It is strongly recommended that students who want to apply to the Git project for the Summer of Code 2015 submit a small code-related patch to the Git project as part of their application. Think of these microprojects as the “Hello, world” of getting involved with the Git project; the coding aspect of the change can be almost trivial, but to make the change the student has to become familiar with many of the practical aspects of working on the Git project.
NOTE: Students who plan to work on libgit2, which is also under the Git umbrella in the Google Summer of Code, should refer to the libgit2 list of projects rather than the list below.
Consider a sample email thread, which shows how a developer proposed a change and a patch to implement it. The problem being solved, the design of the proposed solution, and the implementation of that design were all reviewed and discussed, and after several iterations an improved version of the patch was accepted into our codebase. As a GSoC student, you will be playing the role of the developer and engaging in a similar discussion. Get familar with the flow, need for clarity on both sides (i.e. you need to clearly defend your design, and need to ask clarifications when questions/suggestions you are offered are not clear enough), the pace at which the discussion takes place, and the general tone of the discussion, to learn what is expected of you.
To complete a microproject, you will have to go through approximately the following steps:
Download the source code: clone the repository using the Git via
Git instructions and read the
Build the source code: this is described in the file
Glance over our coding guidelines in the file
Documentation/CodingGuidelines. We take things like proper code
formatting very seriously.
Read about the process for submitting patches to Git: this is
Make the actual change. (Funny, this is the only part they teach you about in college.)
Run the test suite and make sure it passes 100%: this is described
in the file
t/README. (If you have added new functionality, you
should also add new tests, but most microprojects will not add new
Commit your change. Surprise: we use Git for that, so you will need
to gain at least
a basic familiarity with using
Git. Make sure to write a good commit message that explains the
reason for the change and any ramifications. Remember to make sure
that you agree with our “Developer’s Certificate of Origin” (whose
text is contained in
Documentation/SubmittingPatches), and to
signify your agreement by adding a
Submit your change to the Git mailing list. For this step you
probably want to use the commands
git format-patch and
send-email. Make sure that your email is formatted correctly: send
a test version of the email to yourself and see if you can apply it
to your repository using
Expect feedback, criticism, suggestions, etc. from the mailing list.
Respond to it! and follow up with improved versions of your change. Even for a trivial patch you shouldn’t be surprised if it takes two or more iterations before your patch is accepted. This is the best part of participating in the Git community; it is your chance to get personalized instruction from very experienced peers!
The coding part of the microproject should be very small (say, 10-30 minutes). We don’t require that your patch be accepted into master by the time of your formal application; we mostly want to see that you have a basic level of competence and especially the ability to interact with the other Git developers.
When you submit your patch, please mention that you plan to apply for the GSoC. This will ensure that we take special care not to overlook your application among the large pile of others.
Students: Please attempt only ONE microproject. We want quality, not quantity! (Also, it takes work to collect the ideas, and it would be nice to have enough microprojects for everybody.) If you’ve already done a microproject and are itching to do more, then get involved in other ways, like finding and fixing other problems in the code, or improving the documentation or code comments, or helping to review other people’s patches on the mailing list, or answering questions on the mailing list or in IRC, or writing new tests, etc., etc. In short, start doing things that other Git developers do!
The following are just ideas. Any small code-related change would be suitable. Just remember to keep the change small! It is much better for you to finish a small but complete change than to try something too ambitious and not get it done.
Instead, make it just like “cd ‘’”, which is a no-op that silently succeeds. Cf. $gmane/258109
Pick one command that operates on branch names. Teach it the “-“ shorthand that stands for “the branch we were previously on”, like we did for “git merge -“ sometime after we introduced “git checkout -“. Cf. $gmane/230828
Pick one field of a structure that (1) is of signed integral type and (2) is used as a collection of multiple bits. Discuss if there is a good reason why it has to be a signed integral field and change it to an unsigned type otherwise. Cf. $gmane/263751
“git diff –no-index $directory $directory/$file” is obviously what the user wanted.
Because –graph is about connected history while –no-walk is about discrete points. Cf. $gmane/216083
Most of git dotfiles can be located, at the user’s option, in
Each of these files can be a microproject of its own. The suggested approach is:
See how XDG was implemented for other files (run “git log –grep XDG” in Git’s source code) and read the XDG specification.
Implement and test the new behavior, without breaking compatibility with the old behavior.
Update the documentation
Even though the amount of code to write is small, these projects involve a lot of prior work to understand the specification and deal with all potential corner-cases.
Some people always run the command with these options, and would prefer to be able to activate them by default in ~/.gitconfig.
“git diff” shows the function name corresponding to each hunk after the @@ … @@ line. For common languages (C, HTML, Ada, Matlab, …), the way to find the function name is built-in Git’s source code as regular expressions (see userdiff.c). A few languages are common enough to deserve a built-in driver, but are not yet recognized. For example, CSS, shell.
This project requires a very good knowledge of regular expressions.