Welcome to the Doctrine Project Contributors Guide. This documentation aims to document how contributors and collaborators should work when using git, development workflow, build process, dependency management, etc.


The Doctrine Project is the home of a selected set of PHP libraries primarily focused on providing persistence services and related functionality. Its prize projects are a Object Relational Mapper and the Database Abstraction Layer it is built on top of. You can view a list of all projects on the website.

Contributors vs Collaborators

Before continuing you need to understand the difference between a contributor and a collaborator.

  • Contributor: A contributor is someone from the outside not on the core development team of the project that wants to contribute some changes to a project.
  • Collaborator: A collaborator is someone on the core development team of the project and has commit access to the main repository of the project.

Continue reading to learn about the workflow for both contributors and collaborators.

Contributor Workflow

Who is a contributor?

A contributor can be anyone! It could be you. Continue reading this section if you wish to get involved and contribute back to a Doctrine project.

Initial Setup

  • Setup a github account.
  • Fork the repository of the project you want to contribute to.
  • Clone your fork locally
$ git clone
  • Enter the doctrine2 directory and add the doctrine remote
$ cd doctrine2
$ git remote add doctrine git://
  • Adjust your branch to track the doctrine master remote branch, by default it’ll track your origin remote’s master:
$ git config branch.master.remote doctrine

Keeping your master up-to-date!

Once all this is done, you’ll be able to keep your local master up to date with the simple command:

$ git checkout master
$ git pull --rebase

Alternatively, you can synchronize your master from any branch with the full fetch/rebase syntax:

$ git fetch doctrine
$ git rebase doctrine/master master

Using rebase pull will do a rebase instead of a merge, which will keep a linear history with no unnecessary merge commits. It’ll also rewind, apply and then reapply your commits at the HEAD.

Branching Model

The following names will be used to differentiate between the different repositories:

  • doctrine - The “official” Doctrine repository
  • origin - Your fork of the official repository on github
  • local - This will be your local clone of origin

As a contributor you will push your completed local topic branch to origin. As a contributor you will pull updates from doctrine. As a collaborator (write-access) you will merge branches from contributors into doctrine.

Primary Branches

The doctrine repository holds the following primary branches:

  • doctrine/master Development towards the next release.
  • doctrine/release-* Maintenance branches of existing releases.

These branches exist in parallel and are defined as follows:

doctrine/master is the branch where the source code of HEAD always reflects the latest version. Each released stable version will be a tagged commit in a doctrine/release-* branch. Each released unstable version will be a tagged commit in the doctrine/master branch.

NOTE You should never commit to your forked origin/master. Changes to origin/master will never be merged into doctrine/master. All work must be done in a topic branch, which are explained below.

Topic Branches

Topic branches are for contributors to develop bug fixes, new features, etc. so that they can be easily merged to master. They must follow a few simple rules as listed below:

  • May branch off from: master or a release-* branch.
  • Must merge back into: master and any affected release-* branch that should get the same changes, but remember that release branches usually only get bug fixes, with rare exceptions.
  • Branch naming convention: anything except master and release-*. If a topic is related to a JIRA issue then the branch should be named after that ticket, e.g. DDC-588

Topic branches are used to develop new features and fix reported issues. When starting development of a feature, the target release in which this feature will be incorporated may well be unknown. The essence of a topic branch is that it exists as long as the feature is in development, but will eventually be merged back into master or a release-* branch (to add the new feature or bugfix to a next release) or discarded (in case of a disappointing experiment).

Topic branches should exist in your local and origin repositories only, there is no need for them to exist in doctrine.

Working on topic branches

First create an appropriately named branch. When starting work on a new topic, branch off from doctrine/master or a doctrine/release-* branch:

$ git checkout -b DDC-588 doctrine/master
Switched to a new branch "DDC-588"

Now do some work, make some changes then commit them:

$ git status
$ git commit <filespec>

Next, merge or rebase your commit against doctrine/master. With your work done in a local topic branch, you’ll want to assist upstream merge by rebasing your commits. You can either do this manually with fetch then rebase, or use the pull --rebase shortcut. You may encounter merge conflicts, which you should fix and then mark as fixed with add, and then continue rebasing with rebase --continue. At any stage, you can abort the rebase with rebase --abort unlike nasty merges which will leave files strewn everywhere.

CAUTION Please note that once you have pushed your branch remotely you MUST NOT rebase!
$ git fetch doctrine
$ git rebase doctrine/master DDC-588

or (uses tracking branch shortcuts):

$ git pull --rebase

**CAUTION** You must not rebase if you have pushed your branch to

If you need to pull master into your branch after it has already been pushed remotely, simply use:

$ git pull

Push your branch to origin:

Finished topic branches should be pushed to origin for a collaborator to review and pull into doctrine as appropriate:

$ git push origin DDC-588
    * [new branch]      DDC-588 -> DDC-588</pre>

Now you are ready to send a pull request from this branch, and update JIRA, to let a collaborator know your branch can be merged.

Topic Branch Cleanup

Once your work has been merged by the branch maintainer, it will no longer be necessary to keep the local branch or remote branch, so you can remove them!

Sync your local master:

$ git checkout master
$ git pull --rebase

Remove your local branch using -d to ensure that it has been merged by upstream. Branch -d will not delete a branch that is not an ancestor of your current head.

From the git-branch man page:

    Delete a branch. The branch must be fully merged in HEAD.
    Delete a branch irrespective of its merged status.

Remove your local branch:

$ git branch -d DDC-588

Remove your remote branch at origin:

$ git push origin :DDC-588

The projects under the Doctrine umbrella use Phing to automate the process for building our distributable PEAR packages.

Collaborator Workflow

Who is a collaborator?

Collaborators are those who have been granted write access to the main repository of a project. In the example of the ORM, it would be this repository. This repository will be referred to as doctrine in this document.

You might want want to know how a collaborator is different from a contributor. The Collaborator Workflow is used primarily for the following:

  • Merging contributor branches into doctrine/master and/or doctrine/release-* branches.
  • Creating @release-*@ branches.
  • Tagging released versions within master and release-* branches.


First you must Fork the repository and clone your fork locally:

$ git clone doctrine2-orm
$ cd doctrine2-orm

Fetch dependencies using composer:

$ composer install

Now add the doctrine remote for collaborators:

$ git remote add doctrine

Adjust your branch to track the doctrine master remote branch, by default it’ll track your origin remote’s master:

$ git config branch.master.remote doctrine

Optionally, add any additional contributor/collaborator forks, e.g.:

$ git remote add romanb git://

Branching Model

Merging topic branches

  • Topic branches must merge into master and/or any affected release-* branches.
  • Merging a topic branch puts it into the next release, that is the next release created from master and/or the next patch release created from a specific release-* branch.


Add remote repo for contributor/collaborator, if necessary (only needs to be done once per collaborator):

$ git remote add hobodave git://

Fetch remote:

$ git fetch hobodave

Merge topic branch into master:

$ git checkout master
Switched to branch 'master'
$ git merge --no-ff hobodave/DDC-588
Updating ea1b82a..05e9557
(Summary of changes)
$ git push doctrine master

The –no-ff flag causes the merge to always create a new commit object, even if the merge could be performed with a fast-forward. This avoids losing information about the historical existence of a topic branch and groups together all commits that together added the topic.

Release branches

  • May branch off from: master
  • Must merge back into: -
  • Branch naming convention: release-*

Release branches are created when master has reached the state of the next major or minor release. They allow for continuous bug fixes and patch releases of that particular release until the release is no longer supported.

The key moment to branch off a new release branch from master is when master reflects the desired state of the new release.

Creating a release branch

Release branches are created from the master branch. When the state of master is ready for the upcoming target version we branch off and give the release branch a name reflecting the target version number. In addition the ”.0” release is tagged on the new release branch:

$ git checkout -b release-2.0 doctrine/master
Switched to a new branch "release-2.0"
$ git push doctrine release-2.0
$ git tag -a 2.0.0
$ git push doctrine release-2.0

This new branch may exist for a while, at least until the release is no longer supported. During that time, bug fixes are applied in this branch (in addition to the master branch), if it is affected by the same bug. Adding large new features here is prohibited. They must be merged into master, and therefore, wait for the next major or minor release.

Project Dependencies

Project dependencies between Doctrine projects are handled through composer. The code of the particular Doctrine project you have cloned is located under lib/Doctrine. The source code of dependencies to other projects resides under vendor/.

Bumping Versions

To bump/upgrade a dependency version you just need to update the version constraint in composer.json and run:

$ composer update

Running Tests


  • You must have installed the library with composer and the dev dependencies (default).


To run the tests :

$ ./vendor/bin/phpunit
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