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Checklist/Outline (The short version)

  • Getting Started:

    • Make sure you have a Redmine account
    • Submit a ticket for your issue, assuming one does not already exist.
    • Decide what to base your work off of
      • 1.6.x: bug fixes only
      • 2.x: new features that are not breaking changes
      • master: new features that are breaking changes
  • Making Changes:

    • Make sure you have a GitHub account
    • Fork the repository on GitHub
    • Make commits of logical units.
    • Check for unnecessary whitespace with "git diff --check" before committing.
    • Make sure your commit messages are in the proper format
    • Make sure you have added the necessary tests for your changes
    • Run all the tests to assure nothing else was accidentally broken
  • Submitting Changes:

    • Sign the Contributor License Agreement
    • Push your changes to a topic branch in your fork of the repository.
    • Submit a pull request to the repository in the puppetlabs organization.
    • Update your Redmine ticket

The long version

  1. Create a Redmine ticket for the change you'd like to make.

    It's very important that there be a Redmine ticket for the change you are making. Considering the number of contributions which are submitted, it is crucial that we know we can find the ticket on Redmine.

    Before making a ticket however, be sure that one does not already exist. You can do this by searching Redmine or by trying a Google search which includes in addition to some of the keywords related to your issue.

    If you do not find a ticket that that accurately describes the work you're going to be doing, go ahead and create one. But be sure to look for related tickets and add them to the 'related tickets' section.

  2. Decide what to base your work on.

    In general, you should always base your work on the oldest branch that your change is relevant to, and it will be eventually merged up. Currently, branches will be merged up as follows: 1.6.x => 2.x => master

    Currently, this is how you should decide where to target your changes:

    A bug fix should be based off the the earliest place where it is relevant. If it first appears in 1.6.x, then it should be targeted here and eventually merged up to 2.x and master.

    New features which are backwards compatible should be targeted at the next release, which currently is 2.x.

    New features that are breaking changes should be targeted at master.

    Part of deciding what to what your work should be based off of includes naming your topic branch to reflect this. Your branch name should have the following format: ticket/target_branch/ticket_number_short_description_of_issuee

For example, if you are fixing a bug relating to a hostname problem on aix,
which has Redmine ticket number 12345, then your branch should be named: 
  There is a good chance that if you submit a pull request _from_ master _to_ master, 
  Puppet Labs developers will suspect that you're not sure about the process. This is 
  why clear naming of branches and basing your work off the right place will be 
  extremely helpful in ensuring that your submission is reviewed and merged. Often times
  if your change is targeted at the wrong place, we will bounce it back to you and wait 
  to review it until it has been retargeted. 
  1. Make separate commits for logically separate changes.

    Please break your commits down into logically consistent units which include new or changed tests relevent to the rest of the change. The goal of doing this is to make the diff easier to read for whoever is reviewing your code. In general, the easier your diff is to read, the more likely someone will be happy to review it and get it into the code base.

    If you're going to refactor a piece of code, please do so as a separate commit from your feature or bug fix changes.

    It's crucial that your changes include tests to make sure the bug isn't re-introduced, and that the feature isn't accidentally broken.

    Describe the technical detail of the change(s). If your description starts to get too long, that's a good sign that you probably need to split up your commit into more finely grained pieces.

    Commits which plainly describe the the things which help reviewers check the patch and future developers understand the code are much more likely to be merged in with a minimum of bike-shedding or requested changes. Ideally, the commit message would include information, and be in a form suitable for inclusion in the release notes for the version of Facter that includes them.

    Please also check that you are not introducing any trailing whitespaces or other "whitespace errors". You can do this by running "git diff --check" on your changes before you commit.

    When writing commit messages, please be sure they meet these standards, and please include the ticket number in your short summary. It should look something like this: (#12345) Fix this issue in Facter

  2. Sign the Contributor License Agreement

    Before we can accept your changes, we do need a signed Puppet Labs Contributor License Agreement (CLA).

    You can access the CLA via the Contributor License Agreement link in the top menu bar of our Redmine instance. Once you've signed the CLA, a badge will show up next to your name on the Puppet Project Overview Page, and your name will be listed under "Contributor License Signers" section.

    If you have any questions about the CLA, please feel free to contact Puppet Labs via email at

  3. Sending your patches

    To submit your changes via a GitHub pull request, you must have them on a topic branch, instead of directly on "master" or one of the release, or RC branches. It makes things much easier to keep track of, especially if you decide to work on another thing before your first change is merged in.

    GitHub has some pretty good general documentation on using their site. They also have documentation on creating pull requests.

    In general, after pushing your topic branch up to your repository on GitHub, you'll switch to the branch in the GitHub UI and click "Pull Request" towards the top of the page in order to open a pull request.

    You'll want to make sure that you have the appropriate destination branch in the repository under the puppetlabs organization. This should be the same branch that you based your changes off of.

  4. Update the related Redmine ticket.

    You should update the Redmine ticket associated with the change you submitted to include the location of your branch on the branch field of the ticket, and change the status to "In Topic Branch Pending Review", along with any other commentary you may wish to make.

How to track the status of your change after it's been submitted

Shortly after opening a pull request, there should be an automatic email sent via GitHub. This notification is used to let the Puppet development community know about your requested change to give them a chance to review, test, and comment on the change(s).

We do our best to comment on or merge submitted changes within a about week. However, if there hasn't been any commentary on the pull request or mailed patches, and it hasn't been merged in after a week, then feel free to ask for an update by replying on the mailing list to the automatic notification or mailed patches. It probably wasn't intentional, and probably just slipped through the cracks.

Additional Resources

If you have commit access to the repository

Even if you have commit access to the repository, you'll still need to go through the process above, and have someone else review and merge in your changes. The rule is that all changes must be reviewed by a developer on the project (that didn't write the code) to ensure that all changes go through a code review process.

Having someone other than the author of the topic branch recorded as performing the merge is the record that they performed the code review.

  • Merging topic branches

    When merging code from a topic branch into the integration branch (Ex: master, 2.7.x, 1.6.x, etc.), there should always be a merge commit. You can accomplish this by always providing the --no-ff flag to git merge.

    git merge --no-ff --log tickets/master/1234-fix-something-broken

    The reason for always forcing this merge commit is that it provides a consistent way to look up what changes & commits were in a topic branch, whether that topic branch had one, or 500 commits. For example, if the merge commit had an abbreviated SHA-1 of coffeebad, then you could use the following git log invocation to show you which commits it brought in:

    git log coffeebad^1..coffeebad^2

    The following would show you which changes were made on the topic branch:

    git diff coffeebad^1...coffeebad^2

    Because we always merge the topic branch into the integration branch the first parent (^1) of a merge commit will be the most recent commit on the integration branch from just before we merged in the topic, and the second parent (^2) will always be the most recent commit that was made in the topic branch. This also serves as the record of who performed the code review, as mentioned above.