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Lack of tooling slowing down contributions

From: Damien Cassou
Subject: Lack of tooling slowing down contributions
Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2019 09:38:00 +0200


I've submitted several patches to Emacs.  Because I don't do it very
often, I tend to forget the details in CONTRIBUTE.  Because I'm lazy,
I'm not reading CONTRIBUTE before each new contribution.  As a result,
my patches are not good enough and reviewers have to spend time telling
me how to do things.  I don't think reviewers should spend their
valuable time checking for details that can be checked by a machine.

These checks could be done either (by order of preference):

1. on the contributor's Emacs instance while s·he writes (e.g., flymake
   on .texi files and commit messages);

2. on the contributor's system before s·he sends the patches (e.g.,
   ./check_patches.sh *.patch);

3. on a continuous integration server that would automatically answer by
   email on thread with patches, listing the problems.

Here is a list of checks that could probably be automatized, saving time
for reviewers and contributors:

- the commit message format (e.g., dots after every sentence,
  double-space after dots, no indentation, line length, the
  Copyright-paperwork-exempt token, every single change is documented,
  no colon if another function of the same file has the same comment…)

- NEWS format (e.g., there is always either a '+++' or a '---', the
  first sentence stops at the first line, double space after dots, …)

- the .texi format (e.g., double space after dots…)

- the elisp format (e.g., a :version property on new defcustoms, all
  arguments are listed on the first docstring line…)

It would also be nice that tooling within Emacs helps contributors get
their contributions right. For example, I would expect M-q to add the
double-spacing at the end of sentences.

BTW, can you please C.C. me if you answer this message because I'm not
subscribed to the mailing list?

Thanks for reading and sorry for the length of this email.

Damien Cassou

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another without
losing enthusiasm." --Winston Churchill

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