Git git git, but better

10 Oct 2017 - Tags: docker

I can’t say that Git is a new topic. Find somebody unable to explain how a version control system was working was very hard. Now it’s almost impossible.

I used SVN and Git for many years and I also put together some unusual use case for example: “Splitting Zend Framework Using the Cloud” is a project that I made with Corley SRL my previous company and the Zend Framework team.

It helped me to put my hands down on the Git file system and I discovered a lot of features and capabilities that are not the usual: commit, checkout, reset, branch, cherry-pick, rebase and so on.

But during my experience building cloud at InfluxData I need to say that I can see a change of my mindset, I am sharing this because I am kind of proud of this. It’s probably not super good looking at the time required to achieve this goals but how cares!

Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination. (Drake)

I don’t know this Drake, I am not even sure if it’s the right author of the quote but that’s not the point.

At InfluxData, just to give you more context, I am working on a sort of scheduler that provisions and orchestrate servers and containers on our cloud product. A lot of CoreOS instances, go, Docker and AWS api calls.

It’s a modest codebase in terms of size but it is keeping up a huge amount of servers, I am actively working on the code base almost by myself and I am kind of enjoying this. Nate, Goller and all the teams are supporting my approach and are using it but I am not using Git because hundreds of developers need to collaborate on the same line of code. I had some experience in that environment working as contributor in many open source project. But this time is different.

I am mainly alone on a codebase that I didn’t start and I don’t know very well, this project is running in production on a good amount of EC2.

I really love the idea of having a clean and readable Git history. I am not saying that because it’s cool. I am saying that because every time I commit my code I am thinking about which file to add/commit -a is not really an option that I use that much anymore. I think about the title and the message.

I try to avoid the WIP message and I use it only if I am sure about a future squash, rebase and if I need to push my code to ask for ideas and options (as I said I am writing code almost alone, but I am always looking for support from my great co-workers).

This has a very big value I think also as remote worker. This is my first experience in this environment and for a no-native English a good and self explanatory title can be the hardest part of the work but it will help other people to understand what I am doing.

When you are working on a new codebase and you have tasks that require refactoring to be achieved in a fancy and professional way you will find yourself moving code around without really be able to figure out when and how it will become useful to close your task and open the PR that your team lead is waiting for. At the end if you start to write code and you commit your changes at the end of the day as I was doing at the beginning after a couple of days you will figure out that your PR is too big and you are scared to merge them. And probably it’s just the PR that is preparing the codebase to get the initial requests. I hated the situation but if you think about what I wrote you will find that it’s totally wrong.

VCS is not there as saving point, you are not plaining Crash Bandicoot anymore, you don’t need to use Git as your personal “ooga booga”. The right commit contains an atomic information about a feature, bug fix or whatever.

These are the questions that I am asking myself now before to make a commit:

  • am I confident cherry-picking this commit to master? This is a good way to make your commit small and easy to merge. If one of your PR is becoming too big and you have “cherry-picked” commits you can select some of them merge them as single PR.
  • are deploy and rollback easy actions? This is similar to previous one but I am the one that deploy and monitor the service in production. I need to ask this question to myself before every merged PR.
  • Looking at the name of the branch that in my case the task in my viewfinder the commit that I am creating is about it or can I create a new PR just for this piece of code? This helps me a log to split my PR and to them small. A small PR is easier to review, it has a better scope and it makes me less scared to deploy it.

Git is more than a couple of commands that you can execute. You need to be in the right mindset to enjoy all the power.