Show me your progress with your commits

Git Commit

I’m currently working in a new application. It’s an ASP.NET MVC site written with C#. We are using the following technologies: Windows Communication Foundation, Knockout, Bootstrap, PostgreSQL, and Git.

I’m working on a new feature that will require me to make changes to the UI, javascript files, add new database tables, add service methods, add unit and integration tests. In other words, I have to modify all layers in our application.

To accomplish this task, I decided to try something different. I want to show my progress with my git commits. I want to complete small tasks and then commit my changes. For this specific task, I started writing a falling integration test. This failing test forced me to create the new database tables needed. After creating the tables, I ran the tests again and this time everything was back to green. At this point, I’m ready to commit these changes. This commit is the beginning of my work and it gets me closest to the final goal. I go ahead and commit this change.

commitTableCreation

After adding the database tables, sql scripts to generate them, and some unit tests, I’m ready to start adding service methods, data contracts, etc. For this task, I follow the same technique as above. My unit tests pass and I have not broken the build so it is time for another commit. With this second commit, I’m feeling productive. I have accomplished something. I can show my progress to my boss or team members with these small commits.

On the other hand, working for a long time without committing your changes, makes me nervous. What would happen if your hard drive fails? It happens all the time. I think we all have experienced losing our work. Many times it was something other than a hardware failure. It was a human error. For example, we deleted some files that were not in source control by mistake.

That’s why I like to commit often. As long as my project builds and my unit tests pass, I’m going to commit my small changes. I know that these commits don’t fulfill a complete feature, but they take me a step closer to my finish line.

After a few commits, I have accomplished enough back-end code that I can concentrate on the UI. Here is the initial version of the UI:

ContractSurvey

It is not perfect. I know that changes are inevitable. I would say that right now I have completed 80% of the task needed to bring this work to completion. I have 20% more to go and I can see the finish line. Seeing the finish line motivates me to do my best and finish strong.

I urge developers to commit small changes and commit often. Remember that these small changes will help you accomplish your goals sooner rather than later.