Git Merge

Git Merge

The git merge command will merge any changes that were made to the code base on a seperate branch to your current branch.

The command syntax is as follows:

git merge BRANCH-NAME

For example, if you are currently working in a branch named dev and would like to merge any new changes that were made in a branch named new-features, you would issue the following command:

git merge new-features

Please Note: If there are any uncommitted changes on your current branch, Git will not allow you to merge until all changes in your current branch have been committed. To handle those changes, you can either:

  • Create a new branch and commit the changes
git checkout -b new-branch-name git add . git commit -m "<your commit message>"
  • Stash them
git stash # add them to the stash git merge new-features # do your merge git stash pop # get the changes back into your working tree
  • Abandon it all
git reset --hard # removes all pending changes

Merge Conflict

A merge conflict is when you make commits on separate branches that alter the same line in conflicting ways. Therefore Git will not know which version of the file to keep

resulting in the error message:

Merge conflict in resume.txt Automatic merge failed; fix conflicts and then commit the result.

In the code editor Git uses markings to indicate the HEAD (master) version of the file and the other version of the file.

<<<<<<< HEAD

>>>>>>> OTHER

From the code editor delete/update to resolve conflict and remove the special markings including the HEAD and OTHER file names, reload your file, then re add and recommit your changes.

Points to Note

Whenever a merge is done, an extra merge commit is created. Whenever you are working in your local repository, having too many merge commits can make the commit history look confusing. One way to avoid the merge commit is to use git rebase instead. Git rebase is covered in the git-rebase section.

Rebase is a great functionality but it has some issues as well. Rebase basically alters the commit history. So if rebase is used in the remote repository then it can create a lot of confusion. As much as possible, run rebase only on a local repository.

Both git merge and git rebase are very useful commands and one is not better than the other.

For more information about the git merge command and all available options, please refer to the Git documentation.

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