Submitting A Patch

Before You Begin

We prefer small, well tested pull requests.

Please refer to Contributing to Spinnaker and On Collaborative Development.

Please follow the following conventions in your git commit messages.

Commit Message Conventions

Once you’ve implemented a bug fix or feature, it’s time to submit a patch to Spinnaker. In order to track and summarize the changes happening in Spinnaker, we use a changelog automation tool called clog which scrapes information from commit messages. We follow the ‘conventional’ commit message format.

As a summary, messages should be formatted like:

<type>(<scope>): <subject>
<empty line>
<empty line>


Type Purpose
feat A new feature. Please also link to the issue (in the body) if applicable. Causes a minor version bump.
fix A bug fix. Please also link to the issue (in the body) if applicable.
docs A documentation change.
style A code change that does not affect the meaning of the code, (e.g. indentation).
refactor A code change that neither fixes a bug or add a feature.
perf A code change that improves performance.
test Adding missing tests.
chore Changes to build process or auxiliary tools or libraries such as documentation generation.
config Changes to configurations that have tangible effects on users, (e.g. renaming properties, changing defaults, etc).

The type of keyword affects the next semantic version bump. The feat keyword causes a minor version bump, while the rest of the keywords cause a patch version bump. Major version bumps are triggered by the presence of the words BREAKING CHANGE in the commit message body. This is covered more in Body.

If you don’t use one of the previous types (or don’t follow the convention), your commit will not be included in the generated changelog. Your change will still affect the next semantic version bump, but it will be considered a patch change, not a major or minor change (even if the change is a breaking change or a feature).

If you submit a pull request with multiple commits and choose to Squash and Merge the pull request, the individual commit message are not added to the changelog, only the pull request message is. To include each commit in your pull request in the changelog and next version calculation, merge the changes without squashing.


The scope of the commit message indicates the area or feature of Spinnaker the commit applies to. For instance, if you were to submit a patch to the Google provider in Clouddriver, your commit message might look something like:

feat(provider/google): Updated forwarding rule schema.

or if you submit a fix pertaining to authentication in Gate:

fix(authN): Fixed session authentication coherence.

The scope is purposefully left open-ended, but try to group similar changes using the same value. Changes that have the same scope will be grouped together during changelog generation:


  • Some_scope
    • First feature goes here.
    • Second feature goes here.


The subject should be a short summary of the patch.


The body should include any detailed information about the patch; however, these can also go in the pull request body.

Any information about breaking changes should be present in the footer. To signify a breaking change, add one line at the end of the commit message with ‘BREAKING CHANGE’ in the line:

feat(provider/google): Added a very important and breaking feature.

BREAKING CHANGE: More detail here if necessary.

Note that at minimum, ‘BREAKING CHANGE’ must be specified on the last line. The extra detail is not mandatory.

When you initiate a Pull Request from Github

  • Provide a descriptive title for your changes.
  • Add inline code comments to changes that might not be obvious.
  • Squash your commits when you first submit your PR, and again when it’s ready to be merged. It’s much easier to review incremental changes to feedback when the commits are kept separate.
  • Ping the #dev channel in slack for review if your issue has been outstanding for more than 3 days.

Note that we are unlikely to accept pull requests that add features without prior discussion. The best way to propose a feature is to open an issue first and discuss your ideas there before implementing them.