[webkit-dev] ChangeLog Deprecation Plans

Michael Catanzaro mcatanzaro at gnome.org
Mon Apr 18 17:38:57 PDT 2022

On Mon, Apr 18 2022 at 02:55:08 PM -0700, Yusuke Suzuki 
<ysuzuki at apple.com> wrote:
> I think this is important. We are using commit message / ChangeLog as 
> a document tied to the change, and we are writing very detailed 
> description to make the intention / design of the change clear and 
> making it as a good document when we read the change via git-blame, 
> bisect, using that header, investigating how it works etc.
> To make / keep this commit message / ChangeLog helpful, we need 
> review, and I think reviewing of these messages is critical to keep 
> usefulness of them.

I agree with all of the above. Actually, I'd suggest that the 
transition to git is a good opportunity to become a little stricter 
with commit message format than we historically have been. Except for 
trivial/obvious changes, more detail is better.

However, we don't need ChangeLog files in the repo or inline review 
comments to do this. I'm sure we can make do with the normal GitHub 
review UI.

> I think COMMIT_MESSAGE proposal has various good benefits.
> 1. We can review commit mesasges.
> 2. In local development, we can commit expected COMMIT_MESSAGE file 
> directly in our tree. We can eventually add more and more detailed 
> information to this file while local development continues, and we 
> can also revert COMMIT_MESSAGE change since it can be commited in the 
> local branch.

This has few advantages over using 'git commit --amend' or 'git rebase 
-i'. It would also be a custom, WebKit-specific part of our workflow. 
This is a good opportunity to remove as many WebKit-isms from our 
contribution process as possible, to make it easier for people who are 
not familiar with the project to contribute more easily. I suggest we 
at least try to do things like most other open source projects first, 
and only implement custom solutions if that fails.

> Commit message is tied to a commit, so editing commit without 
> breaking commit-message is hard (how to revert one change from one 
> commit without rewriting commit message? It requires some git hack). 
> Separate independent COMMIT_MESSAGE file can solve this problem and 
> makes local development easy.

Developers who are used to git -- which nowadays is pretty much 
everyone except WebKit devs -- are also used to rewriting commit 

Developers are NOT used to writing commit messages in a file named 

> 3. This solves the problem how to squash multiple commits in one PR. 
> Merge-queue can just look at this file and use this as a commit 
> message when squashing and landing. This means that, in a PR, we can 
> push multiple small commits in our PR branch.

What is the advantage to doing this, though? It's best if the commits 
in your PR match what you intend to land. The structure of commits is 
subject to review in most open source projects. If the commit history 
is messy, we should not approve the PR.

For now, we've agreed that for now each PR should land as one commit.

More information about the webkit-dev mailing list