Hints for posting patches to Android

I’ve had a few (very minor) patches accepted by the Android community. Although they’re fairly explicit about what needs doing, here are a few findings which might grease the wheels for others.

  • When uploading using repo, you do not get an opportunity to input any message explaining the patch. Instead, your git commit message will be used, so get it looking nice! (You can use git commit --amend to tweak it).
  • It appears to be undocumented what will happen if you have multiple commits per topic branch. Are they all uploaded? Separately or individually? Which commit message is used? (At least, I can’t find it documented anywhere). You can merge git commits using git rebase -i (amongst other commands). But gerrit appears to have functionality for patches depending on other patches; perhaps this is what happens? But I’m not brave enough to try.
  • Likewise, I can’t find anywhere explaining what happens if you have repo downloaded a patch before uploading a new one. Is that marked as a dependency?
  • gerrit appears to assume that your commit messages are formatted according to an unwritten standard for Git commit messages.
  • I can’t find documented how reviewers for patches get allocated. It seems to be a bit of a black art. I’ve had a few patches sail through, but my very first one – an obvious typo fix in a comment – is still sitting there, presumably awaiting somebody. Who? Who knows.

On the whole, though, the system worked exactly like it said on the tin! I can’t wait to see how easy or hard it is, in practice, to get changes submitted to the Symbian Foundation…

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