Git workflow and rebase vs merge questions

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git rebase vs merge? - stack overflow

I've been using Git now for a couple of months on a project with one other developer. I have several years of experience with SVN, so I guess I bring a lot of baggage to the relationship.

I have heard that Git is excellent for branching and merging, and so far, I just don't see it. Sure, branching is dead simple, but when I try to merge, everything goes all to hell. Now, I'm used to that from SVN, but it seems to me that I just traded one sub-par versioning system for another.

My partner tells me that my problems stem from my desire to merge willy-nilly, and that I should be using rebase instead of merge in many situations. For example, here's the workflow that he's laid down:

clone the remote repository
git checkout -b my_new_feature
..work and commit some stuff
git rebase master
..work and commit some stuff
git rebase master
..finish the feature
git checkout master
git merge my_new_feature

Essentially, create a feature branch, ALWAYS rebase from master to the branch, and merge from the branch back to master. Important to note is that the branch always stays local.

Here is the workflow that I started with

clone remote repository
create my_new_feature branch on remote repository
git checkout -b --track my_new_feature origin/my_new_feature
..work, commit, push to origin/my_new_feature
git merge master (to get some changes that my partner added)
..work, commit, push to origin/my_new_feature
git merge master
..finish my_new_feature, push to origin/my_new_feature
git checkout master
git merge my_new_feature
delete remote branch
delete local branch

There are two essential differences (I think): I use merge always instead of rebasing, and I push my feature branch (and my feature branch commits) to the remote repository.

My reasoning for the remote branch is that I want my work backed up as I'm working. Our repository is automatically backed up and can be restored if something goes wrong. My laptop is not, or not as thoroughly. Therefore, I hate to have code on my laptop that's not mirrored somewhere else.

My reasoning for the merge instead of rebase is that merge seems to be standard and rebase seems to be an advanced feature. My gut feeling is that what I'm trying to do is not an advanced setup, so rebase should be unnecessary. I've even perused the new Pragmatic Programming book on Git, and they cover merge extensively and barely mention rebase.

Anyway, I was following my workflow on a recent branch, and when I tried to merge it back to master, it all went to hell. There were tons of conflicts with things that should have not mattered. The conflicts just made no sense to me. It took me a day to sort everything out, and eventually culminated in a forced push to the remote master, since my local master has all conflicts resolved, but the remote one still wasn't happy.

What is the "correct" workflow for something like this? Git is supposed to make branching and merging super-easy, and I'm just not seeing it.

Update 2011-04-15

This seems to be a very popular question, so I thought I'd update with my two years experience since I first asked.

It turns out that the original workflow is correct, at least in our case. In other words, this is what we do and it works:

clone the remote repository
git checkout -b my_new_feature
..work and commit some stuff
git rebase master
..work and commit some stuff
git rebase master
..finish the feature, commit
git rebase master
git checkout master
git merge my_new_feature

In fact, our workflow is a little different, as we tend to do squash merges instead of raw merges. (Note: This is controversial, see below.) This allows us to turn our entire feature branch into a single commit on master. Then we delete our feature branch. This allows us to logically structure our commits on master, even if they're a little messy on our branches. So, this is what we do:

clone the remote repository
git checkout -b my_new_feature
..work and commit some stuff
git rebase master
..work and commit some stuff
git rebase master
..finish the feature, commit
git rebase master
git checkout master
git merge --squash my_new_feature
git commit -m "added my_new_feature"
git branch -D my_new_feature

Squash Merge Controversy - As several commenters have pointed out, the squash merge will throw away all history on your feature branch. As the name implies, it squashes all the commits down into a single one. For small features, this makes sense as it condenses it down into a single package. For larger features, it's probably not a great idea, especially if your individual commits are already atomic. It really comes down to personal preference.

Github and Bitbucket (others?) Pull Requests - In case you're wondering how merge/rebase relates to Pull Requests, I recommend following all the above steps up until you're ready to merge back to master. Instead of manually merging with git, you just accept the PR. Note that this will not do a squash merge (at least not by default), but non-squash, non-fast-forward is the accepted merge convention in the Pull Request community (as far as I know). Specifically, it works like this:

clone the remote repository
git checkout -b my_new_feature
..work and commit some stuff
git rebase master
..work and commit some stuff
git rebase master
..finish the feature, commit
git rebase master
git push # May need to force push
...submit PR, wait for a review, make any changes requested for the PR
git rebase master
git push # Will probably need to force push (-f), due to previous rebases from master
...accept the PR, most likely also deleting the feature branch in the process
git checkout master
git branch -d my_new_feature
git remote prune origin

I've come to love Git and never want to go back to SVN. If you're struggling, just stick with it and eventually you'll see the light at the end of the tunnel.


Git workflow and rebase vs merge questions, Let us break things down here,. What do conflicts mean? Well it is nothing but parallel evolution of a same content. That means if it occurs� A Simple Git Rebase Workflow, Explained; A Git Workflow for Agile Teams; To be honest, the split in two camps – always rebase vs. always merge – can be confusing, because rebase as local cleanup is a different thing than rebase as team policy. Aside: Rebase as cleanup is awesome in the coding lifecycle. Rebase as team policy is a different


TL;DR

A git rebase workflow does not protect you from people who are bad at conflict resolution or people who are used to a SVN workflow, like suggested in Avoiding Git Disasters: A Gory Story. It only makes conflict resolution more tedious for them and makes it harder to recover from bad conflict resolution. Instead, use diff3 so that it's not so difficult in the first place.


Rebase workflow is not better for conflict resolution!

I am very pro-rebase for cleaning up history. However if I ever hit a conflict, I immediately abort the rebase and do a merge instead! It really kills me that people are recommending a rebase workflow as a better alternative to a merge workflow for conflict resolution (which is exactly what this question was about).

If it goes "all to hell" during a merge, it will go "all to hell" during a rebase, and potentially a lot more hell too! Here's why:

Reason #1: Resolve conflicts once, instead of once for each commit

When you rebase instead of merge, you will have to perform conflict resolution up to as many times as you have commits to rebase, for the same conflict!

Real scenario

I branch off of master to refactor a complicated method in a branch. My refactoring work is comprised of 15 commits total as I work to refactor it and get code reviews. Part of my refactoring involves fixing the mixed tabs and spaces that were present in master before. This is necessary, but unfortunately it will conflict with any change made afterward to this method in master. Sure enough, while I'm working on this method, someone makes a simple, legitimate change to the same method in the master branch that should be merged in with my changes.

When it's time to merge my branch back with master, I have two options:

git merge: I get a conflict. I see the change they made to master and merge it in with (the final product of) my branch. Done.

git rebase: I get a conflict with my first commit. I resolve the conflict and continue the rebase. I get a conflict with my second commit. I resolve the conflict and continue the rebase. I get a conflict with my third commit. I resolve the conflict and continue the rebase. I get a conflict with my fourth commit. I resolve the conflict and continue the rebase. I get a conflict with my fifth commit. I resolve the conflict and continue the rebase. I get a conflict with my sixth commit. I resolve the conflict and continue the rebase. I get a conflict with my seventh commit. I resolve the conflict and continue the rebase. I get a conflict with my eighth commit. I resolve the conflict and continue the rebase. I get a conflict with my ninth commit. I resolve the conflict and continue the rebase. I get a conflict with my tenth commit. I resolve the conflict and continue the rebase. I get a conflict with my eleventh commit. I resolve the conflict and continue the rebase. I get a conflict with my twelfth commit. I resolve the conflict and continue the rebase. I get a conflict with my thirteenth commit. I resolve the conflict and continue the rebase. I get a conflict with my fourteenth commit. I resolve the conflict and continue the rebase. I get a conflict with my fifteenth commit. I resolve the conflict and continue the rebase.

You have got to be kidding me if this is your preferred workflow. All it takes is a whitespace fix that conflicts with one change made on master, and every commit will conflict and must be resolved. And this is a simple scenario with only a whitespace conflict. Heaven forbid you have a real conflict involving major code changes across files and have to resolve that multiple times.

With all the extra conflict resolution you need to do, it just increases the possibility that you will make a mistake. But mistakes are fine in git since you can undo, right? Except of course...

Reason #2: With rebase, there is no undo!

I think we can all agree that conflict resolution can be difficult, and also that some people are very bad at it. It can be very prone to mistakes, which why it's so great that git makes it easy to undo!

When you merge a branch, git creates a merge commit that can be discarded or amended if the conflict resolution goes poorly. Even if you have already pushed the bad merge commit to the public/authoritative repo, you can use git revert to undo the changes introduced by the merge and redo the merge correctly in a new merge commit.

When you rebase a branch, in the likely event that conflict resolution is done wrong, you're screwed. Every commit now contains the bad merge, and you can't just redo the rebase*. At best, you have to go back and amend each of the affected commits. Not fun.

After a rebase, it's impossible to determine what was originally part of the commits and what was introduced as a result of bad conflict resolution.

*It can be possible to undo a rebase if you can dig the old refs out of git's internal logs, or if you create a third branch that points to the last commit before rebasing.

Take the hell out of conflict resolution: use diff3

Take this conflict for example:

<<<<<<< HEAD
TextMessage.send(:include_timestamp => true)
=======
EmailMessage.send(:include_timestamp => false)
>>>>>>> feature-branch

Looking at the conflict, it's impossible to tell what each branch changed or what its intent was. This is the biggest reason in my opinion why conflict resolution is confusing and hard.

diff3 to the rescue!

git config --global merge.conflictstyle diff3

When you use the diff3, each new conflict will have a 3rd section, the merged common ancestor.

<<<<<<< HEAD
TextMessage.send(:include_timestamp => true)
||||||| merged common ancestor
EmailMessage.send(:include_timestamp => true)
=======
EmailMessage.send(:include_timestamp => false)
>>>>>>> feature-branch

First examine the merged common ancestor. Then compare each side to determine each branch's intent. You can see that HEAD changed EmailMessage to TextMessage. Its intent is to change the class used to TextMessage, passing the same parameters. You can also see that feature-branch's intent is to pass false instead of true for the :include_timestamp option. To merge these changes, combine the intent of both:

TextMessage.send(:include_timestamp => false)

In general:

  1. Compare the common ancestor with each branch, and determine which branch has the simplest change
  2. Apply that simple change to the other branch's version of the code, so that it contains both the simpler and the more complex change
  3. Remove all the sections of conflict code other than the one that you just merged the changes together into
Alternate: Resolve by manually applying the branch's changes

Finally, some conflicts are terrible to understand even with diff3. This happens especially when diff finds lines in common that are not semantically common (eg. both branches happened to have a blank line at the same place!). For example, one branch changes the indentation of the body of a class or reorders similar methods. In these cases, a better resolution strategy can be to examine the change from either side of the merge and manually apply the diff to the other file.

Let's look at how we might resolve a conflict in a scenario where merging origin/feature1 where lib/message.rb conflicts.

  1. Decide whether our currently checked out branch (HEAD, or --ours) or the branch we're merging (origin/feature1, or --theirs) is a simpler change to apply. Using diff with triple dot (git diff a...b) shows the changes that happened on b since its last divergence from a, or in other words, compare the common ancestor of a and b with b.

    git diff HEAD...origin/feature1 -- lib/message.rb # show the change in feature1
    git diff origin/feature1...HEAD -- lib/message.rb # show the change in our branch
    
  2. Check out the more complicated version of the file. This will remove all conflict markers and use the side you choose.

    git checkout --ours -- lib/message.rb   # if our branch's change is more complicated
    git checkout --theirs -- lib/message.rb # if origin/feature1's change is more complicated
    
  3. With the complicated change checked out, pull up the diff of the simpler change (see step 1). Apply each change from this diff to the conflicting file.

Git workflow and rebase vs merge questions, "Conflicts" mean "parallel evolutions of a same content". So if it goes "all to hell" during a merge, it means you have massive evolutions on the� In this article, we’ll compare git rebase with the related git merge command and identify all of the potential opportunities to incorporate rebasing into the typical Git workflow. Conceptual Overview. The first thing to understand about git rebase is that it solves the same problem as git merge. Both of these commands are designed to


In my workflow, I rebase as much as possible (and I try to do it often. Not letting the discrepancies accumulate drastically reduces the amount and the severity of collisions between branches).

However, even in a mostly rebase-based workflow, there is a place for merges.

Recall that merge actually creates a node that has two parents. Now consider the following situation: I have two independent feature brances A and B, and now want to develop stuff on feature branch C which depends on both A and B, while A and B are getting reviewed.

What I do then, is the following:

  1. Create (and checkout) branch C on top of A.
  2. Merge it with B

Now branch C includes changes from both A and B, and I can continue developing on it. If I do any change to A, then I reconstruct the graph of branches in the following way:

  1. create branch T on the new top of A
  2. merge T with B
  3. rebase C onto T
  4. delete branch T

This way I can actually maintain arbitrary graphs of branches, but doing something more complex than the situation described above is already too complex, given that there is no automatic tool to do the rebasing when the parent changes.

Git Merge vs. Git Rebase, Git Rebase vs. Git rebase and merge both integrate changes from one branch into another. Where they differ is how it's done. Git rebase moves a feature branch into a master. Git merge adds a new commit, preserving the history. git rebase master..work and commit some stuff. git rebase master..finish the feature, commit. git rebase master. git checkout master. git merge my_new_feature. In fact, our workflow is a little different, as we tend to do squash merges instead of raw merges. (Note: This is controversial, see below.)


DO NOT use git push origin --mirror UNDER ALMOST ANY CIRCUMSTANCE.

It does not ask if you're sure you want to do this, and you'd better be sure, because it will erase all of your remote branches that are not on your local box.

http://twitter.com/dysinger/status/1273652486

An introduction to Git merge and rebase: what they are, and how to , Teams need to consider several questions when setting their Git rebase vs. merge policies. Because as it turns out, one workflow strategy is not� Let’s figure out how merge and rebase differ by going through a couple of typical Git workflow situations with this project. Merge. We believe our redesign of the letter ‘b’ is nothing short of a masterpiece, so we decide we want to bring our work back into the master branch, incorporating it into the actual project:


I have one question after reading your explanation: Could it be that you never did a

git checkout master
git pull origin
git checkout my_new_feature

before doing the 'git rebase/merge master' in your feature branch?

Because your master branch won't update automatically from your friend's repository. You have to do that with the git pull origin. I.e. maybe you would always rebase from a never-changing local master branch? And then come push time, you are pushing in a repository which has (local) commits you never saw and thus the push fails.

Git Merge vs. Rebase: What's the Diff?, Understanding the difference between Git's merge and rebase commands Often in Git workflows, developers will create feature branches to work on new If anything in the article was unclear, or you have any questions,� git merge: I get a conflict. I see the change they made to master and merge it in with (the final product of) my branch. Done. git rebase: I get a conflict with my first commit. I resolve the conflict and continue the rebase. I get a conflict with my second commit. I resolve the conflict and continue the rebase. I get a conflict with my third commit. I resolve the conflict and continue the rebase.


Git Merge vs. Rebase, You need to be more careful with rebasing than when merging. Which Method to Choose? When your team uses a feature based workflow or is� git merge vs git rebase. First point: always merge features into develop, never rebase develop from features. This is a consequence of the Golden Rule of Rebasing: The golden rule of git rebase is to never use it on public branches. In other words: Never rebase anything you've pushed somewhere.


Git Questions – How and When do I Merge or Rebase? – IntelliJ , .NET & VS Ever since Gary and I started the Git Questions video series, we've been The direction of a merge or a rebase is actually always the same: you But I do wonder that if you adopted certain git workflows (like the� Even with a merge-heavy workflow rebase and cherry-pick are still useful for particular cases: One downside to merge is cluttered history. rebase prevents a long series of commits from being scattered about in your history, as they would be if you periodically merged in others' changes. That is in fact its main purpose as I use it.


git — Rebase vs Merge. Rebasing and merging are both designed , git — Rebase vs Merge � When you do rebase a feature branch onto master, you move the base of the feature branch to master branch's ending� The answer to the Git rebase vs. Git merge workflow question is –– “it depends.” At Perforce, we believe neither the “always merge” nor “always rebase” extreme is necessary. There are use cases for both. Rebasing privately affects only the individual (prior to work being pushed).