor to the Bokeh project and being a leader in delivering great data visualization tools.

I am relatively new to Python, coming from R programming world. My professional work is centered in Clinical Informatics (Healthcare domain), focused on data engineering for our cancer at UC Davis. I have spent quite a bit of time developing in R/Python and visualizing in RShiny/Tableau, and would like to help bring Bokeh to the next level. In addition to informatics I also have a designer space (Industrial/Graphical Design), and hope to help improve the look of Bokeh plots and documentation.

Please let me know how I can help and be of use to the group.

Joseph, C

1 Like

Hi Joseph,

Thanks for stopping by. We can definitely use lots of help in various areas, so I am just going to rattle off bunch of possibilities, then we can dig further into ones that sound most interesting to you:

  • tweaking/updating default styling and visuals for all Bokeh plots
  • updating specific gallery/docs examples to be more interesting or attractive using explicit styling
  • creating new themes for bokeh.themes
  • contributing entirely new interesting and/or stylish examples
  • adjusting or improving the new common bootstrap theme in use on:
  • creating a better hero image for
  • creating new thumbnails for gallery and checkerboards
  • helping to implement the common bootstrap theme in the Sphinx docs build (soon to be
  • make the content section of more attractive

Plus many other things besides, I am sure. If anything jumps out at you, let me know and I will go in to a bit more detail!

Hey Bryan,
My apologies for the delay in responding to you. The below items are of interest, since this will be my first contribution to a project lets formalize one or two items that are more critical for the team to focus on. Since I am a newbie with Python getting a more hands-on approach and contributing would be of great help. I also would be open to collaborating with others to port over to R.

  • tweaking/updating default styling and visuals for all Bokeh plots
  • creating new themes for bokeh.themes
  • adjusting or improving the new common bootstrap theme in use on:
    - Not sure what would be involved with this task?

Joseph C.

@Jack_Beanland if you are interested in working on R, send me a DM with your email and I will introduce you to Ryan Hafen, who created RBokeh He’s done some unpublished work to bring it up to date (it is many versions behind at this point) but evidently could use some help to get past the finish line. I think an updated RBokeh that we could promote heavily would be really great.

Otherwise any of those three items would be helpful:

  • Default styles are not stored in any one place, the default values are all declared with the properties themselves on the classes. So changing the a default style means updating the default value on the Python side as well as on the BokehJS side. So this task will require building and testing BokehJS locally. I woudl say a good approach would be to first figure out any visuals you think could tweaked then just try them out by setting them in Python scripts. Then once you had a list of changes they could be made all at once in one PR.

  • Themes are stored as JSON dicts in python modules here:

    Adding a new theme is mostly just adding a new python module and json block with the new visual property values for that theme. The JSON blocks have sections for types and the property values the them wants to override, e.g.

    "Grid": {
        "grid_line_color": "#E0E0E0",
        "grid_line_alpha": 0.25

    This does not require building or testing with BokehJS locally, so is definitely a but more immediately accessible.

  • This would be “web dev” work on the repos for the various sites. E.g. the front page is at:

    As for what is involved, I am open to any web design help or suggetions. I know for instance that the current bootstrap dom layout does not collapse well at a middle (tablet-ish) width, so that could be an improvement. I’d really like to be able to store “alerts” in a central place and have all the sites pick up and display those alerts at the top if they exist. So finding a way to do that, etc.The blog site is currently very plain looking. If there is any improvements or optimizations to the CSS or anything… basically the site was cobbled together by me, with very little web design experience. So I have to believe it can be improved in many ways.

Bryan, I can help out with RBokeh and develop new themes. Since I am not a web developer I will stay away from the web design work. I looked all over Discourse and on your GitHub page, but could find a space to send you a private message. Can you point me in the right direction so I can provide you my email.

Joseph C.

@jcawood great to hear! I would say, re: new themes, just open an issue (or Pull Request) on GitHub, and I can answer any technical questions from there.

For direct messages, there should be an “envelope” link off your profile picture in the upper right:


@jcawood Alternatively, if I should just use the email you signed up here with, that’s simple, just let me know.

Just use the email I signed up with. I did find the mail icon, just did not look hard enough.


OK, should be sent, let me know if you don’t see it. FYI Ryan’s response times can vary depending on his travel, etc. so a response may take some time.

I received the email, I will be on the look out for a response from Ryan. In the mean time I will get better acquainted with the Python process for using Bokeh.

Joseph C.

1 Like