Submitting Pull Requests

Patches for fixes, features, and improvements are accepted through pull requests. Here are some tips for contributing:

  • Add Git Commit Signing to your local git install and to GitHub. Here are the config instructions.
  • Write good commit messages in the present tense (“Add X”, not “Added X”) with a short title, blank line, and bullet points if needed. Capitalize the first letter of the title and any bullet items. No punctuation in the title.
  • Include tests to improve coverage and prevent regressions.
  • Squash changes into a single commit per feature/fix. Typical steps to do that are:
    • git rebase -i HEAD~3 (the number depends on the number of commits you are squashing)
    • git push -u origin master –force (master might not be the branch you are pushing to so make sure to change to the branch)
  • Whenever possible, tag your pull request with appropriate Github labels and issue numbers.

Important: For any breaking changes that require a major version bump, add BREAKING CHANGE somewhere in the commit title or message.


New to Pull Request Steps – Here is Help

The following Terms and Scenario will help you with creating your first Ortelius Pull Request.  Don’t be shy, you can’t break anything.  And if you do – good for you.


  • Upstream = this would be an Ortelius repository ortelius/ortelius-docs
  • Fork = your copy of the upstream repo
  • Downstream = this would be your repository that is forked from an Ortelius repo sbtaylor15/ortelius-docs
  • Pull Request (PR) = changes to be merged from one repo to another repo
  • Commit = change to the repo
  • Squash = combining multiple commits into one
  • Branch = series of commits
  • Fetch = sync a repo with another
  • Local Repo = a repo on your computer
  • Remote Repo = a repo on GitHub
  • Rebase = rewrite commit history
  • Clone = create a local copy of a repo
  • Push = send your changes to GitHub
  • Pull = get changes from GitHub into your local repo


We want to update the User Guide that is in the ortelius/ortelius-docs repo.


  1. Fork the Ortelius repoIn GitHub click on the Fork button for the repo you want to make a copy of, i.e. ortelius/ortelius-docs. The fork will be created under your userid as sbtaylor15/ortelius-docs.
  2. Make a local copy of your repo sbtaylor15/ortelius-docs. The url for the repo is under the Code button in GitHub for your repo.From a command prompt, cd /home/steve/reposRun git clone this will create /home/steve/reports/ortelius-docs
  3. Make a branch for your work
    cd /home/steve/reports/ortelius-docs
    git checkout -b maintenance
  4. Make some changesUpdate the files and commit the changes back to your local branch
    git add .
    git commit -m "changed some files

    Do this as many time that you want.

  5. Backup your changes to GitHubWe can backup changes to GitHub at anytime without effecting anyone else.
    git push

    You may get a message about the changes not getting tracked. Just copy git command displayed in the message and run it. That will fix the error. Only needs to be done once.

  6. Squash before mergeWe need to collapse all of our little changes into one. This will make merging much easier.
    git checkout master
    git log --oneline -1

    Grab the commit sha (hex number), i.e. d34bf46

    git checkout -b maintenance
    git rebase -i d34bf46

    You will be placed into an editor with a line for each commit. The first column will say pick. Change pick to squash from line 2 to the end of the list. Save and quit the file.

    You will jump back to the command prompt for a bit while git does it work. The editor will pop up again. This is the comment for the squashed commit. All of the comments from the little commit are listed. Delete all of the lines and add a single line describing your changes.

    If you run git log --oneline you should see that there is only one new commit.

  7. Update GitHub with your local changes
    git push --force

    This syncs GitHub with your local branch. Basically, you are overriding GitHub.

  8. Tell your local repo about the upstream repo (this only needs to be done once)
    git remote add upstream
  9. Update your local fork with upstream changes
    git checkout master
    git fetch upstream
    git merge upstream/master
  10. Merge your change with the upstream changes
    git merge maintenance

    You may get a merge conflict if you and someone else changed the same file at the same time. Use an editor like VS Code to pick and choose which conflicting lines are the right ones.

    git add .
    git commit -m "merged conflict with upstream"
  11. Push your merged changes to GitHub
    git push
  12. Create your PR.In GitHub, go to the upstream repo and do a new pull request. Choose compare across forks. Select your fork and master branch.