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When to Edit Core

When should I edit core CiviCRM?


Most of the time, editing the core codebase directly is not the recommended way for developers to customise and extend CiviCRM. CiviCRM has multiple releases per year so direct edits to the core codebase will create upgrade issues for you. There are other recommended ways for the majority of scenarios: extensions, the APIs, and hooks.

To help you decide, here are a couple of principles:

  • Bug fixes should always be applied to core. See Contributing to Core for details.
  • Some (but not all) enhancements to existing features may be best applied to core, especially if they would be useful to others.
  • New features should generally be packed as Extensions.
  • If you aren't familiar with CiviCRM, by far the best way to get a sense if you should be editing core is by talking with the CiviCRM developer community.