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Retrospectively creating a branch in GIT

I often do this – I work away on my master branch and suddenly realise ‘damn I should have branched before I started this’. Usually this happens because what I think will be a trivial change snowballs into something much more sweeping. I thought I would record here how to deal with situations like this... Read more »

Retrospectively creating a branch in GIT

I often do this - I work away on my master branch and suddenly realise 'damn I should have branched before I started this'. Usually this happens because what I think will be a trivial change snowballs into something much more sweeping. I thought I would record here how to deal with situations like this by retroactively creating a branch and rolling master back to a previous state. Note: backup your data first and this is only ideal if you haven't pushed changes to a remote repo yet.

So here was the situation. My last 'known good' state was 8399227db and I wanted to move all subsequent work out of master and into a branch. So first lets create that branch starting from the last known good state:

git branch refactor_branch 8399227db

Next I check out the branch and merge all the changes from master into it:

git checkout refactor_branch
git merge master

Now I switch back to master and chuck away all changes made since the branch point (did I mention you should backup your work first?):

git checkout master
git reset --hard 8399227db

So I rebased the master branch to an older commit. Now I push my branch up to the remote repository and breath a sigh of relief that my work is backed up in the cloud and master remains usable for others working on it:

git push origin refactor_branch

As a last couple of steps, I remove my local branch and checkout the remote branch as a tracking branch:

git branch -D riab_to_inasafe
git branch --track riab_to_inasafe origin/riab_to_inasafe
git checkout riab_to_inasafe

Git being git, there are probably a thousand other ways to accomplish the same thing, but the above process works for me!

Learning GIT

For source code management in the QGIS project we have been happily using subversion for some time now, having made a not-too-painful transition over from CVS several years ago. Lately we have bandied around the idea of moving over to GIT. This is mostly out of fear of being called bad things by Linus Torvalds for using SVN (ok I'm kidding). Actually there are a lot of technical reasons why a move over to GIT would work well for us - not least of which is the idea of easier merging of branches and the redunancy offered by multiple repos being 'out there'.

Adding a little impetus to my interest in learning GIT is the fact that more people are using it for managing their code so I need to update my skills to be able to collaborate with them effectively.

All this brings me to my real point: today I found a great resource which provides a guide for those familiar with SVN and wanting to migrate to GIT.

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