Committing policies

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Create a bug report, feature request or GEP

  • It is good practice for every change to have a bug report, feature request or GEP(Gramps Enhancement Proposal).
  • Fixing a bug in an existing bug report is a good way to start Gramps development.

Discuss the change on the mailing list

  • Allows all developers to reach a consensus on a good design that conforms to our developer policies.
  • Important for new features and changes to the user interface.
  • Not necessary for small changes or when the has been sufficient discussion in the bug report.
  • Agreeing a design before coding could prevent wasted coding effort.
  • If the change is large you may be asked to write a GEP.

Code the change

  • Assign the bug report or feature request to yourself.
  • Add the change to the roadmap if appropriate.
  • Create a GEP branch for large changes.

Create a pull request

  • Unless it’s a trivial change create a PR to get your code reviewed.
  • Add a link to the PR in the bug tracker. Use p:gramps:nnn: where nnn is the PR number.
  • Regularly rebase your PR onto the upstream branch. Do not merge branches into your PR.


  • Only new features should be committed to the master branch.
  • Only bug fixes should be committed to maintenance branches.
  • The current maintenance branch should be merged regularly into the master branch.
  • Translations may be committed to the gramps51 branch. Later versions use Weblate, and po files should not be modified directly.


  • Most changes should be squashed and fast-forwarded.
  • Major new features should be merged no-ff to maintain their development identity.
  • This applies both to pull requests and to work by developers with write permission to the repository.

Pull requests

  • Pull requests must be code-reviewed and tested by a developer.
  • PR authors should not be assumed to be Git experts, so it's up to the Gramps developer doing the merge to ensure that the PR is clean and won’t make a mess of history.
  • The GitHub "Squash and merge" button can be used for most small changes.
  • A no-ff merge outside of GitHub should be used when it is useful to keep the commit history.
  • Bug fixes must be committed to the current stable branch.
  • Only new features should be committed to master directly.

Log messages

Every commit to Git must be accompanied by a log message. These messages will be generated into a ChangeLog when a release is made and should conform to the following guidelines:


  • The first line of the commit message should consist of a short summary of the change.
  • Maximum 70 characters.


  • The description should be separated from the summary by a single blank line.
  • Attempt to describe how the change affects the functionality from the user's perspective.
  • Use complete sentences when possible.
  • It is not necessary to describe minute details about the change nor the files that are affected because that information is already stored by Git and can be viewed with "git diff".
  • When committing contributed code, the author should be credited using the --author option.
  • If you want to refer to another commit, use the full commit hash. It will automatically be converted into a hyperlink by the GitHub web interface. Note: a 6 hexa digit hash enclosed in brackets WILL NOT WORK with GitHub auto-hyperlinking :-(

Bug tracker integration

Special keywords can be used to either link to, or resolve, bug reports. They should be separated from the description by a single blank line.

To resolve a bug or bugs use:

  • Fixes #12345
  • Fixed #12345
  • Resolves #12345
  • Resolved #12345
  • Fixes #12345, #67890
  • Fixed #12345, #67890
  • Resolves #12345, #67890
  • Resolved #12345, #67890

To link to a bug or bugs use:

  • Bug #12345
  • Issue #12345
  • Report #12345
  • Bugs #12345, #67890
  • Issues #12345, #67890
  • Reports #12345, #67890

For this to work, either the author or committer will need to be a developer on the Mantis bug tracker. The Git name must match either the Mantis username or real name, or the Git email must match the Mantis email.

Useful commands

You can see the last changes with the git log command, an example usage of this command:

git log --oneline

You can also limit the number of entries shown by passing in the -n flag to git. Add --stat to see the files affected by the commit:

git log -5

To credit the contributor of a patch, use:

git commit --author='A U Thor <[email protected]>'

Adding new files

All the files with the translatable strings must be listed in the po/ or po/POTFILES.skip files. This means that most new files must have their names added to these files.

Please remember to do this for new files that you add to Git.


You can make a test on a local copy:

PYTHONPATH=../../gramps python po/test/

where ../.. is the path to your local copy

Removing files

Remember to remove references to the file from the po/ and po/POTFILES.skip files.

See also