The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Imagination Technologies's MIPS group, in the past of other companies such as Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Rewriting history can be good (esp checkin messages)

It can be good to be able to rewrite history.

Or at least checkin messages - or, rather the text associated with a version.

Checkin messages are really what was entered at checkin time.  But if these are rewritten, may warrant a different name.

Writing good checkin messages can be hard.  Sometimes I hesitate to merge my changes because it will take too much time to write a good message - especially given our local rule of having a branch merge summarize all changes on the branch.  But slow to integrate is bad.   Or I write a sub-par checkin message.  But that is also bad.

Better to merge, integrate asap, with whatever you can say at that time.  And, if necessary, go back and rewrite the messages to improve them.

It's like refactoring.

1 comment:

Andy Glew said...

Rewriting history, e.g. to disentangle independent changes made on same branch - is similarly like refactoring.

Basically, the VCS history is a tool. Just like the code. It also needs refactoring.

However, while I want to be able to rewrite history, refactor history, to help work going forward, I also want to be able to preserve the raw history.

History itself should be versioned

I have said that too many times already. Still trying to work out exactly what it means.