Git Branch

Working with Git Branches

In Git, a branch is a new/separate version of the main repository.

Let's say you have a large project, and you need to update the design on it.

How would that work without and with Git:

Without Git:

  • Make copies of all the relevant files to avoid impacting the live version
  • Start working with the design and find that code depend on code in other files, that also need to be changed!
  • Make copies of the dependant files as well. Making sure that every file dependency references the correct file name
  • EMERGENCY! There is an unrelated error somewhere else in the project that needs to be fixed ASAP!
  • Save all your files, making a note of the names of the copies you were working on
  • Work on the unrelated error and update the code to fix it
  • Go back to the design, and finish the work there
  • Copy the code or rename the files, so the updated design is on the live version
  • (2 weeks later, you realize that the unrelated error was not fixed in the new design version because you copied the files before the fix)

With Git:

  • With a new branch called new-design, edit the code directly without impacting the main branch
  • EMERGENCY! There is an unrelated error somewhere else in the project that needs to be fixed ASAP!
  • Create a new branch from the main project called small-error-fix
  • Fix the unrelated error and merge the small-error-fix branch with the main branch
  • You go back to the new-design branch, and finish the work there
  • Merge the new-design branch with main (getting alerted to the small error fix that you were missing)

Branches allow you to work on different parts of a project without impacting the main branch.

When the work is complete, a branch can be merged with the main project.

You can even switch between branches and work on different projects without them interfering with each other.

Branching in Git is very lightweight and fast!

New Git Branch

Let add some new features to our index.html page.

We are working in our local repository, and we do not want to disturb or possibly wreck the main project.

So we create a new branch:


git branch hello-world-images

Now we created a new branch called "hello-world-images"

Let's confirm that we have created a new branch:


git branch


* master

We can see the new branch with the name "hello-world-images", but the * beside master specifies that we are currently on that branch.

checkout is the command used to check out a branch. Moving us from the current branchto the one specified at the end of the command:


git checkout hello-world-images

Switched to branch 'hello-world-images'

Now we have moved our current workspace from the master branch, to the new branch

Open your favourite editor and make some changes.

For this example, we added an image (img_hello_world.jpg) to the working folder and a line of code in the index.html file:


<!DOCTYPE html>
<title>Hello World!</title>
<link rel="stylesheet" href="bluestyle.css">

<h1>Hello world!</h1>
<div><img src="img_hello_world.jpg" alt="Hello World from Space"
<p>This is the first file in my new Git Repo.</p>
<p>A new line in our file!</p>


We have made changes to a file and added a new file in the working directory (same directory as the main branch).

Now check the status of the current branch:


git status

On branch hello-world-images

Changes not staged for commit:

  (use "git add ..." to update what will be committed)

  (use "git restore ..." to discard changes in working directory)

        modified:   index.html


Untracked files:

  (use "git add ..." to include in what will be committed)



no changes added to commit (use "git add" and/or "git commit -a")

So let's go through what happens here:

  • There are changes to our index.html, but the file is not staged for commit
  • img_hello_world.jpg is not tracked

So we need to add both files to the Staging Environment for this branch:


git add --all

Using --all instead of individual filenames will Stage all changed (new, modified, and deleted) files.

Check the status of the branch:


git status

On branch hello-world-images

Git Branch