How to Write Effective Commit Messages: A Hilarious Guide

You're familiar with the saying Don't dwell on the past or you'll miss the future? Well, when it comes to coding and using Git, that's not necessarily true. Your commit history is crucial for the future of the open source projects you contribute to, and it holds significant importance.

Writing Appreciated Commit Messages for Project Maintainers

You know that saying “If you keep looking at the past, you’ll miss the future”? Well, forget it! When it comes to coding and working with Git, your commit history is essential for the future of open source projects. And commit messages are the key to making it all possible.

So, what are commit messages, you ask? They’re like little explanatory notes that describe the changes you made to the codebase. They’re super helpful when bugs pop up or when you need to reacquaint yourself with a long-neglected project you once contributed to.

Don’t worry if this seems intimidating. In this quick guide, we’ll walk you through the art of writing effective commit messages—without making your brain spin!

What Makes a Bad Commit Message?

Before we dive into writing good commit messages, let’s learn from our mistakes and take a look at what makes a poor one. Here’s an example:

mention information

Sure, this commit message states what the change is, but it leaves maintainers feeling as lost as a squirrel in a maze. It doesn’t explain why the change was made or what kind of information was mentioned. It’s like receiving an invitation to a party without the essential details.

But don’t fret! We’ll show you how to turn a bad commit message into something maintainers can understand.

Characteristics of a Good Commit Message

Now that we’ve seen an example of a vague commit message, let’s fix it up and make it shine. Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1 – Mention the type

Start by specifying the type of change you’re making to the codebase. It’s like giving your commit a persona for maintainers and other contributors to relate to. For example:

feat: mention information

In this case, we used the abbreviation feat because we added some exciting new text. But there are more types to choose from! Here are a few common ones:

  • docs: For revisions or updates to the project’s documentation. Because, hey, everyone loves good docs!
  • fix: When you’re squashing bugs or fixing small typos. Nobody likes bugs crawling around their code!
  • chore: This one’s for contributions that require more time and effort. It’s like climbing a mountain—long, hard, and rewarding!

Step 2 – Summarize the change

Now that you’ve determined the type, give an overview of the change and how you made it happen. It’s like highlighting the juiciest bits of a story while keeping it within a Twitter character limit. For example:

feat: mentioning Christine Peterson in the course's intro

Voilà! This version of the sample commit tells maintainers the exact type of information added and where it fits within the project. It’s like serving them a delicious meal with all the necessary ingredients!

Optional Step – Add a description

If you’re feeling generous, you can provide a brief description of the change to give maintainers a deeper understanding of your brilliant contribution. It’s like adding sprinkles on top of an already scrumptious cake. For example:

I decided to add this information so participants can get accurate details.

By describing why you made the change, you’re giving maintainers a peek into your thought process and how your contribution enhances the project.

Now let’s bring it all together!

feat: mentioning Christine Peterson in the course's intro
I decided to add this information so participants can get accurate details.

Compared to the original example, this commit message is a major improvement because it:

  • Specifies the type of commit
  • Describes how the contribution enhances the project
  • Summarizes the change

High five! You’ve nailed the art of writing effective commit messages!

Wrapping Up

Whether you’re a coding newbie or a seasoned pro, writing great commit messages is crucial for communicating your contributions to maintainers. But if you want to level up your commit game, check out Conventional Commits. They’ll take you on a wild ride of commit message awesomeness!

And hey, why not follow me on BioDrop? There you can find more great technical articles and sneak peeks into my quirky life.

Now go forth and commit your code to new heights—literally! And don’t forget to inject a bit of humor and personality into those commit messages. Because coding can be serious, but it’s also a whole lot of fun!


Let us know in the comments below what you think about commit messages. Are they the salt and pepper of coding, or just another puzzle to solve? We’d love to hear your thoughts! 😄

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *