Squashing Git Commits Is Great Code Etiquette

Whether you collaborate with a team of folks or just by yourself, having tidy git commits are useful in being able to search through your own git log.

Take this git log example:

[[email protected] tmp_blog]$ git log
commit eeb0dae575e2ce9f055625f367c802060838d584
Author: Adrian
Date: Mon Apr 6 15:50:06 2015 -0400

added comments for decorator

commit 12cb1bdb3278c410cc21842c95da1066b3386b21
Author: Adrian
Date: Mon Apr 6 15:49:25 2015 -0400

added working decorator

commit 690b9668ed0a2f205ac0a535c89f089c4e2cca7b
Author: Adrian
Date: Mon Apr 6 15:33:54 2015 -0400

WIP: testing a decorator

commit 34eeee492343aad2936d1b89eff92ee04b818aef
Author: Adrian
Date: Mon Apr 6 15:27:53 2015 -0400

initial commit with README

I want to tidy things up before I put in a pull request, because if I were the person reviewing my code, I wouldn't want to have all of those commits to look through. I also want to keep the git log clean so that when myself or any other engineer comes and looks to see the history, there will be a definitive point where I can say, "okay, this is the commit from this pull request".

The basic steps that I typically do are as follows git rebase -i {COMMIT_TO_REBASE_AFTER} and then edit the git commit during the interactive rebase.

So, for my example, I want to rebase after my initial commit: [[email protected] tmp_blog]$ git rebase -i 34eeee492343aad2936d1b89eff92ee04b818aef

A menu comes up similar to the following:

pick 690b966 WIP: testing a decorator
pick 12cb1bd added working decorator
pick eeb0dae added comments for decorator

# Rebase 34eeee4..eeb0dae onto 34eeee4
# Commands:
# p, pick = use commit
# r, reword = use commit, but edit the commit message
# e, edit = use commit, but stop for amending
# s, squash = use commit, but meld into previous commit
# f, fixup = like "squash", but discard this commit's log message
# x, exec = run command (the rest of the line) using shell

It is hopefully self explanatory. I am going to reword one commit and fixup the rest so I can have one nice, detailed commit.

r 690b966 WIP: testing a decorator
f 12cb1bd added working decorator
f eeb0dae added comments for decorator

And now, my git log is nice and tidy!

[[email protected] tmp_blog]$ git log
commit 477232a042c308fff5e771757616130603207d85
Author: Adrian
Date: Mon Apr 6 15:33:54 2015 -0400

Added tmp.py with a decorator

decorator has awesome decorator-functionality

commit 34eeee492343aad2936d1b89eff92ee04b818aef
Author: Adrian
Date: Mon Apr 6 15:27:53 2015 -0400

initial commit with README

By Adrian Cruz | Published April 6, 2015, 7:56 p.m. | Permalink | tags: git, source control management

From Initial Commit to Launch: The Story of a Quick Site Launch

Here is a tale of commits starting from the first initial commit, up to the production release commit. Full disclosure: these are not complete commit logs, I have tailored out any work-specific text. These are also not all of the commits in the log, but only the highlights.

Initial Commit and Commuter Commits In One Week

So, here's the problem, I've been tasked to build a web application. They need it "A.S.A.P." aka "we need it yesterday". I'm up for the challenge, I do my research, get the requirements, pick my tools, and off we go.

commit fc230bbd88e488224145e2dcb8d3522aebbd706d
Author: Adrian Cruz 
Date:   Tue Jan 7 11:20:48 2014 -0500

    initial commit

It's a Python Django application. My second place choice was to use Play Framework, and honestly, I would have loved to use it, but I would just be learning Scala and the stress to have the application ASAP resonated. I know Python, I've built web applications in Django before. Let's do this.

commit e65ef58f6f32c39a7b345f137c899479485cdc04
Author: Adrian Cruz 
Date:   Wed Jan 8 09:44:32 2014 -0500

    working on the bus commit

I've been having issues with Thrift. We use Thrift to provide service API calls for cross-functional teams to use. Thrift is not documented very well. Learning how to utilize Thrift to pull data and store data is taking up too much of my time. It's a blocking item, pushing all of my other tasks further back.

commit 61954bbfb2738eba93c8b270fd2dadcce4c99207
Author: Adrian Cruz 
Date:   Fri Jan 10 03:42:20 2014 -0500

    working on page detail view, not quite working (404'ing)
     - time for sleep

commit d62a212b3d44836258d82fa783f7d9388ee27493
Author: Adrian Cruz 
Date:   Thu Jan 9 03:18:19 2014 -0500

    specific pages are loading in a table now.
    -- i should sleep

I want to get this app done. I've got some strength in me to pull some late-night coding sessions.

commit 926607874dfe5ad62064a990e29a27c7d3087367
Author: Adrian Cruz 
Date:   Mon Jan 13 20:08:45 2014 +0000

     - updated settings and models for running on beta box

I've been going back and forth with another developer. I have downtime while he is working on fixing things on his end. I set up a beta server to host my application instead of running this on my local machine. My git logs now reflect GMT time since I am not working on my local machine any longer. Note: convert the time to be in GMT -5 to see the actual times I've been working.

commit bd4ce1a3029fd412a3ae9e4465645a77405d729d
Author: Adrian Cruz 
Date:   Fri Jan 17 19:00:01 2014 +0000

    quick lunch commit -- loading data from thrift successfully

commit dd8d1d209a483bfa32e51203969bc9a83c2a7903
Author: Adrian Cruz 
Date:   Fri Jan 17 09:07:41 2014 +0000

    falling asleep commit -- working on pulling data in from thrift now

Things are getting better. I'm getting the hang of Thrift finally.

commit c6671bbc0ad5aafd41f84096fcdacd59c2466366
Author: Adrian  Cruz 
Date:   Tue Jan 21 19:30:03 2014 +0000

     - functioning; saves and pulls data

Looks like I have a working beta version. I had to do a lot of AJAX work from this weekend up until January 21.

Snowstorms May Stop Traffic, But Not Development

commit 01695b45c3db9ac521952f6ed9467907e7ad5675
Author: Adrian Cruz 
Date:   Tue Jan 21 22:54:33 2014 +0000

    on the bus commute! wow this snow is horrible! i'm _still_ not home yet.

Working on the commute to or from the office has become a normal routine. But this time, I really had to since it was the only thing keeping me sane. Total commute time due to snow: 4 hours 20 minutes.

On a Weekend Where Staying In Was On the Agenda: Weekend Work

commit 721aa0881e8039925825049e8d3ad2907226171b
Author: Adrian Cruz 
Date:   Sun Jan 26 05:49:53 2014 +0000

    WORKING LDAP authentication!
     - need to make it pretty and add @login_required decorators everywhere

One of the requirements was to be able to snap into our company's LDAP server so users won't need to remember another password. If anything, I could roll out authentication using Django just for the time being. But luckily, just one weekend worth of hacking, I was able to write a custom LDAP authentication module for Django.

commit 01318875cb0f0adaebe7d0d03fd6d38ca8a36593
Author: Adrian Cruz 
Date:   Mon Jan 27 08:13:32 2014 +0000

    i should go to sleep - fixed data models
commit a161c8b476c33dc2330d357143d9a2a8c94dbb79
Author: Adrian Cruz 
Date:   Tue Jan 28 12:06:23 2014 +0000

    Thrift saving seems to be working properly now... it's 7am...

Having Thrift issues certainly did slow down the process.

Production Live Beta

commit 767f9c0796804d3fbca38db0fd0cac2c1bc746b2
Author: Adrian Cruz 
Date:   Tue Jan 28 22:11:10 2014 +0000

    production settings.py
commit 3cbb95e1fa3f7a38e9de8d8d4f392944e5e0e52a
Author: Adrian Cruz 
Date:   Wed Jan 29 19:57:58 2014 +0000

    optimized view for pages
     - LEFT JOIN
     - limited results to 100 until pagination

We did a live beta to demo to our end users. I like these since I get to hear user feedback. But on the other hand, I really got to hear user feedback! A flood of changes were requested and some of them were done. Others, entered in as a feature request for the next iteration.

commit 8a10107c9d3b9ce4ea2ed2d4255b2f6113ae5c7c
Author: Adrian Cruz 
Date:   Thu Jan 30 23:51:02 2014 +0000

    publishing properly
     - TODO carousel json

I now started working on publishing output. I can see the checkered flag.

Production: Rollout!

commit b8ab872dbcb464c63f4b6d260d5a81e9448d1e4f
Author: Adrian Cruz
Date:   Fri Jan 31 01:13:18 2014 +0000

    v0.1 - publishing seems to be working properly

I made it. I've deployed everything I need to production. It's a barebones application that functions. Any further refinements will be handled with maintenance releases.

commit 53554dffeac07a86e9d62791178ca15126877887
Author: Adrian Cruz 
Date:   Fri Jan 31 17:21:03 2014 +0000

    v0.1.1 - maintenance release - bad sql query
     - it was late, i was rushing, everything all looked the same

I'm technically off on holiday. I checked in on email though almost every half hour. I got an email about a couple of bugs. I was able to send over a solution via email for one bug. I VPN'd in and made some changes for the second.

Bullet Points

  • Being able to pivot is key
  • User feedback can sometimes get in the way
  • Quick coding is not quality coding

This is NOT The End

I have obviously got some more work to be done. The code base for a fairly well-designed system is now in place. All that remains is to make some fancy user design changes, optimizations, and of course some general code clean up!

By Adrian Cruz | Published Feb. 1, 2014, 2:29 a.m. | Permalink | tags: django, git, python