Development workflow

Forgejo is a set of commits applied to the Gitea development branch and the stable branches. On a regular basis those commits are cherry-picked and modified if necessary to keep working. All Forgejo commits are merged into a branch from which binary releases and packages are created and distributed. The development workflow is a set of conventions Forgejo developers are expected to follow to work together.

Naming conventions


  • Gitea: main
  • Forgejo: forgejo
  • Feature branches: forgejo-feature-name


  • Gitea: release/vX.Y
  • Forgejo: vX.Y/forgejo
  • Feature branches: vX.Y/forgejo-feature-name

Branches history

Before cherry-picking on top of Gitea, all branches are copied to soft-fork/YYYY-MM-DD/<branch> for safekeeping. Older soft-fork/*/<branch> branches are converted into references under the same name. Similar to how pull requests store their head, they do not clutter the list of branches but can be retrieved if needed with git fetch +refs/soft-fork/*:refs/soft-fork/*. Tooling to automate this archival process is available.


Feature branches

On a weekly basis all of Forgejo commits are cherry-picked on top of the latest Gitea development branch. It starts like this:

  • the forgejo-ci branch is reset --hard with Gitea main
  • all the commits it contained are cherry-pick -x and conflicts resolved
  • the forgejo-ci branch is force pushed after the CI confirms it is sane

The same is done for the forgejo-development branch is based on forgejo-ci and the commits it contains are similarly cherry-pick -x. The same is done for each Feature branch until they all pass the CI.

Development branch

Once all Feature branches are ready, the forgejo branch is reset --hard with Gitea main, all Feature branches are merged into it and it is force pushed.

Stable branches

The stable branches are not force pushed because they would no longer contain the tags from which releases were made. Instead, the following is done:

  • The Gitea commits are cherry-picked
  • If there is a conflict
    • revert the Forgejo commit that caused the conflict
    • cherry-pick the Gitea commit
    • cherry-pick the Forgejo commit back and resolve the conflict

This ensures the conflict resolution is documented in the relevant Forgejo commit. The conflict must not be resolved in the Gitea commit because there would be no convenient way to know why and how it happened when browing the commit history.

To improve the readability of the git history, pull requests to stable branches are rebased on top of the branch instead of being merged. It saves one merge commit and creates a linear history.

Feature branches

All Feature branches are based on the {vX.Y/,}forgejo-development branch which provides development tools and documentation.

The forgejo-development branch is based on the {vX.Y/,}forgejo-ci branch which provides the CI configuration.

The purpose of each Feature branch is documented below:

General purpose

  • forgejo-ci based on main CI configuration, including the release process.

  • forgejo-development based on forgejo-ci Forgejo development tools, tests etc. that do not fit in a feature branch or that are used by multiple feature branches. The commits titles should be prefixed with a string that reflects their purpose such as [DOCS], [DB], [TESTS] etc.

    The database migrations of all feature branches must be in the forgejo-development branch. This is a requirement to ensure they do not conflict with each other and happen in sequence.


  • forgejo-dependency based on forgejo-development Each commit is prefixed with the name of dependency in uppercase, for instance [GOTH] or [GITEA]. They are standalone and implement either a bug fix or a feature that is in the process of being contributed to the dependency. It is better to contribute directly to the dependency instead of adding a commit to this branch but it is sometimes not possible, for instance when someone does not have a GitHub account. The author of the commit is responsible for rebasing and resolve conflicts. The ultimate goal of this branch is to be empty and it is expected that a continuous effort is made to reduce its content so that the technical debt it represents does not burden Forgejo long term.







Pull requests and feature branches

Most people who are used to contributing will be familiar with the workflow of sending a pull request against the default branch. When that happens the reviewer may ask to change the base branch to the appropriate Feature branch instead. If the pull request does not fit in any Feature branch, the reviewer needs to make decision to either:

  • Decline the pull request because it is best contributed to the relevant dependency
  • Create a new Feature branch


Feature branches can contain a number of commits grouped together, for instance for branding the documentation, the landing page and the footer. It makes it convenient for people working on that topic to get the big picture without browsing multiple branches. Creating a new Feature branch for each individual commit, while possible, is likely to be difficult to work with.

Observing the granularity of the existing Feature branches is the best way to figure out what works and what does not. It requires adjustments from time to time depending on the number of contributors and the complexity of the Forgejo codebase.