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Discussion on: Write Git Commit Messages That Your Colleagues Will Love

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simeg profile image
Simon Egersand 🎈 Author

Hi! Good question!

Personally I think such information could go in the Pull Request and not in the commit. Commits should be atomic and describe, like you said, the technical changes.

Issue trackers are good for tracking the issues. By referencing a ticket in the issue tracker you are creating a dependency. Later, you might decide to change issue tracker system, and all your ticket references in Git are useless. So you should not put all information in the issue tracker.

It's a fine balance and I agree with what you said :)

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bigpresh profile image
David Precious

Your point on changing issue tracker system and losing all the info you'd referred to from your commits is a good argument in favour of making sure that the salient info is in commit messages not pull requests, though.

Imagine in a few years you decide GitHub is no longer right for you. There may be a good migration path to some other provider you choose, or there may not. As you already have your Git repo checked out, you can just push it to some other Git host, or self-host, and you've not lost any of those years of commit messages, even if the information on GitHub pull requests wasn't able to come along.

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simeg profile image
Simon Egersand 🎈 Author

This is a good point. Again, it's the question of balance. Should you put all the context everywhere? Probably not. For various reasons. Should you put enough context in a commit for it to make sense? Yeah, probably.

Changing systems is always a risk that we have to live with. And hope that if/when we migrate we can migrate all data :D

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tandrieu profile image
Thibaut Andrieu

Regarding changing issue tracker, I went through (bugzilla ?)->Elementool->Redmine->Jira->Another Jira.
I think Bugzilla database has been lost as I never saw it but I've heard talking about Bugzilla in coffee long long time ago.
If I remember well, Elementool database has been ported to Redmine with some "one shot script". Elementool Ticket number was written in a Redmine custom field, so we can make the link between commit message and ticket. In commit message, Elementool issues was with the form "#1234". So we use the convention "RM1234" for new Redmine ticket. It was easy to know where the ticket came from.

For first Jira migration, Redmine was an on premise server. So for our team we kept it alive in read only access, create new ticket on Jira and that's it. It was a mess for a few weeks, time for WIP ticket to be closed, but not that an issue.
Some other teams have duplicated their Redmine database to the Jira instance, which was the worst idea ever as their brand-new Jira instance has been flooded with thousands of useless legacy tickets and years of custom fields entropy...
Migration from Jira1 to Jira2 was quite smooth, as it was Jira propose an import system.

Looking back, having a database migration once every few year is not really an issue compare to every day constrains on commit message. Steps to reproduces HAVE to be in ticket anyway, because it is the interface between customer, hotline and developers, so better keep it in a single place than duplicating the information both in ticket and in commit message.