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Git Workflow

Branch Naming Scheme

All changes should be developed in a new branch created from the master branch.

Branches use the following naming conventions:

  • add/{something} -- When you are adding a completely new feature
  • update/{something} -- When you are iterating on an existing feature
  • fix/{something} -- When you are fixing something broken in a feature
  • try/{something} -- When you are trying out an idea and want feedback

For example, you can run: git checkout master and then git checkout -b fix/whatsits to create a new fix/whatsits branch off of origin/master.

warning: Using multiple slashes causes problems with Calypso Live testing. See: Git branches with multiple slashes. Stick to a single slash.

Short Branches: Merge Early and Often

Calypso is a fast moving codebase like the existing codebase with lots of developers all working together. In order to avoid lots of conflicts, to make sure the code works together, and to make the code review process easier, we strongly encourage that branches are small and short-lived. A branch that only has one small commit is perfectly fine and normal.

For larger features, keeping branches small requires hiding work-in-progress (WIP) functionality behind feature switches. So in the config settings for each environment (the json files inside /config) there is a "features" array that you can use to enable/disable certain features for a particular environment. For more on configs, see config/

Keeping Your Branch Up To Date

While it is tempting to merge from master into your branch frequently, this leads to a messy history because each merge creates a merge commit. When working by yourself, it is best to use git pull --rebase master, but if you're pushing to a shared repo, it is best to not do any merging or rebasing until the feature is ready for final testing, and then do a rebase at the very end. This is one reason why it is important to open pull requests whenever you have working code.

If you have a Pull Request branch that cannot be merged into master due to a conflict (this can happen for long-running Pull Request discussions), it's still best to rebase the branch (rather than merge) and resolve any conflicts on your local copy before updating the Pull Request with git push --force. Be aware that this will replace any commits currently in your shared branch, so anyone who is also using that branch will be in trouble. Only use git push --force if the Pull Request is ready to merge and no one else is using it (or if you have coordinated the force-push with the other developers working on the branch).