Just 3 little words

On my previous project, we had just a bang-up bunch of guys on the team. Everyone was smart, thoughtful, and worked well together: it was ideal. Since there was no revision control system in place when we arrived for the project, we decided to use Subversion. Since I had championed Subversion, I became both the Subversion system and repository administrator.

After a few months, and few thousand commits (a lot of them without any commit messages) I decided to add a commit hook script to prevent commits without comments. To be fair, I figured that no one would mind being required to write commit messages that were as long as they had already been writing, so I wrote a script to get the mean number of words in the commit messages (to date) that were not empty. The average was 7.

7 is a good number, at least enough to convey the “why” with enough brevity to make the RCS helpful. That said, I figured I would be even more accommodating of the users and require only a mere 3 words in every commit message. I made the change, tested it out, and deployed it to the Subversion server.

Eager to view the informative commit messages that would surely result from this new “feature”, the next day I took at look at the first commit message that followed the change:

“#!@& YOU GRANT”

Thanks guys, you gave me my favorite Subversion story.


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