Care and keeping of pull requests, part ii

30 Jun 2015

See first post disclaimer

Scenario: You now have a copy of the main repository and your own local changes (which are also now on your remote copy). What if you want to look at someone else’s changes, that they have made in their local copy and pushed to their remote repository? You could just clone their remote repository, but it’s nice to be able to have your work and their work within the same local repository. Is it possible? Yes it is!

(This is also just a handy technique to know about if you’re going to be mucking around with multiple remote repositories.)

In what follows, our collaborator’s username is mario, and he has added changes to the mario-kart repository under the mushroom branch.

Fetching someone else’s remote repository

Fetching a copy of someone else’s remote repository is great, because by itself it will never break anything or cause conflicts. The first thing to do is add the other remote repository to your list of remotes.

$ git remote add mario

You can call the remote whatever you want - I often use the username of the owner so I have less to remember.

Once the remote is added, fetch its contents:

$ git fetch mario

It may seem like nothing has happened, but the fetch command has pulled down all the commits from the Mario’s repository (including all their branches) and stored them in your repository, but not in a visible way. To see all these fetched branches, use:

$ git branch -a

Aha! You should see a list of normally visible (that is, local) branches and then a list of invisible branches (branches that haven’t been checked out locally yet). To make a particular branch visible, keep reading.

Checking out someone else’s development branch

Maybe I want to actually look at Mario’s mushroom branch (which would be signified by mario/mushroom in the full list of branches given by git branch -a). There are different ways to deal with remote branches, but I think the easiest is to check them out locally. With two commands, it looks like this:

$ git branch marios-changes mario/mushroom
$ git checkout marios-changes

With one command, like this:

$ git checkout -b marios-changes mario/mushroom

Either one of these options will a) create a new local branch called marios-changes (you can call it whatever you want) b) link that new local branch to Mario’s patch that you pulled down from his repository (mario/mushroom) and c) checkout that new branch. You now have a branch just like any other, that can be committed to, merged and even updated using:

$ git checkout marios-changes
$ git pull mario mushroom

(This pulls changes from the mushroom branch in the mario remote repository into your local copy of the branch, called marios-changes).

how-to » git, collaboration, care and keeping of prs,

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