Over the past several weeks, we’ve been incrementally rolling out a bunch of enhancements around our pull request workflow for Git and Mercurial projects. Our goal is to make contributing to open source projects a simple and rewarding experience, and we’ll continue to invest in this area. Here’s a summary of the changes so far, in case you’ve missed them. As always, if you have any feedback, please let us know, whether on our ideas page or via Twitter.
Support for branches
You can now pick the source and destination branches for your pull request, whether you’re sending one from your fork, or using it within a project to collaborate with your other trusted contributors.
A redesigned creation experience
Our old pull request creation form was rather lacking. It asked for a title and comment in a small modal dialog, but that was about it. We knew we could do better, so we rethought the experience. Now, when you create a pull request, you’re taken to a new page that let’s you select the source and destination, and gives you information on the diffs and commits that you’re sending, so you can confirm that you’re sending the right set of changes.
Inline code snippets in discussion
If users comment on code in your pull request, we now display a preview of the snippet of relevant code inline with their comment on the discussion. Subsequent replies on that line are combined in a single thread to preserve your context. No more clicking and hunting to find where the comments are. And you can add another inline comment right from the discussion area.
You can now elect receive an e-mail notification if a user comments on your pull request. If it’s on a line of code, we’ll display the relevant code snippet in the e-mail.
Redesigned diff viewer
Our old diff viewer hadn’t been touched in a while, and was in need of an update. We started with a visual facelift to use standard red/green colors for additions/deletions and remove the noisy “dots” that represented spaces and that littered the diff viewer. Based on feedback that the viewable region for diffs was too small, especially for smaller screen resolutions, we revamped the way the viewport for the code is sized, and now expand it to fill the majority of the browser height when scrolling down. The set of improvements we implemented here also apply anywhere diffs are viewed, not just for pull requests.