I'm excited to announce the release of my favorite GitClear feature we've built so far. We're calling it the Commit Activity Browser (henceforth, CAB). Depending on the repo being viewed, it will look something like this:




In the vertical height of a few hundred pixels, CAB communicates:

  • How many commits (one bubble = one commit) and how big an impact (more impact = bigger bubble) is being made through the day, per committer?

  • How the committer's activity is spread over time. The CAB makes it easy to see where there are gaps in the day that a developer wasn't working at their usual pace

  • Which commit(s) to review when time is sparse? The bigger commits correspond to greater impact, so if you only have time to spot check a couple commits, start with "the ones that look big"


To that final point, here's how CAB reveals details on a particular commit:



Hovering on my own commit bubble shows the commit message, the time of day for the commit, and the amount of Line Impact accumulated.


In some respects, the CAB follows in the footsteps of Gitprime and Velocity's bubble-centric commit visualizations. The biggest difference is that, since our product is focused on deriving a single, reliable code metric, the size of the bubble tells a story about which commits hold the most meaningful work for review.


The second biggest difference is that CAB accelerates code review. CAB is at the heart of making it easier for casual developers to quickly find out what's happening in repos they care about. Take for example, Ruby on Rails:




Whether the repo has many committers or few, and whether those committers work in small commits or large, CAB condenses their work to its graphical essence. We're pretty sure this is the fastest way to grok what's happening in a repo.


By way of representing commit workflows with visual precision, CAB makes code review more approachable for managers and new developers. Compared to its forebearer, the venerable commit list, it saves time. Moving forward, it will be a cornerstone feature of our product.


We'd love to hear how you might utilize the Commit Activity Browser in your project, and which features you think we should add to it next.

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