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Communicate important updates to your team via git commit messages

Sometimes you need to communicate changes to other developers on your project. In a small team, a Slack message works okay, but in larger teams and distributed organizations (such as open source projects), reaching everyone can be a pain.

Logging this because it’s an interesting idea, but I’m not sure if it’s a good idea. Is this a good idea?

Communicate important updates to your team via git commit messages

Jonas Lundberg

We need to talk about your commit messges

Jonas Lundberg:

We all do it. Up to many times a day and yet it’s rare that I meet someone that has given it a second thought. No, it’s not secretly snacking chocolate from your top office drawer.

It’s how you write and structure your commits. Possibly while snacking chocolate.

What follows is a piece marrying atomic commits (as in small commits with one focus) with Donald Knuth’s literate programming. It ends with some research on whether or not this practice commonplace on the 100 most popular GitHub repos.

Patrick DeVivo

Try AskGit SQL in your browser

Remember Patrick DeVivo’s super cool AskGit project where you can query your git repo’s history with SQL? Well, now you can kick the tires without installing a thing by using AskGit’s new web interface!

Here’s an example query where we learn that I do most of my coding (or committing, at least) on Mondays and Tuesdays while Adam and Gerhard lean towards Friday.

Patrick DeVivo

Identifying code churn with AskGit SQL

In which I detail A SQL query that helps you identify files in a codebase that have “churned” in the past year. In other words, list the files that have been changed by the most number of commits in the last year.

SELECT file,
FROM   stats
       JOIN commits
         ON stats.commit_id =
WHERE  commits.author_when > DATE('now', '-12 month')
       AND commits.parent_count < 2 -- ignore merge commits
GROUP  BY file

Daniel Stenberg

This is how I git

Daniel Stenberg:

Every now and then I get questions on how to work with git in a smooth way when developing, bug-fixing or extending curl – or how I do it. After all, I work on open source full time which means I have very frequent interactions with git (and GitHub). Simply put, I work with git all day long. Ordinary days, I issue git commands several hundred times.

I have a very simple approach and way of working with git in curl. This is how it works.

GitHub Blog Icon GitHub Blog

"Set the default branch name" feature has landed on GitHub

Following Git 2.28’s highly sought after ability to configure init.defaultBranch comes GitHub’s support at the platform level.

You can now set the default branch name for newly-created repositories under your username. This setting does not impact any of your existing repositories. Existing repositories will continue to have the same default branch they have now.

But even if you do nothing…

On October 1, 2020, if you haven’t changed the default branch for new repositories for your user, organization, or enterprise, it will automatically change from master to main.


A pure Rust implementation of Git with a CLI

gix is a command-line interface (CLI) to access git repositories. It’s written to optimize the
user-experience, and perform as good or better than the canonical implementation.

Furthermore it provides an easy and safe to use API in the form of various small crates for implementing your own tools in a breeze.

The author describes this as “idiomatic, modern, lean, fast, safe, & pure” but that was too many superlatives to put in the headline. It does look nice, though. I dig the libraries + CLI that leverages them approach. Demo video on Asciinema.

Patrick DeVivo

AskGit - query your git repo with SQL

Built in Go, askgit is an open source CLI and coming soon web interface (linked above). With this tool in your toolbox, you can mine your repo for info like commit count by author on each day of the week:

    count(*) AS commits,
    count(CASE WHEN strftime('%w',author_when)='0' THEN 1 END) AS sunday,
    count(CASE WHEN strftime('%w',author_when)='1' THEN 1 END) AS monday,
    count(CASE WHEN strftime('%w',author_when)='2' THEN 1 END) AS tuesday,
    count(CASE WHEN strftime('%w',author_when)='3' THEN 1 END) AS wednesday,
    count(CASE WHEN strftime('%w',author_when)='4' THEN 1 END) AS thursday,
    count(CASE WHEN strftime('%w',author_when)='5' THEN 1 END) AS friday,
    count(CASE WHEN strftime('%w',author_when)='6' THEN 1 END) AS saturday,
FROM commits GROUP BY author_email ORDER BY commits

Taylor Blau GitHub Blog

Git 2.28 brings `init.defaultBranch`

Leading off the updates for Git 2.28 is the highly sought after ability to configure init.defaultBranch so folks can move from master to main as their default branch name.

From Taylor Blau on the GitHub blog:

When you initialize a new Git repository from scratch with git init, Git has always created an initial first branch with the name master. In Git 2.28, a new configuration option, init.defaultBranch is being introduced to replace the hard-coded term. (For more background on this change, this statement from the Software Freedom Conservancy is an excellent place to look).

Starting in Git 2.28, git init will instead look to the value of init.defaultBranch when creating the first branch in a new repository. If that value is unset, init.defaultBranch defaults to master

Also check out github/renaming to learn more about the complementary changes GitHub is making. GitLab and Bitbucket are making similar changes.

Git 2.28 brings `init.defaultBranch`

Patrick DeVivo

Using SQL to query git repos

gitqlite is a tool for running SQL queries on git repositories. It implements SQLite virtual tables and uses go-git. It’s meant for ad-hoc querying of git repositories on disk through a common interface (SQL), as an alternative to patching together various shell commands.

Mine your repo’s history for goodies. Here’s how to get commit count by author email:

SELECT author_email, count(*) FROM commits GROUP BY author_email ORDER BY count(*) DESC

Kabir Nazir

How to write good Git commit messages

From Kabir Nazir on the AltCampus blog:

One of the things a lot of newbie developers overlook often is the format of their commit messages. Properly formatted commit messages can do so much more than just looking neat…

Use the imperative mood(present tense) when framing messages … Think of each commit in your code as a change that is being applied to your codebase.

Patrick DeVivo

Identify the most relevant git contributors based on commit recency, frequency, and impact

gitpert measures the “pertinence” of git authors as a time-decayed measure of LOC added and removed to a repository (or a set of files in a repository). It’s meant to help identify who the most relevant contributors are based on commit recency, frequency and impact.

Cool tool, as long as we don’t forget about non-code contributors.

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