[webkit-dev] Proposal: Commit messages should start with a one-line summary of the change

Adam Roben aroben at apple.com
Thu Jun 30 13:28:30 PDT 2011

I'd like to propose that WebKit commit messages start with a one-line summary of the change.

This change would have two benefits:

1) It would make it much easier to understand at a glance what the change actually does.

Our commit logs usually include a bug title, but the bug title only tells you about the problem, not about the solution.

2) It would make many of our tools work better.

For instance, <http://trac.webkit.org/log/trunk> shows the first 75 characters or so of the commit message. Right now it's just a wall of dates and author names, which are already shown in other parts of the UI. It would show much more useful information if we had a one-line summary at the top of the commit message. As another example, pretty much all git-based tools assume the commit message starts with a one-line summary (e.g., git log --pretty=oneline, gitk, webkit-patch post-commits, etc.), and work much better when that is the case.

Since our commit messages are almost always just a copy of our ChangeLog entries, this should apply to ChangeLog entries too. Specifically, I suggest one line be added to our ChangeLog template, yielding the following:

2011-06-30  Adam Roben  <aroben at apple.com>

        Need a one-line summary of your change (OOPS!)

        Reviewed by NOBODY (OOPS!).

        Need a short description and bug URL (OOPS!)

        * FileIModified.cpp:

Given this format, commit-log-editor will put the summary right at the top of the commit log. webkit-patch will require modifications to do this correctly, as represented by <https://bugs.webkit.org/show_bug.cgi?id=26755>.



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