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Why I <3 git rebase

I recently started adding a new feature to one of my projects. The first thing I typically do in this scenario:

git checkout -b name-of-feature current-version (replacing name-of-feature and current-version appropriately)

Now as I'm working on this I may bump into something that if I were to refactor would make this new feature a lot a lot simpler to implement.

If I were using only subversion and I started on this refactoring I would have a source history that looks something like:

Added migration for table x

Created new models + tests for feature X

Renamed class foo to bar

Refactored some service into separate services

next change for feature x

fixed bug 370 reported by QA

another change for feature X


Which isn't bad persay, but it would be better if things were in their proper order. I also don't like that I would have to commit some incomplete implementation of feature X just to fix a bug. If I had a little better foresight and planning I might have fixed the bug first, then done that refactoring that will make feature X simpler then actually implemented feature X. Fortunately git makes this pretty easy to do.

Here's what my output of git branch might be:


In my graph here a - represents a commit and | a branch point
What this says is that I started adding feature x, did some refactoring, stopped to fix a bug and continued my refactoring after.

Just because things happened in this order is no reason that history must say they did. I guess I like the Back to the Future theory of time travel better than Terminator.

Since I haven't shared these changes yet, I can fix up my history.

git co fix-bug-370
git rebase v1.2

I now have


       |                             |
       |                              ---------refactor-some-service-----


And a couple more times:

git co refactor-some-service
git rebase fix-bug-370
git co add-feature-x
git rebase refactor-some-service

So that I now have                                                                           


                                                                                      ---- add-feature-x

Which when I eventually do

git co v1.2
git merge add-feature-x

Will produce a nice linear history in the order things should have happened.

Published Feb 14 2008, 07:27 AM by chrisortman
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