How to contribute?

01 Sep 2011 » Giacomo Tesio

Epic is very complex. We need talented programmers with real world experience and high technical skills to complete the journey.

However we need a long term strategy to keep the project’s management fluent and to avoid unnecessary waste of time.

Thus, if you like to contribute to Epic here you can find some advice on how to set up your environment rapidly.

Meet us!

To meet new contributors we created a mailing list quite early.

Since we have previous experience in framework development, we know that keeping track of the path that lead to a decision is often more important that the decision itself. As a consequence, if you join us, you have to partecipate to our brainstorms and decisions via the mailing list itself.

The mailing list keeps an informal tone, but you have to know the netiquette and to be respectful about the other contributors’ opinions.

Fork the code base

First of all, you need a github account. If you are new to git, please take a look to the Pro Git book and follow the github’s help on forks and in collaborative development models (we adopt the Fork + Pull model).

As for version control we adopt this general rules:

  • Follow the devel branch. The master branch is for public milestones only; code flows from devel to master when we all agree about it’s stability.
  • Don’t develop on the devel branch. Always create a branch specific to the activity you’re working on. If you are fixing a bug, name the branch by issue # and description. For example, if you’re working on Issue #123, a documentation enhancement, your development branch should be called 123-documentation-enhancement. If you decide to work on another issue mid-stream, create a new branch for that issue, don’t work on both in one branch.
  • A single development branch should represent changes related to a single issue. If you decide to work on another issue, create another branch.
  • Send pull requests from the branch to devel. Your request will be commented, discussed and hopefully it will be merged in the codebase.
  • Update your devel branch as needed. Once your request has been accepted you can update the devel branch.

Step-by-step

  1. Fork on GitHub (click Fork button)
  2. Clone to computer ($ git clone git@github.com:you/Epic.NET.git)
  3. Don’t forget to cd into your repo: ($ cd Epic.NET/)
  4. Set up remote upstream ($ git remote add upstream git://github.com/bards/Epic.NET.git)
  5. Be sure to be in devel ($ git checkout devel)
  6. Create a branch for the activity ($ git checkout -b 123-class-rename, if you don’t have a bug report no worries just skip the number)
  7. Develop on your brandnew branch. Time passes, the main Epic.NET repository accumulates new commits
  8. Commit changes to issue branch. ($ git add . ; git commit -m 'commit message')
  9. Fetch upstream ($ git fetch upstream)
  10. Update local devel ($ git checkout devel; git pull upstream devel)
  11. Repeat steps 5-8 till development is complete
  12. rebase issue branch ($ git checkout 123-class-rename; git rebase devel)
  13. Push branch to GitHub ($ git push origin 123-class-rename)
  14. Issue pull request (Click Pull Request button)

During rebase you may need to resolve conflicts that occur when a file on the development trunk and one of your files have both been changed. Please, don’t panic.

Just before you pull

We will require that you sign the Fiduciary License Agreement (instructions here). Indeed, we are planning to develop a sustainable (yet ethic) business model based on selling exceptions for specific applications. In this way, we hope to keep the project both free and alive.

Soon I’ll write about the reasons that made me release Epic under the GNU Affero General Public License, since I recently realized that such decision is of some interest.

BTW, you will retain ownership of the copyright and patent claims in your contributions and have the same rights to use or license the contributions which you would have had without entering into the agreement (except for assigning exclusive licenses).

Note that you will only need to sign the agreement once; it will apply to all stuff that you send us. However, if you will not sign the agreement, we will not be able to accept any contribute of yours.

A piece of glory

As a contributor of Epic.NET, you will be listed in the credits’ page.

If you desire, your name will be linked to any of URI that concerns you (be it your website, your blog, your linkedin account and so on).

This might be not a big reward for your work, just a way to show our gratitude.

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