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lesson learned about triggers for when to save and commit to git repo

Published 2020-04-18T21:32:00.001Z by Physics Derivation Graph

Historically I've been committing changes to git whenever I complete a feature. That has worked because 1) I haven't lost any data and 2) the window for losing data was small because the features were minor.

Earlier this week I was working on implementing logins. That feature is complicated and involves lots of copy-pasting code from various sites to see what works. After a few hours I somehow typed a command in vim that deleted the first 100 lines of a 1000 line Python script. I didn't notice my mistake until I re-opened the file, at which point the backup file was already removed so my recovery using that approach was unavailable.

Because the feature of logins hadn't been completed, I lost about 4 hours of work. I was able to recover most of the missing 100 lines from the file from the previous git commit, but all the changes associated with logins had to be recreated.

The lesson I learned is that my trigger condition for committing to the git repo needed to be adapted to the change in feature size. Previously a feature took no more than an hour, so committing per-feature made sense. In the future I will try to commit every 20 to 30 minutes, even if the feature is incomplete.