On Wed, 2013-05-22 at 20:02 +0100, Roddie wrote:
> This is just an example. The general point is about how branches are 
> not, in reality, completely independent, and work on one can affect
> another.
> What should I do?
> I have the feeling that I'm missing the point about branches. Everyone
> raves about them, but they seem to fail as soon as the complexity of
> the real world kicks in.

I've read the replies here but unless I'm misunderstanding the problem
they seem more complex than necessary.

Yes, of course, ideally in the real world you'd have perfect foresight
and every change would be self-contained and made on an individual
branch and you can just use "git merge" to pull them together.  But life
is not perfect, and for sure foresight is not perfect.  Suggesting that
you can't use branches unless you gain such foresight, or that it's more
painful to branch than not in the "real world", is doing branching (and
Git) a disservice.

The first thing to do is get into the habit of making individual commits
that constitute single, relatively atomic changes.  It's not always easy
to retrain yourself but it will pay off big-time.  This is made a LOT
easier if you have a decent front-end for Git: if you use Emacs I can't
recommend "magit" enough for this.  With the right front-end, creating
commits is trivial; it will even let you choose individual patch hunks
to commit while leaving the rest of the file for later commits.  You can
make lots of changes, then go through later and commit them in parts.

If you've done that, then if you decide you need one of those commits on
another branch, you can use the "git cherry-pick" command to trivially
grab a commit from another branch and apply it to your current branch.

But what if, for whatever reason, you just want the contents of a file
or two from another branch, but not an entire commit?  It's trivial; see
this Git tip:


(TL;DR: use "git checkout <otherbranch> <file1> <file2> ...)

What if you only want parts of the other file, or the other file is
changed locally so you want to "merge" it, not just replace it?  This is
also trivial, see this SO discussion (a shame no one accepted the
answer :-/):


(TL;DR: use "git checkout --patch <otherbranch> <file1> <file2> ...)

Upshot: branches definitely _ARE_ "all that" and you should be using
them as much as possible.  They do not have any problems whatsoever
handling the complexity of the real world.


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