Guidelines for Contributing Code

New Relic welcomes code contributions by the Ruby community, and have taken effort to make this process easy for both contributors and our development team.

When contributing, keep in mind that the agent runs in a wide variety of Ruby language implementations (e.g. 2.x.x, jruby, etc.) as well as a wide variety of application environments (e.g. Rails, Sinatra, roll-your-own, etc.) See Ruby agent requirements and supported frameworks for the current full list.

Because of this, we need to be more defensive in our coding practices than most projects. Syntax must be compatible with all supported Ruby implementations and we can't assume the presence of any specific libraries, including ActiveSupport, ActiveRecord, etc.


Version Support

When contributing, keep in mind that New Relic customers (that's you!) are running many different versions of Ruby, some of them pretty old. Changes that depend on the newest version of Ruby will probably be rejected, especially if they replace something backwards compatible.

Be aware that the instrumentation needs to work with a wide range of versions of the instrumented modules, and that code that looks nonsensical or overcomplicated may be that way for compatibility-related reasons. Read all the comments and check the related tests before deciding whether existing code is incorrect.

If you are planning on contributing a new feature or an otherwise complex contribution, we kindly ask you to start a conversation with the maintainer team by opening up a GitHub issue first.

General Guidelines

The Ruby agent avoids requiring any dependencies in the main agent code base. Instrumentations and features that would otherwise require a dependency (such as Infinite Tracing, which require gRPC and protobuf) are built as separate gems. If you have a feature or instrumentation request that would require a dependency, please open an Issue to discuss with the maintainers before proceeding.

Your code will be evaluated for completeness and accuracy in implementation and must be accompanied with appropriate unit tests. New additions that do not break existing tests are the easiest and quickest to be accepted and merged. New features and improvements that break existing functionality are slower to be accepted and merged as they require agreement with maintainers across a majority of the languages New Relic supports. Any such breaking changes will require a major version bump whereas non-breaking additions only lead to minor version bumps.

Please be aware that the maintainers of New Relic’s agents aim to have as much commonality of functionality across all language agents as makes sense, so we are always working to reconcile language-specific changes against the cross-language community set of agreements.

Feature Requests

Feature requests should be submitted in the Issue tracker, with a description of the expected behavior & use case. Before submitting an Issue, please search for similar ones in the closed issues.

Pull Requests

We can only accept PRs for version v6.12.0 or greater due to open source licensing restrictions. Please set the merge branch to dev unless the issue states otherwise.

Code of Conduct

Before contributing please read the code of conduct

Note that our code of conduct applies to all platforms and venues related to this project; please follow it in all your interactions with the project and its participants.


The head of main will generally have New Relic's latest release. However, New Relic reserves the ability to push an edge to the main. If you download a release from this repo, use the appropriate tag. New Relic usually pushes beta versions of a release to a working branch before tagging them for General Availability.

The main branch houses the code from the latest release. The dev branch includes unreleased work. Please create all new branches off of dev.

Development Environment Setup

  1. Fork and clone the repo locally
    • Fork the repository inside GitHub
    • git clone [email protected]:<gh username>/newrelic-ruby-agent.git
  2. Pick a Ruby version
    • Use rbenv, rvm, chruby, asdf, etc. to install any version of Ruby between 2.2 up to the latest stable version
  3. Install development dependencies
    • bundle install
  4. Check that your env is setup correctly
    • bundle exec rake

Optional: Install lefthook to integrate our team's git hooks, such as rubocop linting into your workflow.

Note: These setup instructions will not allow you to run the entire test suite. Some of our suites require services such as MySQL, Postgres, Redis, and others to run.


The agent includes a suite of unit and functional tests which should be used to verify your changes don't break existing functionality.

Unit tests are stored in the test/new_relic directory.

Functional tests are stored in the test/multiverse directory.

Running Tests

Running the test suite is simple. Just invoke:

bundle exec rake

This will run the unit tests in standalone mode. You can run against a specific Rails version by passing the version name (which should match the name of a subdirectory in test/environments) as an argument to the test:env rake task, like this:

bundle exec rake test:env[rails60]

These tests are setup to run automatically in GitHub Actions under several Ruby implementations. When you've pushed your changes to GitHub, you can confirm that the GitHub Actions test matrix passes for your fork.

Additionally, our own CI jobs runs these tests under multiple versions of Rails to verify compatibility.

Writing Tests

For most contributions it is strongly recommended to add additional tests which exercise your changes.

This helps us efficiently incorporate your changes into our mainline codebase and provides a safeguard that your change won't be broken by future development.

There are some rare cases where code changes do not result in changed functionality (e.g. a performance optimization) and new tests are not required. In general, including tests with your pull request dramatically increases the chances it will be accepted.

Functional Testing

For cases where the unit test environment is not sufficient for testing a change (e.g. instrumentation for a non-Rails framework, not available in the unit test environment), we have a functional testing suite called multiverse. These tests can be run by invoking:

bundle exec rake test:multiverse

More details are available in test/multiverse/

Leveraging Docker for Development and/or Testing


Contributor License Agreement

Keep in mind that when you submit your Pull Request, you'll need to sign the CLA via the click-through using CLA-Assistant. If you'd like to execute our corporate CLA, or if you have any questions, please drop us an email at [email protected].

For more information about CLAs, please check out Alex Russell’s excellent post, “Why Do I Need to Sign This?”.


We host a public Slack with a dedicated channel for contributors and maintainers of open source projects hosted by New Relic. If you are contributing to this project, you're welcome to request access to the #oss-contributors channel in the workspace. To request access, see

Explorer's Hub

New Relic hosts and moderates an online forum where customers can interact with New Relic employees as well as other customers to get help and share best practices. Like all official New Relic open source projects, there's a related Community topic in the New Relic Explorers Hub. You can find this project's topic/threads here:

Explorer's Hub

And Finally...

If you have any feedback on how we can make contributing easier, please get in touch at and let us know!