Head of DevRel
Most people use
git merge to get changes from a feature branch into the main branch, but there are other ways. Have you ever come across the term "git rebase" and wondered what it was? Or maybe you've heard of both "rebase" and "merge" but aren't sure when to use which? Fear not, as today's post is all about the ins and outs of
Interested in going deeper? Checkout "A Hands-on Guide to Git Rebase & Resolving Conflicts"
git rebase, we first need to get a grasp of Git itself. Git is a distributed version control system, which means that it helps manage changes to projects over time. Think of it like a magical time machine for your code; it allows you to travel back and forth between different versions.
git rebase is a command that helps you integrate changes from one branch to another. Imagine you're building a LEGO tower. You've built a strong base, but halfway through, you decide to change the foundation without disturbing the upper blocks. That's what rebasing does - it changes the base of your branch.
In technical terms, rebasing is the process of moving or combining a sequence of commits to a new base commit.
To dive deeper, let's compare
rebase with its cousin,
merge. Assume you have a git repo with a main branch and a feature branch, and you want to get the feature branch changes into the main branch. Your repo may look like this:
The "standard" approach is to
merge the feature branch into the main branch. This creates a new commit on the main branch that adds the cumulative changes and adds it to the main branch as a merge commit. This keeps the history of that other feature branch in case you ever need it.
Alternatively, you could
rebase your code. This will take the changes of your feature branch and append them to the main branch, which effectively removes the history as a separate branch of work.
Here's another way to look at it: let's say you're writing a story. Merging is like adding a chapter in the middle that explains what happened in previous chapters. Rebasing, on the other hand, is like rearranging the chapters to make the story flow better.
Just like everything in the tech world, rebasing comes with its benefits and drawbacks.
Considering its pros and cons, here's when you might consider using
However, remember not to rebase public branches or branches shared with other developers, as it can cause confusion and conflicts.
"Don't rebase branches you've shared with another developer. Rebase is great for making your local commits more clear, but it's a change-rewriting command. Once commits are out in the public, you should consider them immutable."
-iFlag: The interactive mode (
git rebase -i) allows you to squash, edit, or reorder commits as needed.
git rebase --abortto cancel the rebase and revert to the original state.