Commit Message Format Policy

Commit Message Format Policy

Commit messages must begin with a brief subject line. The subject line limit is 72 characters. If there is a body message, it must be separated from the subject line by a blank line and wrapped at 75 characters.

The body of a commit message should explain what the commit does and why. Do not explain how the changes work as the code itself should do that.

Linking a Commit to an Issue

If your commit fixes an issue that has been reported in the issue tracker, add a blank line after the subject line or message body and add a line indicating the fixed issue number to your commit message. In such cases, GitLab will automatically close the issue and add a link to the commit in the issue.

For example, the following line will automatically close issue #1234567:


There is an alias to simplify this step. Read more about automatic issue closing in the GitLab documentation.

Changelog Tags

To facilitate following the code changes, include a changelog tag to indicate modifications noticeable by the users. There are three types of changelog tags:

  • ADDED to denote a new feature.

  • CHANGED to indicate a modification of an existing feature.

  • REMOVED to inform about removal of an existing feature.

There is no need to add changelog tags for commits that do not modify the way the users interact with the software, such as code refactoring or a bug fix for unexpected behavior. The purpose of the changelog tags is to generate release notes and notify the documentation maintainers about changes.

Making the Documentation Developers Aware of Changes

When a commit with changelog tag is pushed, the committer should create a new issue in the documentation repository to notify the documentation maintainers. Include a link to the commit containing the reported changes.

Extracting Changelogs

Thanks to the changelog tags, it is easy to extract the changelog using git commands:

    git log -E --grep="ADD[ED]?:|REMOVE[D]?:|CHANGE[D]?:" --since="1 Jan 2017"
    git log -E --grep="ADD[ED]?:|REMOVE[D]?:|CHANGE[D]?:" <commit hash>

KiCad provides an alias to shorten the changelog extraction commands.


Following is an example of a properly formatted commit message:

    Eeschema: Adding line styling options

    ADDED: Add support in Eeschema for changing the default line style,
    width and color on a case-by-case basis.

    CHANGED: "Wire" lines now optionally include data on the line style,
    width and color if they differ from the default.


Git Aliases File

There is a file containing helpful git aliases located at tools/git/fixes_alias. To install it, run in the source repository:

    git config --add include.path $(pwd)/tools/git/fixes_alias

'fixes' Alias

Once the alias configuration file is installed, it may be used to amend the most recent commit to include the bug report link:

git fixes 1234567

For example, the command below will append a line to the last commit message:


'changelog' Alias

With the alias configuration file installed, changelogs can be extracted by running the following:

    git changelog --since="1 Jan 2017"
    git changelog <commit hash>