Curation with Git

This document describes a workflow for doing BEL curation using git for version control. It’s inspired by the Git Flow philosophy.

The purpose of this document is not to explain what git is or how to use it. Lots of fantastic resources exist on the internet for this - here’s a good place to start:

1. Make a Branch

The main/master branch of the git repository is protected in order to encourage assessment by multiple users.

  1. Check out the master branch
  2. Fetch and pull from the origin
  3. Make a new branch with a descriptive (but succinct) name of what you’ll be working on. If this branch corresponds to adding a new article, title the branch with the author’s last name and publication year prefixed with curation-. Example: curation-olsen2016

2. Commits with Incremental Progress

Commit early and often. Each commit should describe what’s being worked on, and follow best community practices for writing the commit. See: In the future, pre-commit hooks could be used to enforce this policy.

Between commits, locally compiling the BEL document with a compiler like PyBEL to find errors is helpful as opposed to waiting until the whole curation task is finished. Other solutions using continuous integration to take the hassle out of installing and running a BEL compiler are also publicly available. For example, see:

3. Merge

If curation is being done on GitHub, make a pull request. On GitLab, make a merge request. This is a place where the final results can be checked one more time for syntactic/semantic correctness with PyBEL, and discussion between curators and managers can occur.

Each merge/pull request needs a name suitable for the public commit log, since the multiple commits will be combine (through a process known as squashing) before merging onto the master branch.