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Re: Advice on commit comments

From: Russ Sherk
Subject: Re: Advice on commit comments
Date: Sat, 15 Oct 2005 10:38:43 -0400

On 10/15/05, Roddie <address@hidden> wrote:
I've been using CVS to manage website development for a couple of months,
and find that I am committing quite often.

I have a development sandbox on my Mac laptop and a live sandbox on my Linux
co-lo. I find I'm making smallish edits on the Mac and then needing to
commit them and update the co-lo to see the effect there. The co-lo files
are used among other things to see how the site looks on a PC. CVS makes
this so much easier than it used to be!

But I'm unsure of how much detail to put in the commit comments. Can anyone
advise on useful/common/best practice. For example, should I edit out the
CVS at the beginning of some of the lines so that the list of add/modified
files is not removed automatically? Are most commit comments just a few
words, or is it typical for some to be lengthy descriptions. Currently there
is only me using the repository, but I envisage a time when there will be
other users.

I think there are several questions that can be used to determin the detail of the commit logs:
- How often do  you look at  your commit logs?
- What do you use the commit logs for?
- Will other people look at the logs?  For what purpose?
- Does the customer require detail in the logs?

Ideally, the change log should be able to tell a story about a file.  And logging a the delta from release to release should tell a story about the changes made to a project for that release.

I find that adding a log message describing what the change is for and a few key points about the change makes it easy to figure out when and where a change was made ("Adding fn x.  x will be used to print log data to out/err." or "Fixing major bug 12344 in sort routine.  Should be faster now.").  And subsequent 'touch ups' to the same fix can be more terse ("Fixed typo in x.", "Reverting to slow sort ;(.").

If you never read the logs though, why write anything.  Some of my collegues simply put '...' or 'PR12354' as the log message as they never look at the logs.

Hope this helps a bit.



Roddie Grant

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