For Developers


Interested in contributing to Canvas? This design system is driven by our community. Here’s how you can contribute too.

On behalf of the Canvas team, thank you so much for your contribution to this project and being a part of the community. Before you contribute, please take a moment and look through the following sections:

Code of Conduct

At Workday, we are committed to a culture of integrity, innovation, and fun. That culture extends to the community that we are building here through Canvas. By participating in it, you are expected to uphold our Code of Conduct and agree to our Contributor License Agreement.

How to Contribute

Don't hesitate to contribute! Canvas Kit thrives on open discussion and contribution by anyone in the Workday community. Contribution doesn't have to be code-based. Anyone can suggest changes to things such as documentation, processes, and use cases.

If you are contributing code, please take a look at the following sections to familiarize yourself with how the Canvas Kit repo is organized and run. This will help streamline the pull request process. If you have any questions, please reach out!

If your contribution is visual or UI-based, please ensure you consult with a designer or request a maintainer's help so the contribution can be evaluated as an end-to-end process.

Communicate on Issues

  • Create or identify an issue to work on
  • New contributors are recommended to start with a good first issue
  • Ask our team if the issue is relevant or has attention from other developers
  • Communicate if you'd like to work on the issue
  • Ask questions! You have our support, and you will always need more information than what is in the issue.

Git Guidelines

All development should happen on a personal fork (including maintainers). Fork the repo to your personal account, and create a feature branch for each contribution.


  • Create branches for each feature you develop
  • Branch names should be a description of the feature being implemented/bug being fixed (i.e. my-feature).
  • Prefer dashes over camelCasing in branch names.

Commit Message Format

Canvas Kit relies on the conventional-commit format specification. By formalizing our commit message format, this allows us to easily generate changelogs and scan through the commit history. It also automates semantic versioning.

Commit Descriptions


feat(Button): Add proper hover states for secondary buttons fix: Add missing static class variable to PrimaryButton and Avatar


  • Use the commit scope if your change is specific to a component or module
  • When in doubt, leave scope out
  • Capitalize your description
  • Explain the additions/edits/fixes made in your staged changes. If you cannot describe it within ~50 characters, you should be breaking it into multiple commits
  • Use the imperative mood (e.g. "fix", not "fixed")
  • Start with a verb
  • Use the body of the commit if more context is needed
  • If you have similar/identical commits one after another, consider using --amend or squashing.


  • Don't use generic messages (e.g. "fix: Clean up code", "fix: Address review feedback", etc.)
  • Don't describe the problem that was being solved (e.g. "fix: State was broken")
  • Don't be too brief. Avoid one word descriptions. Anyone with context should have a good idea of what your commit does without having to look at it.
  • Don't end with a period

Pull Requests

  • We support creating a Draft Pull Request as soon as you have figured out a working implementation, for early feedback. It can later be marked Ready for Review.
  • Open a pull request from a feature branch on your fork against the master branch on the main repository
  • When a pull request passes all checks and reviews, a core maintainer merges via Squash and Merge with a link back to the PR
  • The branch will automatically be deleted on merge, but its commits and the branch reference are still available via the PR
  • When multiple developers collaborate on a PR, project maintainers are able to push commits to fork PRs, but other contributors will need to open their own PRs against the personal fork and the appropriate feature branch.
  • If you have questions about the above policies, please ask :)

Developer Experience


Canvas Kit uses Storybook for the component development environment.

Yarn and Workspaces

Canvas Kit uses Yarn for package management and takes advantage of its support for Workspaces to connect all of its different modules within a single repository. It is recommended but not required over npm, unless you are updating dependencies, then it's required.


Canvas Kit uses Jest and React Testing Library to unit test our React components. For more information about our testing strategy and how we write unit tests, visit our Testing Readme.

Canvas Kit uses Cypress for UI tests. For info on why we chose Cypress, visit Why Cypress? For more information about how to write Cypress tests, visit Writing Cypress Tests.

Automation on Commit

Upon commit, lint-staged will run your staged code through Prettier and eslint.


  • Releases are prepared by updating package versions with lerna version, and updating the changelog
  • A PR is created for the above updates
  • After the release PR is approved and merged, we create a release in GitHub with the contents of the changelog updates.
  • The GitHub release automatically tags master with the new version, and deploys the new version to NPM.

Getting Started Developing

  1. Clone the repository from your fork and run yarn
  2. Run yarn start to start Storybook
  3. Visit http://localhost:9001/

Creating a module

  1. Run yarn create-component
  2. Enter in a module name and description
  3. (optional) Add any required dependencies on other modules
  4. (optional) If you added any extra dependencies, run yarn
  5. Start Storybook yarn start
  6. Navigate to http://localhost:9001/ and find your new module's story
  7. Begin editing your new React component in modules/react/<MODULE_NAME>/index.ts.

If creating a React module, a new compound component will be created. To find out more about Compound Components, refer to Compound Components. To find out more about creating Compound Components, refer to Creating Compound Components.

Exporting a Module

If your module's index.ts has a default export, make sure it is available as a named export as well. This allows for greater flexibility in how developers consume your module. Note that yarn create-component should set this up for you by default.

Building Modules

yarn build

This will build all modules' CSS and JS. This should only be done before publishing. It is not needed for development.

Testing Modules

yarn test

This will start the unit tests.

Code Style Guide

Refer to the API & Pattern Guidelines.

Rules are enforced using ESLint and code formatting is provided through Prettier.

To lint using ESLint, use yarn lint. To format and lint your code (careful - this can rewrite files), use yarn format.

Code formatting will occur automatically before git commit for files staged using git add.

Canvas Kit Labs & Preview

While we iterate on a new component's API, functionality and accessibility, sometimes we want to make it available to consumers ASAP. If we introduced the component normally, this could result in many breaking changes to our codebase. To avoid this, we have introduced Canvas Kit Labs as a place to incubate components. If there is a lot of debate/discussion/flux happening in your PR and the component is needed right away, it may be moved to this location so it can be made available while we iterate on it. Visit the link above for more info.

Canvas Kit Preview is for components that have had a full design and a11y review, and are approved for use in product. The API's and/or underlying architecture could still be subject to change, but not without strong communication and migration strategies. Essentially, Canvas Kit Labs is for alpha components and Canvas Kit Preview is for beta components.


Visual Studio Code is our preferred IDE. Install the Prettier and ESLint plugins for quicker and easier formatting.

Visual Studio Code

Install prettier-vscode and vscode-eslint

Consider adding the following options:

Contributor License Agreement

Each Contributor (“You”) represents that such You are legally entitled to submit any Contributions in accordance with these terms and by posting a Contribution, you represent that each of Your Contribution is Your original creation.

You are not expected to provide support for Your Contributions, except to the extent You desire to provide support. You may provide support for free, for a fee, or not at all. Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, You provide Your Contributions on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied, including, without limitation, any warranties or conditions of TITLE, NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY, or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Can't Find What You Need?

Check out our FAQ section which may help you find the information you're looking for.

FAQ Section