Set up your development environment, publish your code, and do many of the chores that somehow keep you from the important stuff — writing your software.

What is DevAssistant

DevAssistant is a tool that helps you start with developing software — for every project, you need dependencies, a certain file and directory structure, and often some services or the firewall set up. You no longer need to copy commands from lengthy tutorials online before developing any web app, library, or a software tool. Now only one DevAssistant command (or a few clicks in the GUI) and you are done. Imagine that running the following command in the command line:

$ da create java maven --name MyJavaApp --github

gets you a fully functioning Maven-based Java application with dependencies, metadata, and a fresh GitHub repository with the code already uploaded. The same can be said about mostly every major language, because there is an assistant (a script) for that. Have a look at a few examples of how to run DevAssistant in the tutorials.

You can run DevAssistant from the command line, or you can use the graphical user interface (GUI). We strongly recommend using the command line interface for reasons described in the notes.

Installing DevAssistant on Fedora

If you are running Fedora Workstation, there is a good chance that you already have DevAssistant and the common assistants installed. To check that, try looking for DevAssistant in your Applications menu, or type da into the command line. If you get something like this, you already have DevAssistant:

Couldn't parse input, displaying help ...

You can either run assistants with:
da [--debug] {create,tweak,prepare,extras} [ASSISTANT [ARGUMENTS]] ...

create   used for creating new projects
tweak    used for working with existing projects
prepare  used for preparing environment for upstream projects
extras   used for performing custom tasks not related to a specific project
You can shorten "create" to "crt", "tweak" to "twk" and "extras" to "extra".

Or you can run a custom action:
da [--debug] [ACTION] [ARGUMENTS]

Available actions:
doc      Display documentation for a DAP package.
help     Print detailed help.
pkg      Lets you interact with online DAPI service and your local DAP
version  Print version

If you do not see such a message, you can get DevAssistant from GNOME Software, or install it through DNF:

$ sudo dnf install devassistant

If that is not possible for whatever reason, you may install DevAssistant from PyPI using the command pip3 from the package python3-pip:

$ pip3 install devassistant --user

If you do this, however, you will not have any assistants available, and will have to install them yourself.

Under the hood

DevAssistants is essentially an engine that loads and executes scripts called assistants, one for each workflow you need to cover—the assistants may be tied to programming languages (e. g. C, Java, Ruby, Python), or generic tasks like publishing your code to GitHub. There are a few assistants that are maintained by the DevAssistant upstream developers, and there are more that were created by the community. In Fedora’s repositories, you will find mostly the first kind, packaged under the names devassistant-dap-NAME). Do not worry though, you can easily install third party assistants too.


As said above, the assistants are the scripts that DevAssistants uses to set up your environment. They are written in YAML, and there are four major roles that the assistants fall into:

  • Create empty projects – You run a create assistant when you want to start writing a completely new project, one that isn’t existing yet.
  • Tweak current project – This sort of assistants are run on the code you are currently working, be it one that you created with DevAssistant, or someone else’s. In Tutorials, there is a tutorial on how to publish your code to GitHub with a tweak assistant
  • Prepare someone’s code – As opposed to create assistants, prepare assistants set up code of an existing project for you to contribute to. Except for cloning the code from the internet, they install dependencies you need for testing the project or create a fork of the original project on GitHub.
  • Extras – In this role, you can find assistants that cover other actions you may want to perform on your code, like creating distribution packages, validation and verification, and anything else.

All roles have their shortened version (crt, twk, prep, extra) that can be used when invoking DevAssistant command-line interface.

For a quick illustration, If you want to create a brand new application based on Django (a Python web framework) which supports Docker containers, you need to run a command that looks like this (da is short for DevAssistant):

da create python django --name MyAppName --docker

If you want to see how test the application locally, you run the following command in the project’s directory to start the container that was created along with the app:

da tweak docker develop

All you need is to point your browser to the address the assistant provided you with. If you want to go through a more detailed description of how to develop with DevAssistant, visit the tutorials page.

If you can not find an assistant on the DevAssistant Package Index for a workflow you use often, or there is one missing for your project, you can write an assistant yourself. To see how, see the page for developers.

Installing new assistants

Getting DevAssistant the way described on the top of this page gets you also a common set of assistants for major languages. These assistants are packaged in Fedora under the names devassistant-dap-NAME, and they get updates when the rest of the system is updated etc. You can, however, install third party assistants from the DevAssistant Package Index (DAPI) if they are not available through Fedora channels. To get the third party assistants, run:

$ da pkg install PackageName

Where PackageName is the name of package you got on the web version of the DAPI, or found by searching in the command line:

$ da pkg search KeyWord

Alternatively, you may list all the available packages and choose from that:

$ da pkg list --available

Installing through da pkg install saves the assistants in a hidden folder (.devassistant) inside your home directory, so they are not available to other users. Update the assistants by running:

$ da pkg update