Development Process

Set Up

Each mobile courses is a GitHub repo under the DataCamp GitHub organization. You will be given full write access to the repository for your course. First clone the repository:

git clone

The suite of development tools available for authoring mobile content on DataCamp is provided as an NPM package. NPM is the package management system for Node, a JavaScript framework. It's a bit like CRAN for R or PyPI for Python. You don't need to know any Javascript, though - this is just how to download the command line tool that contains the DataCamp for Mobile development tools. If you don't have NPM yet, you will need to download and install it.

npm cache clean -f

# update node
npm install -g n
sudo n stable

# update npm
npm install -g npm

# install DataCamp mobile development tools
npm install -g @datacamp/mobile-teach

This will create the mobile-teach executable, which you will use to lint and preview your content.

You may periodically need to update the mobile-teach package in the future. You can achieve this by simply running the installation command again:

npm install -g @datacamp/mobile-teach


Before pushing (or - preferably - committing) updates to your content, you should run the mobile-teach linter. The linter does two things:

  1. It validates your YAML's schema to ensure that there are no errors break the build.
  2. It supplies a warning when your content exceeds guideline recommendations and errors when it exceeds hard limits.

The linter will provide exercise UUIDs to mark where problems are occurring and explicit messages about what is wrong. You can either specify the path to a course directory...

mobile-teach check /path/to/mobile-courses-example-course

...or simply run the check from within a course directory:

cd /path/to/mobile-courses-example-course
mobile-teach check

If you want to exclude warnings:

mobile-teach check --no-warnings

If you want to run only the schema validation:

mobile-teach check --exclude content-guidelines-validator


Often it's useful to see how your content will render on a phone screen. The mobile-teach preview subcommand will serve your content on port 8080:

mobile-teach preview /path/to/lesson-file.yml

You can then open a web browser (we recommend Firefox version 58 or later) to localhost:8080. Open the browser tools (Command-Option-i for Firefox) and click the phone icon to simulate a phone view port. You can even specify which phone you want to simulate (eg iPhone, Nexus, Galaxy, etc) by clicking the bar at the top of the viewport and selecting a device model. We recommend previewing on the smallest phone supported by DataCamp for Mobile - the iPhone SE.

The simulator preview will update in real time as you make changes to your content, so try setting it up side by side with your content and editing in real-time! Note that although the real mobile app will randomize possible answers in every exercise, the preview will always place the correct answer(s) first, so that it's easy to power through a lesson for testing purposes.

A known upstream bug in the React framework prevents datasets from rendering in tabs on the mobile preview. Don't worry - these will render properly on a real mobile device.


Development App

At any point, you can preview your content on the development version of the DataCamp for Mobile app. This is a second app that you can install alongside the real production version of the app. It displays the content that you push to the development (dev) branch. Only you and DataCamp will be able to see what you push to dev. Email for an invite to the iOS/Android dev app.

When you want to push to dev:

  1. Download the development app. Contact if you don't already have it; you will receive an email with download instructions.

  2. Create a new account through the dev app. You won't be able to log in with your existing DataCamp account because this app runs off DataCamp's development server. Instead, make a new account through the dev app and log in with that.

  3. First, check that everything is in good shape:

    mobile-teach check
  4. Push your latest content to GitHub:

    git checkout development
    git push origin development
  5. Wait just a few minutes to allow the development app to update.

  6. Check out your new content on the development app, make sure everything looks good.

Production app

Unlike desktop courses, courses on DataCamp for Mobile are typically released one chapter at a time. When your chapter branch is ready to be released to the world:

  1. Do one last check!

    mobile-teach check
  2. Open a pull request (PR) for the development branch into the master branch on GitHub.

  3. DataCamp will review the PR and make suggestions for revisions.

  4. After one or more reviews & revisions, the PR will be approved and DataCamp will generate a new release.

  5. Your content is now live to the world!

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