Gatekeeping: Guide for developer

Updated . Posted . Visible to the public. Repeats.

Note: This process is tailored to our specific needs and tools at makandra Show snapshot . While it will certainly not apply to all (especially larger teams), we think it is a helpful starting point. Compare also the Gatekeeping: Guide for gatekeeper card.

In order to reduce the number of rejects we get from clients, we want to review all code written before it goes to the staging server.

If your project manager wants to do gatekeeping on a project, as a developer you need to follow the following guidelines (e.g. by using something like this issue checklist template).

Role of the main/master branch

You're generally not allowed to commit anything directly to main, except if you're asked to, or if you're fixing a reject from our client.

Starting a new feature

If you start a new feature, you need to:

  • Set the issue to "Started: In Progress" in Linear

  • Pull the most current main branch

  • Copy the branch name from Linear (keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-.).

  • Branch off the main with:

    git checkout main
    git checkout -b $PASTE_BRANCH_NAME_HERE

If your feature depends on another feature branch that is not yet in the main, branch off that branch instead.

Code and commit like usual. You may leave WIP commits, since they will be cleaned up later. You may follow this workflow.

Finishing a feature

When you're done with your feature and tests are green, and your changes pass our merge request checklist:

  • Within your feature branch, merge the current main and push using:

    git pull origin main
    git push -u origin feature-branch-name

    You're encouraged to use git pull --rebase if you know how it works.

  • Open a merge request by clicking the link Gitlab prints on push.

  • To open a merge request manually:

    • Open the project
    • Click "Merge Request" in the box on the right
    • Fill in
      • "From" with your feature branch
      • "To" with "main"
      • "Assign to" with yourself
      • "Reviewer" with your project manager
      • "Title" with a descriptive name, preferably using the issue id and title from Linear. Use the commit bookmarklet to auto-generate the title.
      • "Description", add a link to your Linear issue and Screenshots of any UI Changes
  • Set the issue to "Review" in Linear. If configured this might happen automatically.

If your code passes review

Your project manager will either merge and deploy the changes, or he will ask you to do it yourself in a note to the merge request (you will receive an e-mail)

If you're supposed to merge yourself, you need to

  • Get the latest main

  • Squash your commits using git rebase -i main or something similar

  • Merge into main

    git checkout main
    git merge feature-branch-name
  • Push

  • Delete the feature branch with

    git branch -D feature-branch-name
    git push origin :feature-branch-name
    • You might want to consider using this hook instead.
  • Deploy to staging

  • Set the corresponding Linear issue to “On Staging”

  • Close the merge request on GitLab (happens automatically when you merge or delete the remote branch)

If your code is rejected by the project manager

If your code does not pass review, your issue will be rejected on Linear, with an explanation either on Linear or as a note in the merge request. You'll get an e-mail either way.

  • Set the issue to "In Progress" in Linear and track it's state as usual
  • Fixes will be made within the existing feature branch.

Prepare by doing a

git pull origin main

Now make your fixes. Again, squash WIP commits, but do not squash commits that have already been reviewed or merged into main. The gatekeeper needs to be able to see your changes separately.

When you're done, you may decide yourself (unless your project manager said otherwise),

  • if you want your changes to be reviewed again:
    • merge main and push again
    • your new commits will automatically turn up in the merge request
    • add a note to the merge request, indicating that the reject is fixed
  • or if you do not think another review is necessary:
    • merge, delete and deploy as above

If your code is rejected by the client

Since your branch has already been merged into main, you can make fixes directly in main and do not have to get them reviewed. If you want to get them reviewed, make a new feature branch for it.

Set the issue to "In Progress" in Linear and track it's state as usual.

Changes that do not need to be reviewed

As a good default, all non-trivial commits should be reviewed. However, your gatekeeper is allowed to make exceptions for changes where they don't think a review would add any value, e.g. for trivial changes (like fixing a typo). Another exception are client rejects, unless you want to get the fix reviewed.

If a change does not need to be reviewed, your project manager will add a note to the issue that the code should be commited into the main branch without going through a merge request.

If two developers are working on the same code

In some cases it will be necessary to work on things in parallel. In this case, you are allowed to branch off someone else's (unfinished) feature branch, but please tell the person you're doing this.

You can keep working as usual, but the second developer to merge his branch needs to be a bit careful. You can still squash your commit as usual, but there is a chance that git will be unable to properly merge things. Please either

  • you try to merge, but review your final commit before pushing. Look out for changes that don't belong to your issue (and are usually in place you never touched)
    • when you open a merge request make sure that you show the diffs to the branch you branched off from, so select to merge into this branch on merge request in gitlab. When you actually merge don't forget to merge into main instead!
  • use git rebase --onto to rebase only your commit onto main
Tobias Kraze
Last edit
Tobias Kraze
workflow, gate, keeping, process
Source code in this card is licensed under the MIT License.
Posted by Tobias Kraze to makandra dev (2012-06-05 11:12)