8.2 Git and GitHub Workflow
8.2.1 Using Git
This document describes the steps required to download PEcAn, make changes to code, and submit your changes.
- If you are new to GitHub or to PEcAn, start with the one-time set-up instructions under Before any work is done. Also see the excellent tutorials and references in the Git) section right below this list and at the bootom in References.
- To make trivial changes, see [Quick and Easy].
- To make a few changes to the code, start with the [Basic Workflow].
- To make substantial changes and/or if plan to contribute over time see [Recommended Workflow: A new branch for each change].
Git is a free & open source, distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency. Every Git clone is a full-fledged repository with complete history and full revision tracking capabilities, not dependent on network access or a central server. Branching and merging are fast and easy to do.
A good place to start is the GitHub 5 minute illustrated tutorial. In addition, there are three fun tutorials for learning git:
URLs In the rest of the document will use specific URL’s to clone the code. There a few URL’s you can use to clone a project, using https, ssh and git. You can use either https or git to clone a repository and write to it. The git protocol is read-only. This document describes the steps required to download PEcAn, make changes to code, and submit your changes.
If during above process you want to work on something else, commit all your code, create a new branch, and work on new branch.
18.104.22.168 PEcAn Project and Github
- Organization Repository: https://github.com/organizations/PecanProject
- PEcAn source code: https://github.com/PecanProject/pecan.git
- BETYdb source code: https://github.com/PecanProject/bety.git
These instructions apply to other repositories too.
22.214.171.124 PEcAn Project Branches
We follow branch organization laid out on this page.
In short, there are three main branches you must be aware of:
- develop - Main Branch containing the latest code. This is the main branch you will make changes to.
- master - Branch containing the latest stable code. DO NOT MAKE CHANGES TO THIS BRANCH.
- release/vX.X.X - Named branches containing code specific to a release. Only make changes to this branch if you are fixing a bug on a release branch.
126.96.36.199 Milestones, Issues, Tasks
The Milestones, issues, and tasks can be used to organize specific features or research projects. In general, there is a heirarchy:
- milestones (Big picture, “Epic”): contains many issues, organized by release.
- issues (Specific features / bugs, “Story”): may contain a list of tasks; represent
- task list (to do list, “Tasks”): list of steps required to close an issue, e.g.:
|* [ ] first do this
|* [ ] then this
|* [ ] completed when x and y
188.8.131.52 Editing files on GitHub
The easiest approach is to use GitHub’s browser based workflow. This is useful when your change is a few lines, if you are editing a wiki, or if the edit is trivial (and won’t break the code). The GitHub documentation is here but it is simple: finding the page or file you want to edit, click “edit” and then the GitHub web application will automatically forking and branch, then allow you to submit a pull request. However, it should be noted that unless you are a member of the PEcAn project that the “edit” button will not be active and you’ll want to follow the workflow described below for forking and then submitting a pull request.
8.2.2 Recommended Git Workflow
Summary: development should occur on a fork of the main repository.
- Create Branch
- Push changes to your fork
- Create pull request from branch on your fork to develop branch on pecanproject/pecan
Each feature should be in its own branch (for example each issue is a branch, names of branches are often the issue in a bug tracking system).
Commit and Push Frequency On your branch, commit any time that you have done work that you do not want to re-do. Remember, pushing changes to your branch is like saving a draft. Submit a pull request when you are done.
184.108.40.206 Before any work is done
The first step below only needs to be done once when you first start working on the PEcAn code. The steps below that need to be done to set up PEcAn on your computer, and would need to be repeated if you move to a new computer.
All contributors should create a fork of the PEcAn source code in their own folder see github help: “fork a repo”). This forked repository will allow you to create branches and submit these changes back to GitHub using pull requests to the develop branch of PEcAn.
The pull request will start a review process that will eventually result in the code being merged into the main copy of the codebase. See https://help.github.com/articles/fork-a-repo for more information, especially on how to keep your fork up to date with respect to the original. (Rstudio users should also see Git + Rstudio, below).
You can setup SSH keys to make it easier to commit cod back to GitHub. This might especially be true if you are working from a cluster, see set up ssh keys
There is a script in the scripts folder called
scripts/syncgit.sh that will keep your fork in sync with the main pecanproject repository.
- Introduce yourself to GIT
git config --global user.name "FULLNAME"
git config --global user.email firstname.lastname@example.org
Fork PEcAn on GitHub. Go to the PEcAn source code and click on the Fork button in the upper right. This will create a copy of PEcAn in your personal space.
Clone to your local machine via command line
git clone email@example.com:<username>/pecan.git
PEcAnProject/pecanas upstream repository
git remote add upstream firstname.lastname@example.org:PecanProject/pecan.git
220.127.116.11.1 Hint: Keeping your fork in sync
If you have used the instructions above, you can use the helper script called
scripts/syncgit.sh to keep the master and develop branches of your own fork in sync with the PEcAnProject/pecan repository.
After following the above, your .git/config file will include the following:
url = email@example.com:<username>/pecan.git
fetch = +refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/origin/*
remote = origin
merge = refs/heads/develop
url = firstname.lastname@example.org:PecanProject/pecan.git
fetch = +refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/upstream/*
Then, you can run:
Now the master and develop branches on your fork will be up to date.
18.104.22.168 Using Branching
Ideally, a developer should create a new branch for each feature or bug fix
- Make sure you start in the develop branch
git checkout develop
- Make sure develop is up to date
git pull upstream develop
- Run the PEcAn MAKEFILE to compile code from the main directory.
- Create a new branch and switch to it
git checkout -b <branchname>
git add <file_that_was_changed.R>
git commit -m "<some descriptive information about what was done>"
- Make sure that code compiles and documentation updated. The make document command will run roxygenise.
- Push this branch to your github space
git push origin <branchname>
- submit pull request with [[link commits to issues|Using-Git#link-commits-to-issuess]];
- also see github documentation
22.214.171.124 After pull request is merged
- Make sure you start in master
git checkout develop`
- delete branch remotely
git push origin --delete <branchname>`
- delete branch locally
git branch -D <branchname>`
8.2.3 Useful Git tools
126.96.36.199 GitHub Desktop
The easiest way to get working with GitHub is by installing the GitHub client. For instructions for your specific OS and download of the GitHub client, see https://help.github.com/articles/set-up-git. This will help you set up an SSH key to push code back to GitHub. To check out a project you do not need to have an ssh key and you can use the https or git url to check out the code.
188.8.131.52 Git + Rstudio
Rstudio is nicely integrated with many development tools, including git and GitHub. It is quite easy to check out source code from within the Rstudio program or browser. The Rstudio documentation includes useful overviews of version control and R package development.
Once you have git installed on your computer (see the Rstudio version control documentation for instructions), you can use the following steps to install the PEcAn source code in Rstudio.
184.108.40.206 Fixing a release Branch
If you would like to make changes to a release branch, you must follow a different workflow, as the release branch will not contain the latest code on develop and must remain seperate.
- Fetch upstream remote branches
git fetch upstream
- Checkout the correct release branch
git checkout -b release/vX.Y.Z
- Compile Code with make
- Make changes and commit them
git add <changed_file.R>
git commit -m "Describe changes"
Compile and make roxygen changes
Commit and push any files that were changed by make document
Make a pull request. It is essential that you compare your pull request to the remote release branch, NOT the develop branch.
220.127.116.11 Git Documentation
- Scott Chacon, ‘Pro Git book’, http://git-scm.com/book
- GitHub help pages, https://help.github.com/
- Main GIT page http://git-scm.com/documentation
- Another set of pages about branching, http://sandofsky.com/blog/git-workflow.html
- Stackoverflow highest voted questions tagged “git”
8.2.6 GitHub use with PEcAn
In this section, development topics are introduced and discussed. PEcAn code lives within the If you are looking for an issue to work on, take a look through issues labled “good first issue”. To get started you will want to review
We use GitHub to track development.
To learn about GitHub, it is worth taking some time to read through the FAQ. When in doubt, the first step is to click the “Help” button at the top of the page.
- To address specific people, use a github feature called @mentions e.g. write @dlebauer, @robkooper, @mdietze, or @serbinsh … in the issue to alert the user as described in the GitHub documentation on notifications
18.104.22.168 Bugs, Issues, Features, etc.
22.214.171.124 Reporting a bug
- (For developers) work through debugging.
- Once you have identified a problem, that you can not resolve, you can write a bug report
- Write a bug report
- submit the bug report
- If you do find the answer, explain the resolution (in the issue) and close the issue
126.96.36.199 Required content
- a bug is only a bug if it is reproducible
- clear bug reports save time
- Clear, specific title
- Description -
- What you did
- What you expected to happen
- What actually happened
- What does work, under what conditions does it fail?
- Reproduction steps - minimum steps required to reproduce the bug
- additional materials that could help identify the cause:
- screen shots
- stack traces, logs, scripts, output
- specific code and data / settings / configuration files required to reproduce the bug
- environment (operating system, browser, hardware)
188.8.131.52 Requesting a feature
(from The Pragmatic Programmer, available as
through UI libraries, hardcopy on David’s bookshelf)
focus on “user stories”, e.g. specific use cases
Be as specific as possible,
Here is an example:
- Bob is at www.mysite.edu/maps
- map of the the region (based on user location, e.g. US, Asia, etc)
- option to “use current location” is provided, if clicked, map zooms in to, e.g. state or county level
- for site run:
- option to select existing site or specify point by lat/lon
- option to specify a bounding box and grid resolution in either lat/lon or polar stereographic.
- asked to specify start and end times in terms of year, month, day, hour, minute. Time is recorded in UTC not local time, this should be indicated.
184.108.40.206 Closing an issue
- Definition of “Done”
- when issue is resolved:
- status is changed to “resolved”
- assignee is changed to original author
- if original author agrees that issue has been resolved
- original author changes status to “closed”
- except for trivial issues, issues are only closed by the author
220.127.116.11 When to submit an issue?
Ideally, non-trivial code changes will be linked to an issue and a commit.
This requires creating issues for each task, making small commits, and referencing the issue within your commit message. Issues can be created on GitHub. These issues can be linked to commits by adding text such as
Rationale: This workflow is a small upfront investment that reduces error and time spent re-creating and debugging errors. Associating issues and commits, makes it easier to identify why a change was made, and potential bugs that could arise when the code is changed. In addition, knowing which issue you are working on clarifies the scope and objectives of your current task.