The simple workflow I want to describe has two guiding principles:
- Main default branch is always production-like and deployable.
- Rebase during feature development, explicit (non fast-forward) merge when done.
Pulling change-sets using rebase rewrites the history of the branch you’re working on and keeps your changes on top.
1. Create a Github issue
Use a Issue template to provide a skeleton of all the details needed for a good issue.
2. Pull latest changes from Main default branch
git pull origin main
3. Branch off to isolate the feature or bug-fix work in a branch
Now create a branch for the feature or bug-fix:
git checkout -b feature/ISSUE-123-awesome-feature
The branch name structure I show here is just the one we use, but you can pick any convention you feel comfortable with.
4. Commit messages
Work on the feature as long as needed. Make sure your commits are meaningful and do not cluster separate changes together.
Use Conventional Commits Structured as follows:
<type>([optional scope]): <description> More details about the change resolves #GITHUB_ISSUE_ID
- feat: Introduce new features.
- fix: Fix a bug.
- docs: Add or update documentation.
- style: Improve structure / format of the code.
- refactor: Refactor code.
- perf: Improve performance.
- test: Add or update tests.
- ci: Add or update CI build system.
- chore: Add or update configuration files.
- revert: Revert changes.
5. Frequently push your branch remotely
Always push commits to remote so that if your local machine fails you do not lose work. Sharing your work also allows for soliciting feedback from reviewers.
git push -u origin ISSUE-123-awesome-feature (if the branch is already set as 'upstream' and your remote is called 'origin', 'git push' is enough)
6. Create a pull request
- Add reviews
- Add Labels
- Use Pull Request template
- Link Issue
7. Rebase to keep your feature branch fresh and up to date with the latest changes in master
Every once in a while during the development update the feature branch with the latest changes in master. You can do this with:
git fetch origin git rebase origin/master
In the (somewhat less common) case where other people are also working on the same shared remote feature branch, also rebase changes coming from it:
git rebase origin/feature/ISSUE-123-awesome-feature
At this point solve any conflicts that come out of the rebase.
Resolving conflicts during the rebase allows you to have always clean merges at the end of the feature development. It also keeps your feature branch history clean and focused without spurious noise.
8. Perform a final rebase cleanup after the pull request has been approved
Before the review is done, it's good to perform a final cleanup and scrub of the feature branch commit history to remove spurious commits that are not providing relevant information. In some cases – if your team is experienced and they can handle it – you can rebase also during development, but I strongly advise against it.
git rebase -i origin/main
(At this point if you have rewritten the history of a published branch and provided that no one else will commit to it or use it, you might need to push your changes using the –force flag).
9. Once approved, merge to main branch
When finished with the development of the feature branch and reviewers have reviewed your work, merge using the flag –no-ff. This will preserve the context of the work and will make it easy to revert the whole feature if needed. Here are the commands:
git checkout master git pull origin master git merge --no-ff ISSUE-123-awesome-feature
If you followed the advice above and you have used rebase to keep your feature branch up to date, the actual merge commit will not include any changes; this is cool! The merge commit becomes just a marker that stores the context about the feature branch.
Useful .gitconfig option to toggle
Instruct git that every pull uses rebase instead than merge and it preserves while doing so:
git config --global branch.autosetuprebase always git config --global pull.rebase preserve
Not everyone likes to change the default behavior of core commands so you should only incorporate the above if you understand its implications. See Stack Overflow for details on preserve merges.