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Patching Kitsune

Submitting a patch to Kitsune is easy! (Fair warning: writing the patch may not be ;)

We use pull requests to manage patches and code reviews, and Bugzilla to handle actual bug tracking.

Because of our infrastructure and how we do deployments, we've developed a fairly straight-forward workflow in git for submitting patches. This is outlined below.

You should run the tests before submitting a pull request. You can find help for getting set up in the :ref:`installation docs <installation-chapter>`.

If you ever find yourself stuck, come look for us in #sumodev on Mozilla's IRC network. We're happy to help!

You'll need a Github account and a Bugzilla account.

The Quick and Dirty

Very quick, very little explanation. Those with strong git fu may already see some shortcuts. Use them! As long as mozilla/master doesn't have merge commits, it's all good.

Assuming your Github account is foobar and you've already forked Kitsune:

git clone
cd kitsune
git remote add mozilla
git fetch mozilla
git checkout -b temp
git branch -d master
git checkout -t mozilla/master
git branch -d temp

If you haven't set up your local git user, please do before committing any code for Kitsune. This way you can take credit for your work:

git config
git config "Your Name"

You should only need to do that once. Here's the bit to do every time:

git checkout master
git pull --rebase mozilla master
git checkout -b my-feature

# Make a change and commit it.
$EDITOR path/to/
git add path/to/
git commit -m "[Bug 123456] Fooing and the Barring."
git push origin my-feature

# Open a pull request, get review.
# Respond to feedback:
$EDITOR path/to/
git add path/to/
git commit -m "Feedback from Barfoo"

# r+! Rebase and squash.
git checkout master
git pull --rebase mozilla master
git checkout my-feature
git rebase -i master  # Squash any feedback commits.

If you don't have commit access:

git push -f origin my-feature

If you do have commit access:

git checkout master
git merge my-feature  # Should be a fast-forward commit.
git push mozilla master  # Bots will alert everyone!
git push origin master  # Optional but nice.

After the pull request is closed:

git push origin :my-feature  # Delete the remote branch. Nice to others.
git branch -D my-feature # Delete the local branch, if you're done.

The Details

This is the process in more detail, for a relatively small change that will only need one commit, and doesn't need any special treatment, like landing on special branches.

Fork and Clone Kitsune

On Github, hit the Fork button. You'll want to clone your fork of the project, at least initially:

git clone<yourname>/kitsune.git

To help keep up to date, you should add mozilla/kitsune as a remote:

cd kitsune
git remote add mozilla

You should avoid changing your master branch, it should track mozilla/master. This can help:

git fetch mozilla
git checkout master
git checkout -b temp  # Create a temporary local branch.
git branch -d master  # Delete your local master.
git checkout -t mozilla/master  # Create a tracking branch.
git branch -D temp  # Delete your temporary branch.

If you haven't set up your local git user, please do before committing any code for Kitsune. This way you can take credit for your work:

git config
git config "Your Name"

The correct way to keep your local master up to date is:

git checkout master
git pull --rebase mozilla master

You can avoid typing --rebase every time by doing:

git config branch.master.rebase true

More actual code in a minute!

Find a Bug

Step one is to make sure there's a bug in Bugzilla. Obvious "bugs" just need a Bugzilla bug to track the work for all the involved teams. There are a number of open bugs if you want to try your hand at fixing something!

New features or changes to features need bugs to build a consensus of developers, support team members, and community members, before we decide to make the change. If you want to change something like this, be sure to file the bug and get a consensus first. We'd hate to have you spend time on a patch we can't take.

Take the Bug

To make sure no one else is working on the bug at the same time, assign it to yourself in Bugzilla. There's an easy "take" link next to the Assignee field.

You don't need to bother setting the bug to the ASSIGNED state.

Fix the Bug on a Branch


This describes the process for fixing a relatively small bug in a single-commit. Large features may differ.

All bug fixes, changes, new features, etc, should be done on a "feature branch", which just means "any branch besides master." You should make sure your local master branch is up to date (see above) before starting a new feature branch.

git checkout master
git pull --rebase mozilla master  # Update local master.
git checkout -b my-feature-branch  # Some logical name.

Now you're on a feature branch, go ahead and make your changes. Assuming you haven't added any new files, you can do:

git commit -a -m "[Bug 123456] Fix the foo and the bar."

If you did add new files, you will have to git add them before committing.

Note that the commit message contains the bug number after the word "Bug". This helps us and our IRC bots!

Open a Pull Request

Once you have the bug fixed locally, you'll need to push the changes up to Github so you can open a pull request.

git push origin my-feature-branch

Then, in your browser, navigate to<yourname>/kitsune/compare/my-feature-branch and hit the Pull Request button. If the commit message is clear, the form should be filled out enough for you to submit it right away.

We add an r? in the pull request message indicating that this pull request is ready to go and is looking for someone to review it.

Respond to Review

It's very rare that pull requests will be checked in immediately. Most of the time they will go through one or more rounds of code review and clean-up.

Code review is usually comments made on the pull request or commits in Github, asking for specific changes to be made. If the requested change isn't clear, or you disagree with it, feel free to ask questions inline. Isn't Github's line-by-line commenting great?

Assuming a few small changes need to be made, make the changes locally on the feature branch, then put them in a new commit. This makes it easier from reviewers. For example, if Erik reviewed the pull request and asked for some fixes, you might do this:

git checkout my-feature-branch
# Make the changes.
git commit -a -m "Feedback from Erik."
git push origin my-feature-branch

Github will automatically add the new commit to the pull request, so we'll see it. Leaving it in a separate commit at this stage helps the reviewer see what changes you've made.

There may be more than one round of feedback, especially for complex bugs. The process is exactly the same after each round: make the changes, add them in yet another new commit, push the changes.

Ready to Merge!

Once a pull request has gotten an r+ ("R-plus", it's from Bugzilla) it's ready to merge in. At this point it should be rebased against the current mozilla/master and any feedback/fixup commits should be squashed.

If you don't have commit access, someone who does may do this for you, if they have time.

git checkout master
git pull --rebase mozilla master
git checkout my-feature-branch
git rebase -i master  # Update and squash.
python test  # Make sure tests still pass.
git push -f origin my-feature-branch

If you don't have commit access, someone will need to check this in for you. You're done! Congratulations, soon you'll have code running on one of the biggest sites in the world!

If you do have commit access, you should land your patch!

Continuing from above:

git checkout master
git merge my-feature-branch  # Should say something about "fast-forward".

Before pushing to mozilla/master, I like to verify that the merge went fine in the logs. For the vast majority of merges, there should not be a merge commit.

git log -5  # Verify that the merge went OK.
git push mozilla master  # !!! Pushing code to the primary repo/branch!
# Optionally, you can keep your Github master in sync.
git push origin master  # Not strictly necessary but kinda nice.
git push origin :my-feature-branch  # Nice to clean up.

Once the commit is on mozilla/master, you should go to the main repo on Github and find and copy the URL of the commit. Then go to the bug in Bugzilla, paste the URL, and set the bug to RESOLVED FIXED. This tells QA and others that the fix has landed on master and will be on the dev server soon! And close the pull request on Github.

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