Linting Commits with Emoji



I'm a big fan of using emoji to quickly convey topics or ideas, it's helped me more quickly parse my commits visually. And since they're text based (:fire: = 🔥), I can also search logs for words to find particular types of commits. For a while, I've been using this Git Commit Emoji table I found on Github's Gists. It helps organize my Git commits into topics, like :bulb: 💡 for documenting source code. Conforming to this convention has also ensured my commits stays more modular, allowing me to step forward or back easily.

Recently I wanted to refine my practices a bit more and start to standardize my open source libraries. I've looked into things like Semantic Release before, but I'm not a huge fan of the style of commits that this process uses (feat(pencil): remove graphiteWidth option). They're simple enough, but it still requires a bit of parsing to look across a variety of commits and see what's going on.

I've used Husky in the past as an easy way to run pre-commit and post-commit Git hooks, like testing or linting my code, but I had never setup a linting process for my Git commits 🧐 Browsing the Husky docs, they recommended commitlint. The only issue was that commitlint used the same conventions as Semantic Release (ie: fix(pencil):). A little more research later and I found a configuration for commitlint that uses a "gitmoji" convention, which is identical (and more robust) than my current emoji table.

This was the (fairly quick!) process of setting up Git commits that use emojis:

Install dependencies

npm i -D husky @commitlint/cli @commitlint/config-conventional commitlint-config-gitmoji

yarn add -D husky @commitlint/cli @commitlint/config-conventional commitlint-config-gitmoji

Add Husky config to package.json

  "husky": {
    "hooks": {
      "pre-commit": "npm run lint && npm test",
      "commit-msg": "commitlint -E HUSKY_GIT_PARAMS"

Assumes you have a linting and testing environment setup. This may differ per project, so they've been skipped in this process. You can also remove that pre-commit hook to just use the commit linting.

Create config for commitlint and gitmoji support

    echo "module.exports = {extends: ['./node_modules/commitlint-config-gitmoji']};" > commitlint.config.js

Commit using emoji!

    git add .
    git commit -m ":heavy_plus_sign: Husky + commitlint"

Semantic Versioning

The only thing this process doesn't cover is automated semantic versioning, like Semantic Release. You commit with emojis, it's enforced with a lint, but there's no process for handling the incrementing of the library version in the package.json.

I looked into integrating Gitmoji with Semantic Release and found a plugin that accomplishes it to some extent. The way it handles conforming to the release process is bundling WIP commits based on Git issues. Then you release using a "release" commit with it's own emoji. This didn't conform to my personal workflow, which is a bit more loose, since I'm the only or one of the few maintainers. If I needed to scale a project, I would consider this (or just stick with the more standard, less snazzy Conventional Commits format).