After reading A successful Git branching model [nvie.com], which I consider one of the best graphical/textual depictions of the ideal Git model for development teams (and most large projects), I simply wanted to adapt a similar (but way less complex) model for some of my smaller sites and multisite Drupal installs.
Since I'm (almost always) the only developer, and I develop locally, I don't want the complexity of working on many branches at once (master, hotfixes, develop, release, staging, etc...), but I do want to have a clean separation between what I'm working on and the actual live master branch that I deploy to the server.
So, I've adopted a simple 'feature branch model' for my smaller projects:
- master - the live/production code. Only touch when merging in a feature or simply fixing little bugs or really pressing problems.
- [issue-number]-feature-branches - Where I work on stuff.
Any time I work on something more complicated than a simple styling tweak, or a fix for a WSOD or something like that, I simply create a feature branch (usually with an issue number that matches up to my internal tracking system). Something like 374-add-node-wizard:
# create (-b) and checkout the 374-add-node-wizard branch.
$ git checkout -b 374-add-node-wizard
While I'm working on the node wizard (which could take a week or two), I might make a couple little fixes on the master branch. After I make the fixes on master (switch to it using
$ git checkout master), I switch back to my feature branch and rebase my feature branch:
$ git checkout 374-add-node-wizard # switch back to the feature branch
$ git rebase master # pull in all the latest code from the master branch
I can also create simple .patch files off a branch to pass my work to another server or a friend if I want (I like using patches instead of pushing around branches, simply because patch files are easier for people to grok than more complicated git maneuvers):
# create a diff/patch file from the checked out branch.
$ git diff master..374-add-node-wizard > 374-add-node-wizard-patch.patch
When I finish my work on the feature branch, I switch back to master, merge in the branch, and delete the branch. All done!
$ git checkout master # switch back to master
$ git merge --no-ff 374-add-node-wizard # merge feature branch back into master
$ git branch -d 374-add-node-wizard # delete the feature branch
Finally, I test everything to make sure it's working fine in master, and then push the code changes up to the server.
Since I'm developing alone, this is a lot easier than a more complicated branching setup, and it allows me to work on as many features as I want, without fear of messing things up on master, or having merge conflicts (I rebase early and often).
(Note: I usually work in the command line, because I'm more comfortable knowing what git is doing that way... but I often open up Tower (imo, the best application for visual Git) to inspect branches, commits, and merges/rebases... some people would probably rather just use Tower for everything).
(Note 2: When creating patches to send to someone that include binary files (like a png or a gif, jpeg, whatever), make sure you use
$ git diff --full-index --binary [old]..[new] > patchfile.patch so git doesn't barf when you try applying the patch on someone else's end...).