Guidelines for formatting of git commits

While there is no true correct way on how to submit new commits for code review for GROMACS, following these guidelines will help the review process go smoothly.

General rules for newly submitted code

New code should follow the other style rules outlined above before submitting. This will make it less likely that your change will be rejected due to that. If your change modifies some existing code that does not yet conform to the style, then a preliminary patch that cleans up the surrounding area is a good idea. We like to slowly improve the quality while we add or change functionality.

Guidelines for git commit messages

Commit messages should contain a quick explanation in verb form on what has been changed or what has been the purpose of the change. If available, the final part of the message before the ChangeId should be a short section like Fixes #redmine-id to link the change to a possibly previously posted issue, or Refs #redmine-id if the present patch is somehow related to that work without necessarily fixing the whole issue.

Concerning inline code comments

New code should be sufficiently commented so that other people will be able to understand the purpose of the code, and less about the current operation. Preferably the variable naming and code structure clarify the mechanics, and comments should only refer to higher-level things, such as choice of algorithm, or the desire to be consistent with some other part of the code.

For example, the following comment would be insufficient to explain the (made up example) of iteration over a list of interactions:

/* Code takes each item and iterates over them in a loop
 * to store them.

A much better example would be explaining why the iteration takes place:

/* We iterate over the items in the list to get
 * the specific interaction type for all of them
 * and store them in the new data type for future
 * use in function foo

From the second example, someone debugging might be able to deduce better if an error observed in foo is actually caused by the previous assignment.