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Contributing Code

This page covers contributing code to the main Chromium repository. It assumes you already have a working checkout and build. A full checkout pulls many other repositories such as v8 and Skia which have their own repositories and processes. Chromium it itself pulled into ChromiumOS which has its own process.

Related resources

Communicate

  • Whether you're writing a new feature or fixing an existing bug, it pays to get a second opinion before you get too far. If it's a new feature idea, post to the appropriate discussion group (Chromium | Chromium OS) and propose it. If it is in the existing code base, it is a good idea to talk to some of the folks in the "OWNERS" file (see code review policies for more) for the code you want to change.
  • Behavior changes and anything nontrivial (i.e. anything other than simple cleanups and style fixes) should generally be tracked in the bug system. Please file a bug and describe what you're doing if there isn't one already.
  • Keep in mind that just because there is a bug in the bug system doesn't necessarily mean that a patch would be accepted.

Legal stuff

Create a local branch

Start with a branch in git. Here we create a branch called mychange (use whatever name you want here) based off of the origin/master branch (the upstream repository):

git checkout -b mychange origin/master

Write and test your code.

  • Conform to the style guidelines.
  • Include appropriate unit tests.
  • Patches should be a reasonable size to review. Giant patches are unlikely to get reviewed quickly.

Commit your patch locally in git (you may want to do search for git tutorials if you are unfamiliar with it).

git commit -a

Uploading a change for review

Initial git setup

Authenticate with depot tools - make sure to authenticate with your @chromium.org account:

depot-tools-auth login https://codereview.chromium.org

Tell git about your name, email and some other settings.
git config --global user.name "My Name"
git config --global user.email "myemail@chromium.org"
git config --global core.autocrlf false
git config --global core.filemode false
git config --global branch.autosetuprebase always

The upload command

We use the Rietveld code review tool running at codereview.chromium.org. To upload your change to Rietveld, use the git-cl tool that came with depot_tools when you checked the code out.

git cl upload

This will create a Rietveld "issue" for you. You will be prompted for a description, and some presumbit checks will also be run to identify common errors. When it is done it will print the URL you can use to see the change on the web.

Code quality guidelines

We want this code to be the best codebase you've ever worked on, and the maintainability of the code is critical:

  • Follow the Core Principles.
  • Make sure your code is readable.
  • Don't hesitate to refactor code where it makes it less platform-specific or it improves the design. 
  • Don't take shortcuts; development is more like a marathon than a sprint.
  • And leave the code cleaner than you found it.

Writing change list descriptions

Use the following form:

Summary of change

Longer description of change addressing as appropriate: why the change is made,
context if it is part of many changes, description of previous behavior and
newly introduced differences, etc.

Long lines should be wrapped to 80 columns for easier log message viewing in
terminals.

BUG=123456

A short subject and a blank line after the subject are crucial. Use the bug number from the issue tracker (see more on bug formatting). If you include links to previous CLs then consider using crrev.com/NUMBER format rather than https://codereview.chromium.org/NUMBER format. The crrev.com format is shorter, and avoids confusion when the CL is submitted. The submitted CL will have a codereview.chromium.org link to its code review page and using crrev.com for referenced CLs avoids clicking on the wrong one.

Some good thoughts on how to write good git commit messages can be found here.

You can optionally include your code reviewer at the bottom (this saves you from having to type it into the web UI):

R=foo@chromium.org

If there are instructions for testers to verify your change is correct, append:

TEST=Load example.com/page.html and click the foo-button; see
crbug.com/123456#c12 for more details.

Code review

Code reviews are covered in more detail on the code review policies page.

Finding a reviewer

Ideally the reviewer is someone who is familiar with the area of code you are touching. If you have doubts, look at the git blame for the file and the OWNERS files.

  • Anybody can review code, but there must be at least one owner for each directory you are touching.
  • If you have multiple reviewers, make it clear in the message you send requesting review what you expect from each reviewer. Otherwise people might assume their input is not required or waste time with redundant reviews.
  • The git cl owners command can help find owners.

Requesting review

Open the change on the web (if you can't find the link, run git cl issue to see the issue for your current branch, or go to the Web UI codereview.chromium.org, log in, and look at "Unsent Issues/Outgoing").

Reviewers expect to review code that compiles and passes tests. If you have access, now is a good time to run your change through the automates tests (see below).

Click Edit Issue in the upper-left (if you don't see this link, make sure you are logged in). In the Reviewers field, enter a comma-separated list of the reviewers you picked, and press Update Issue.

Click Publish+Mail Comments in the upper-left (never mind that you have no comments to publish). This will send email to notify the reviewers you are requesting a review. If you have any particular questions or instructions for the code review, enter them in the Message box, but it's fine to leave this field empty. Click Publish all my drafts (never mind that you have no drafts to publish).

The review process

All changes must be reviewed, see: Code Review Policy.

Approval

When the reviewer is happy with your patch, they will say "LGTM" ("Looks Good To Me"). The reviewer types this exact text (case-insensitive) in their comment, which is detected by Rietveld and marks approval. If this is accidentally typed, writing "not LGTM" withdraws approval.

You need approval from owners of all affected files before committing, see Code Review Policy: Owners section.

Running automated tests

Before being submitted, a change must pass a large series of compilations and tests across many platforms. To trigger this process, press the CQ dry run (CQ = "Commit Queue") at the bottom of the patch summary in the code review tool. This link is only available to those with permission:

  • If you have an @chromium.org email address, request try job access for yourself.
  • If you've made a few patches you can request a reviewer to nominate you for try job access.
  • Otherwise, write in the code review request message that this is your first patch and request try jobs be run for you.

Committing

Changes should generally be committed via the commit queue. This is done by checking the Commit check box below the patch in the code review tool. The commit queue will then send your patch to the try bots, which will eventually appear as colored bubbles near the checkbox in the code review tool (the same thing that happens for dry runs). If all tests pass, your change will be auto committed. If it fails, click on the red (failure) bubbles for a direct link to the failures. Sometimes a test might be flaky, if you have an isolated failure that appears unrelated to your change, wait a while and click commit again.

Alternatively, it is possible to directly commit your change, bypassing the commit queue. This should only be used in emergencies because it will bypass the tests.


Tips

During the lifetime of a review you may want to rebase your change onto a newer source revision to minimize eventual merge pain. The reviewer-friendly way to do this is to upload the rebase as its own patchset (with no changes other than the rebase) when there are no outstanding comments. Then upload another patch with your changes. This way the reviewer can see what changes you made independent of the rebase.

Code authors and reviewers should keep in mind that Chromium is a global project: contributors and reviewers are often in time zones far apart. Please read these guidelines on minimizing review lag and take them in consideration both when writing reviews and responding to review feedback.