tutorial - github rebase and merge




What's the difference between 'git merge' and 'git rebase'? (4)

What's the difference between git merge and git rebase?


While the accepted and most upvoted answer is great, I additionally find it useful trying to explain the difference only by words:

merge

  • “okay, we got two differently developed states of our repository. Let's merge them together. Two parents, one resulting child.”

rebase

  • “Give the changes of the main branch (whatever its name) to my feature branch. Do so by pretending my feature work started later, in fact on the current state of the main branch.”
  • “Rewrite the history of my changes to reflect that.” (need to force-push them, because normally versioning is all about not tampering with given history)
  • “Likely —if the changes I raked in have little to do with my work— history actually won't change much, if I look at my commits diff by diff (you may also think of ‘patches’).“

summary: When possible, rebase is almost always better. Making re-integration into the main branch easier.

Because? ➝ your feature work can be presented as one big ‘patch file’ (aka diff) in respect to the main branch, not having to ‘explain’ multiple parents: At least two, coming from one merge, but likely many more, if there were several merges. Unlike merges, multiple rebases do not add up. (another big plus)


For easy understand can see my figure.

Rebase will change commit hash, so that if you want to avoid much of conflict, just use rebase when that branch is done/complete as stable.


I really love this excerpt from 10 Things I hate about git (it gives a short explanation for rebase in its second example):

3. Crappy documentation

The man pages are one almighty “f*** you”1. They describe the commands from the perspective of a computer scientist, not a user. Case in point:

git-push – Update remote refs along with associated objects

Here’s a description for humans:

git-push – Upload changes from your local repository into a remote repository

Update, another example: (thanks cgd)

git-rebase – Forward-port local commits to the updated upstream head

Translation:

git-rebase – Sequentially regenerate a series of commits so they can be 
             applied directly to the head node

And then we have

git-merge - Join two or more development histories together

which is a good description.


1. uncensored in the original


Personally I don't find the standard diagramming technique very helpful - the arrows always seem to point the wrong way for me. (They generally point towards the "parent" of each commit, which ends up being backwards in time, which is weird).

To explain it in words:

  • When you rebase your branch onto their branch, you tell Git to make it look as though you checked out their branch cleanly, then did all your work starting from there. That makes a clean, conceptually simple package of changes that someone can review. You can repeat this process again when there are new changes on their branch, and you will always end up with a clean set of changes "on the tip" of their branch.
  • When you merge their branch into your branch, you tie the two branch histories together at this point. If you do this again later with more changes, you begin to create an interleaved thread of histories: some of their changes, some of my changes, some of their changes. Some people find this messy or undesirable.

For reasons I don't understand, GUI tools for Git have never made much of an effort to present merge histories more cleanly, abstracting out the individual merges. So if you want a "clean history", you need to use rebase.

I seem to recall having read blog posts from programmers who only use rebase and others that never use rebase.

Example

I'll try explaining this with a just-words example. Let's say other people on your project are working on the user interface, and you're writing documentation. Without rebase, your history might look something like:

Write tutorial
Merge remote-tracking branch 'origin/master' into fixdocs
Bigger buttons
Drop down list
Extend README
Merge remote-tracking branch 'origin/master' into fixdocs
Make window larger
Fix a mistake in howto.md

That is, merges and UI commits in the middle of your documentation commits.

If you rebased your code onto master instead of merging it, it would look like this:

Write tutorial
Extend README
Fix a mistake in howto.md
Bigger buttons
Drop down list
Make window larger

All of your commits are at the top (newest), followed by the rest of the master branch.

(Disclaimer: I'm the author of the "10 things I hate about Git" post referred to in another answer)





git-rebase