Conventional Git Commit Messages and Linting

5 minute read

Do you want to follow Conventional Commits and want to enforce a rule such that your team also follows it? In this article, You will learn how to enforce Conventional Commenting rule prior to commit your Angular or Nrwl.Nx Monorepo code in GitHub. Now a days all of open source library like ngrx platform they started following precise rules over how git commit messages must be formatted. This leads to more readable messages that are easy to follow when looking through the project history.

What is Conventional Commit?

The Conventional Commits specification is a lightweight convention on top of commit messages. It provides an easy set of rules for creating an explicit commit history; which makes it easier to write automated tools on top of. This convention dovetails with SemVer (Semantic Versioning), by describing the features, fixes, and breaking changes made in commit messages.

Why is Conventional Commit?

We will use the Conventional Commits specification. So that it will make easy to write automated tools on top of it. Example if you follow conventional commits then you can write some automation to

  • Bump version of the package.json file based on commit message format.
  • You can generate the Changelog automatically.

If you are convinced then continue reading to setup this rule in your angular or any node.js project.

Examples of Conventional Message Format

Commit message with scope & no body docs(readme): correct spelling of package

Commit message with scope, description and breaking change footer

feat(logger): need to depend on websocket library
BREAKING CHANGE: the api parameters changed

Learn more here.

Conventional Commit Message Format

We will use conventional commit to enforce the discipline.

The commit message should be structured as follows:

<type>(<scope>): <subject>

The header is mandatory and the scope of the header is optional. Any line of the commit message cannot be longer than 120 characters! This allows the message to be easier to read on GitHub as well as in various git tools.

Conventional Commit Type

Type Must be one of the following:

  • build: Changes that affect the build system or external dependencies (example scopes: webpack, karma, npm)
  • ci: Changes to our CI configuration files and scripts (example scopes: azuredevops.yaml, Travis, Circle, BrowserStack, SauceLabs)
  • docs: Documentation only changes
  • feat: A new feature
  • fix: A bug fix
  • perf: A code change that improves performance
  • refactor: A code change that neither fixes a bug nor adds a feature
  • style: Changes that do not affect the meaning of the code (white-space, formatting, missing semi-colons, etc.)
  • test: Adding missing tests or correcting existing tests

Conventional Commit Scope

The scope should be the name of the npm package affected (as perceived by the person reading the changelog generated from commit messages. Example if you have a project where you have publishable libraries & applications. Then you can use their project names.

Apps: admin, client, dashboard Lib: logger, layout, messaging

The following is the list of supported scopes:

  • admin
  • client
  • dashboard
  • logger
  • layout
  • messaging

Conventional Commit Subject

The subject contains a succinct description of the change and here is some tips for subject text:

  • use the imperative, present tense: “change” not “changed” nor “changes”
  • don’t capitalize the first letter
  • no dot (.) at the end

Conventional Commit Body

Just as in the subject, use the imperative, present tense: “change” not “changed” nor “changes”. The body should include the motivation for the change and contrast this with previous behavior.

The footer should contain any information about Breaking Changes and is also the place to reference GitHub issues that this commit Closes.

Breaking Changes should start with the word BREAKING CHANGE:` with a space or two newlines. The rest of the commit message is then used for this.


feat(scope): commit message


Describe breaking changes here


Previous code example here


New code example here

Lets learn how can we automate these rules in our own project such that no team member can violate this rules.

Commitlint Node Package

We will use commitlint node package to enforce the constraints for commit message format.

We will also use husky to run the linting rules before commit.

Run below script to install commitlint & husky.

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

Adding rules to package.json

 "commitlint": {
    "extends": [
    "rules": {
      "subject-case": [
      "header-max-length": [
  "husky": {
    "hooks": {
      "commit-msg": "commitlint -E HUSKY_GIT_PARAMS"

What will happen here is that every time a commit is attempted, it will get linted based on the conventional commit message rules. The developer will get an error if they deviate. This is painful to start with but it becomes second nature after a while!

Testing Conventional Commit Rules

Add comment adding commit rules and try to commit

Notice you see error.

Commit error

Lets fix our comment as per Conventional Commit Rule. Change the comment like below & commit

build: added new script for linting

Now you should be able to commit your code.

Note we can successfully commit and push our code.


Now you learn how can you use conventional commits and enforce this rule in your project. In my next article I will explain how can you apply some automation on this project. Like bumping package.json versions automatically, generating change log etc. So stay tuned.

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