Git: rebasing workflow and resolving merge conflicts

Simple rebase/merge workflow and how to deal with possible merge conflicts.

So you’re building a feature on a feature branch called some-feature-branch, it takes you, say, 3 days to finish it. While you were busy building your feature, your co worker merged his/hers feature to master, so there’s new stuff in master that you need to somehow get to your branch. Handy way of doing that is to rebase the changes to some-feature-branch before merging some-feature-branch to master.

Here’s how that workflow goes.

Rebase master to feature-branch

$ git checkout master
# Pull in the new stuff
$ git pull origin master

# Checkout your feature and rebase master to it
$ git checkout some-feature-branch
$ git rebase master

Next, Git will try to move the new commits in master to the tip of your some-feature-branch. Here’s what might happen:

  1. Hopefully not, but most likely yes, Git will whine about merge conflicts.
  2. Solve the conflicts by opening the files that have conflict, remove the inserted markers, and make it look like you want it to be.
  3. $ git add <file-name> or in one clump $ git add -A.
  4. $ git rebase --continue.
  5. Rinse and repeat until Git stops whining.

Dealing with merge conflicts in dist files

You might have CSS or JavaScript files in the dist/ directory (or build, or whatever you named it) that are generated automatically by a build task, like Sass or r.js. You can exclude the whole dist dir from the repo, but if you’re like me, and use Git to deploy the project also, that’s not doable.

I haven’t really found a good solution to this, other than just ignoring them by blindly adding all files in dist and continue with the rebase. Then, of course, run the build script after the rebase is done.

  1. $ git add dist/
  2. $ git rebase --continue

Now there’s tons of merge conflicts in your dist/*.css and dist/*.js files and that’s why you need to run your build task again.

We’re done with the rebasing, great! Lets look at merging the feature branch to master.

Merge feature branch to master

This should be a cakewalk now, since we just resolved all the merge conflicts, all you need to do is:

$ git checkout master
$ git rebase some-feature-branch


If you’re interested I have a more detailed article about rebasing and merging.

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