I work in a small company, where I used to be the only developer. We recently welcomed a few other people on the team, and started thinking about how to organize development efforts.

I am pretty much a novice in terms of code management, as this is my first job out of college. As part of a test, I tried working using pull requests last week (we use GitLab). It made discussing code changes related to a single feature much easier, and I'd love to continue using them.

However, we found that there were tons of little improvements that by themselves didn't look worth a pull request. Typos, small comments, very small bug fixes, sometimes completely unrelated things we just noticed as we were implementing the large features.

How are those cases generally handled?

  • Should we add "fix" commits directly on our dev branch?
  • Should we create and merge a PR with just one small fix?
  • Should we group a bunch of those commits into one big "misc fixes" PR?
  • (Added) Should we allow small commits at the beginning of each PR?
  • Any other option?

I like grouping code cleanup into a single commit and then going from there. Make sure you apply the code cleanup PR before dealing with the other ones -- you'll reduce your headaches.

  • Thanks! Would you make a separate PR for the cleanup commit(s), or include them at the beginning of the PR you're working on? – F.X. Jan 19 '15 at 21:58
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    @F.X. In general, prefer many small commits and pull requests over large ones that do a number of different things. This makes them much easier to review, makes it easier to determine where and when (and by whom) a problem was introduced, and simplifies merging of the changes (less large conflicts!). It does make sense to group small cleanup actions into a single commit, but if it's a noticeable improvement, it should be offered to others as a PR immediately. – amon Jan 19 '15 at 22:25
  • So, looking from some clarification here from @MarkAHershberger - you're stating code cleanup as a single commit. In my book, code cleanup is not equal to bug fix - so typos and comments would be in, bug fixes would be out. Is that what you're meaning here too? – J Trana Jan 20 '15 at 4:04
  • Right, typos in comments and whitespace changes (e.g converting tabs to spaces or vice versa) are should be grouped together away from the actual bug fix. – Mark A. Hershberger Apr 4 '15 at 22:32
  • Just noticed I never actually accepted your answer. 2 years later, this is pretty much what I ended up doing, so your advice was spot on! Thanks! – F.X. Mar 3 '17 at 20:58

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