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Ernesto Herrera Salinas
Ernesto Herrera Salinas

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Crafting Commit Messages with Commitizen: A Guide for Open Source Contributors

Commit messages play a crucial role in open source projects, serving as a historical record of changes and assisting project maintainers in understanding contributions. The Commitizen tool elevates this process by standardizing commit message formats.

The Importance of Good Commit Messages

As highlighted in this freeCodeCamp article, effective commit messages aid maintainers and contributors in navigating the project's history. They provide clarity about changes, making the project more accessible and manageable.

What is Commitizen?

Commitizen is a command-line tool designed to streamline the process of writing conventional commit messages. It enforces a standardized format, ensuring consistency across contributions.

How Commitizen Works

Standardization: Commitizen prompts contributors to fill out various parts of the commit message, such as the type of change (feature, bug fix, documentation), a short description, and an optional detailed body.
Integration with Conventional Commits: The tool aligns with the Conventional Commits specification, which is widely adopted in the open source community.

Benefits of Using Commitizen

  • Consistency: Ensures that all commit messages follow a uniform structure.
  • Clarity: Makes commit messages more informative and easier to understand.
  • Efficiency: Streamlines the process of writing detailed commit messages.

Getting Started with Commitizen

Let's take a look on how to install and configure this tool.


Before installing Commitizen, ensure you have the following:

  • Node.js: Commitizen is a Node.js module. Make sure you have Node.js installed on your system. You can download it from Node.js official website.
  • npm (Node Package Manager): It usually comes with Node.js, but you can check its installation by running npm -v in your terminal.

Step-by-Step Installation

1. Install Commitizen Globally

To install Commitizen globally on your machine, open your terminal (Command Prompt, PowerShell, Terminal, etc.) and run the following command:

npm install -g commitizen
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This command installs Commitizen so that it can be used in any of your projects.

2. Initialize Your Project

Navigate to your project's root directory in your terminal. If your project isn’t already initialized as a git repository, do so by running:

git init
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3. Install a Commitizen Adapter

Commitizen works with adapters that determine the format of your commit messages. One popular adapter is cz-conventional-changelog. To install it, run:

npm install --save-dev cz-conventional-changelog
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This command installs the adapter as a development dependency in your project.

4. Configure Commitizen

After installing an adapter, you need to configure your project to use it. There are a few ways to do this, but a common method is adding a configuration block to your package.json file:

In your package.json, add:

"config": {
  "commitizen": {
    "path": "./node_modules/cz-conventional-changelog"
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5. Using Commitizen

Now that Commitizen is installed and configured, instead of running git commit, you'll use:

git cz
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This command will launch Commitizen’s interactive CLI that guides you through creating a formatted commit message.

Optional: Global Configuration

If you prefer not to modify each project’s package.json, you can configure Commitizen globally. Install a global adapter and use the commitizen command to set it as the default for all your repositories.


Emphasizing the importance of clear and consistent commit messages, Commitizen stands as an invaluable tool for open source contributors. By adopting it, projects can maintain a clean, informative commit history, beneficial for both current contributors and future maintainers.

For more details on the importance of effective commit messages, refer to the freeCodeCamp article. To learn more about Commitizen, visit the official Commitizen documentation.

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