re: Git commits: An Effective Style Guide VIEW POST


Nice post, Paul! I've been trying to work out for a while how to introduce developers to using Git in its full capacity, but it's a bit of a chicken and egg problem:

  • Without writing good commit messages, there's no reason to look at blame/history, since it doesn't have anything to offer

  • If you're not looking at the history, there's no reason to write good commit messages, and there's no reason to use rebasing to keep a clean history (eg. squashing extraneous "fix" commits)

  • Without a clean history, tools like git bisect become more pain than it's worth to use, so you don't work with the history

It's surprising that developers, who generally thrive on learning how things work, don't progress quickly past the "Git is Ctrl-S for code" stage:

Example of a bad history


Thanks for your response Stephen, I know exactly what you mean. I indulge to the same "fast git commit" thing many times. Unfortunately, developers don't like to adhere to a new way of doing a certain thing "just because" someone told them.
If they see value in it, then they will do it.
So, if they stumble upon a situation where they want to rollback to a certain commit and spend hours finding it, then they will cahnge their minds.
So, the only way of getting them to use a new git style is actually to ask them for baby, incremental steps.
For example, they could try adding the issue tracker id in their commit messages, for a month.
Then, they could also tag the major commits so that there is a way to rollback to a previous version, easily.
These incremental small changes will result in them not complaining about drastically changing their way of work.

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