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The team behind the OSS Review Toolkit gratefully accepts contributions via pull requests filed against the GitHub project. As part of filing a pull request we ask you to sign off the Developer Certificate of Origin (DCO).

In order to maintain a high software quality standard, we strongly prefer contributions to follow these rules:

  • We pay more attention to the quality of commit messages than most other projects on GitHub do. In general, we share the view on how commit messages should be written with the Git project itself:

    • Make separate commits for logically separate changes. For example, pure formatting changes that do not affect software behavior usually do not belong in the same commit as changes to program logic.
    • Describe your changes well. Do not just repeat in prose what is "obvious" from the code, but provide a rationale explaining why you believe your change is necessary.
    • Describe your changes in the imperative. Instead of writing "Fixes an issue with encoding" prefer "Fix an encoding issue". Think about it like the commit only does something if it is applied. This usually results in more concise commit messages.
    • We are picky about whitespaces. Trailing whitespace and duplicate blank lines are simply a superfluous annoyance, and most Git tools flag them red in the diff anyway. We generally use four spaces for indentation in Kotlin code, and two spaces for indentation in JSON / YAML files.

    If you have ever wondered how a "perfect" commit message is supposed to look like, just look at basically any of Jeff King's commits in the Git project.

  • When addressing review comments in a pull request, please fix the issue in the commit where it appears, not in a new commit on top of the pull request's history. While this requires force-pushing of the new iteration of your pull request's branch, it has several advantages:

    • Reviewers that go through (larger) pull requests commit by commit are always up-to-date with latest fixes, instead of coming across a commit that addresses their remarks only at the end.
    • It maintains a cleaner history without distracting commits like "Address review comments".
    • As a result, tools like git-bisect can operate in a more meaningful way.
    • Fixing up commits allows for making fixes to commit messages, which is not possible by only adding new commits.

    If you are unfamiliar with fixing up existing commits, please read about rewriting history and git rebase --interactive in particular.

  • To resolve conflicts, rebase pull request branches onto their target branch instead of merging the target branch into the pull request branch. This again results in a cleaner history without "criss-cross" merges.

As GitHub is not particularly good at reviewing pull requests commit by commit, it does not support adding review comments to commit messages at all, and it cannot show the diff between two iterations of force-pushed pull request branches, we encourage you to give Reviewable a try which addresses these GitHub limitations. Reviewable is integrated with pull requests to the OSS Review Toolkit and you can find a button to initiate reviews at the bottom of the first post in a pull request's conversation.

Thank you for reading and happy contributing!

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