Have you wondered how the make awesome commit messages in open source projects?. Here’s how you can also make your git commit messages better
I am huge fan of Angular and digging through the contribution guidelines of the project I found a specific pattern, and after a brief search I came across this guideline called conventional commits, they say
A specification for adding human and machine readable meaning to commit messages
so whats special here?
The idea is to organize your commit messages, by using a standard specification, and your commit message would look somewhat like this
<type>[optional scope]: <description> [optional body] [optional footer(s)]
The commit contains the following structural elements, to communicate intent to the consumers of your library:
- fix: a commit of the type fix patches a bug in your codebase (this correlates with PATCH in Semantic Versioning).
- feat: a commit of the type feat introduces a new feature to the codebase (this correlates with MINOR in Semantic Versioning).
- BREAKING CHANGE: a commit that has a footer BREAKING CHANGE:, or appends a ! after the type/scope, introduces a breaking API change (correlating with MAJOR in Semantic Versioning). A BREAKING CHANGE can be part of commits of any type.
- types other than fix: and feat: are allowed, for example @commitlint/config-conventional (based on the the Angular convention) recommends build:, chore:, ci:, docs:, style:, refactor:, perf:, test:, and others.
- footers other than BREAKING CHANGE: may be provided and follow a convention similar to git trailer format.
- Additional types are not mandated by the Conventional Commits specification, and have no implicit effect in Semantic Versioning (unless they include a BREAKING CHANGE). A scope may be provided to a commit’s type, to provide additional contextual information and is contained within parenthesis, e.g., feat(parser): add ability to parse arrays.
Now why should I use this? …
- Automatically generating CHANGELOGs.
- Automatically determining a semantic version bump (based on the types of commits landed).
- Communicating the nature of changes to teammates, the public, and other stakeholders.
- Triggering build and publish processes.
- Making it easier for people to contribute to your projects, by allowing them to explore a more structured commit history.
It sure has made my life easy while merging code, and boarding new people to the team.