Feature Development Workflow

Feature Development Workflow#

Currently most of our release development flow is made under the latest pre/* branch under the main frontend tidy3d repository. You want to fork from this latest branch to develop your feature in order for it to be included under that release.

We are using a variation of the gitflow workflow - so this is the first thing to familiarize yourselves with. The splitting of branches into main, develop and separate feature branches is as explained there. Most importantly, all contributions should happen through a PR from a feature branch into the develop branch.

The extra step that we have in our workflow is to always rebase and merge instead of simply merge branches. This has the advantage of avoiding a mess of crossing paths and keeps the history clean, but it does require a little more work. As an extra advantage, once you get the hang of rebasing it also becomes a very useful tool to prune your commits and write more meaningful commit messages when you’re done with the work. The main purpose of this page is to give an example of the workflow. For more information on the difference between rebasing vs merging, see this article.

The first thing to do when starting a new batch of work is to start from a clean branch on your machine.

 # from the main tidy3d frontend repo
git checkout develop
git pull origin develop
git checkout -b my_name/new_feature

Create your feature rebase#

Before rebasing, you should make sure you have the latest version of develop, in case other work has been merged meanwhile.

git checkout develop
git pull origin develop
git checkout my_name/new_feature
git rebase -i develop

This will now open an editor that will allow you to edit the commits in the feature branch. There is plenty of explanations of the various things you can do.

Most probably, you just want to squash some of your commits. The first commit cannot be squashed - later commits get squashed into previous commits.

Once you save the file and close it, a new file will open giving you a chance to edit the commit message of the new, squashed commit, to your liking. Once you save that file too and close it, the rebasing should happen.

NB: The rebase may not work if there were conflicts with current develop. Ideally we should avoid that by making sure that two people are never working on the same part of the code. When it happens, you can try to resolve the conflicts, or git rebase --abort if you want to take a step back and think about it.

Finally, you now need to force push your branch to origin, since the rebasing has changed its history.

git push -f origin my_name/new_feature

Submitting to PR#

After this, you can notify Momchil that the branch is ready to to be merged. In the comment you can optionally also say things like “Fixes #34”. This will then automatically link that PR to the particular issue, and automatically close the issue.

This can be repeated as often as needed. In the end, you may end up with a number of commits. We don’t enforce a single commit per feature, but it makes the most sense if the feature is small. If the feature is big and contains multiple meaningful commits, that is OK. In any case, rebasing allows you to clean everything up.

NB: Only do this once you feel like you are fully done with that feature, i.e. all PR comments have been addressed, etc. This is not critical, but is nicer to only rebase in the end so as not to muddle up the PR discussion when you force push the new branch (see below).