A commit summary, also known as a commit message or commit log message, is a brief description that explains the changes made in a software project when committing code changes to a version control system, such as Git. When a developer makes changes to the codebase, they create a commit to save those changes with a corresponding commit summary.
The commit summary serves as a concise and informative message that helps other developers and team members understand the purpose and content of the code changes. It provides context and a high-level overview of the modifications introduced in the commit.
A good commit summary typically includes the following elements:
Summary of Changes: A brief, one-line description of the changes made in the commit. It should be clear and descriptive, summarizing the main purpose of the commit.
Issue or Ticket References: If the changes are related to a specific issue, bug report, or task from a project management system (e.g., JIRA, GitHub issues), including a reference number in the commit summary can help track the changes back to the corresponding task.
Commit Type Prefix: Some projects adopt a convention where the commit summary starts with a commit type prefix. Common prefixes include “feat” for new features, “fix” for bug fixes, “docs” for documentation updates, “chore” for maintenance tasks, and “refactor” for code refactoring.
Here are some examples of commit summaries:
“Fixes the null pointer exception occurring during user login. Resolves issue #123 by handling the null value appropriately”
“Feat: Implemented new user registration flow.”
“Docs: Updated README with installation instructions.”
Writing clear and informative commit summaries is essential for maintaining a clean and understandable version history of a software project. It helps developers and project contributors quickly grasp the changes introduced in each commit and improves collaboration within the development team.