Show Your Work

This really could have had a lot of titles, but I wanted to talk about sourcing information that you use and relay to other people.

I really try to write down as much of what I learn as I can because one of the things that I’m very worried about it is passing along information that’s not vetted and that I’m sure about. If I don’t have first-hand knowledge of something I’ll make sure I either let the person know before I tell them or it’ll come immediately after.

I was working with a colleague last week and I was watching them make some commits to clear some of my backlog (which was incredibly sweet of them!). They had created a branch in the form of feature/feature-name-here which would work fine, but would be a little out of place here because the format is a bit different (includes the Jira ticket number).

So when he was writing his commit, I was keeping a look out for anything else that wasn’t quite in line with the rest of the commits and it was something like this:

fix(context): Add something to something else

More detail here something something something else and something
else here.

Issue: [issue number here]

I said something about how the commits I make that first line all lowercase. As soon as it came out of my mouth I thought to myself “Did I read that somewhere? I don’t think I read that anywhere…”

And it turns out I didn’t. This was one of the things I did just because that’s what a bunch of other people did. And that’s not a bad thing, it just means it’s something I’ve been doing to be consistent with everyone else. But if that’s why I’m doing it I want to include that in the suggestion.

So as soon as I realized it I said “Wait, actually, let me make sure that’s true before you change anything.”

I went to the Conventional Commits site and scrolled down to the FAQ:

Q: Are the types in the commit title uppercase or lowercase?

A: Any casing may be used, but it’s best to be consistent.

Then I came across How to Write a Git Commit Message by cbeams which had a satisfying list of “7 rules of a great Git commit message.”

  1. Separate subject from body with a blank line
  2. Limit the subject line to 50 characters
  3. Capitalize the subject line
  4. Do not end the subject line with a period
  5. Use the imperative mood in the subject line
  6. Wrap the body at 72 characters
  7. Use the body to explain what and why vs. how

That actually makes me very happy because the first time I had to write ‘id’ in lowercase broke my heart. But I wanted to be consistent and I did it. Now I can start the line with an uppercase and sprinkle the appropriate case throughout.

Happy times!