Using git

Before you can start using Git, you need to generate an SSH key and add the public part of the key to your GitHub and Bitbucket accounts. That way, you can interact with private repositories without entering your username and password all the time. Just remember to clone the repository using the SSH clone URL.

Git Flow

We use a variant of the Git Flow workflow. There are some differences between our variant and the linked document. The main one is that we don't need the master branch. Also, on most projects, we don't use release branches.

Git Flow

By definition, there are two main branches - master and dev. The master branch contains only published code at all times, and each release is tagged with the version number. The dev branch serves for integration of various features/fixes developed in separate branches.

We noticed that the master branch is not used that often. Since we have tags on release commits, having a branch that only contains published code seems unnecessary. That is why, for the simplicity, we only keep the dev branch as the main branch and track releases via tags.

Git tagging

Before releasing the app on PlayStore, the release has to be tagged with the version number. Also, provide a short description for the release. Here's an example of adding a tag:

git tag -a 3.0.0 -m “The best version ever“
git push --tags

You can find more info about tagging here.

Naming conventions

The development branch should always be named dev for consistency across projects.

Branches are named according to their use, and words are delimited by dashes. Some examples:


Starting work on a new feature

git checkout dev
git checkout -b feature/login-screen

Merging the feature into dev

The preferred way of merging a branch back into dev is by creating a pull request and assigning it to a colleague for review.

There are two different roles in every pull request—the assignee and the reviewer. Reviewers are your colleagues who review your pull request, whereas the assignee is the person responsible for merging or cancelling the pull request—in other words, you.

If the branch cannot be merged back into dev because of a merge conflict, you need to fix the conflict on your feature branch by either rebasing from dev

git checkout feature/login-screen
git rebase dev

or by merging dev into your branch

git checkout feature/login-screen
git merge dev

Release branches

Most projects have one active development stream at the moment. This means that all new changes should be included in the next upcoming release. Because of this, all changes can be merged into the dev branch without the need to introduce multiple release branches.

However, some projects have multiple releases planned ahead. It is possible that, at some point, a development team will work on multiple releases at the same time. In that case, release branches should be introduced and handled in the same manner as the main dev branch. You can use regex to match all the release branches and not worry about protecting the newly created ones. Note: If you want to delete a protected branch on GitHub you will need to remove the protection because this can't be done, even with admin privileges.

When working with release branches, it needs to be clear which task should be included in which version. If you are not sure, ask the project manager before starting the task. In (Productive)[], release versions can be defined with tags or boards. In (JIRA)[], you can track the status of each release and define a Fix version/s attribute on a task.

After releasing a new version from the release branch, make sure to create a new tag with that version from the last commit in that branch. Then you can merge the release branch into the dev branch. Don't forget to also update all other active release branches.

Commit early, commit often

Don't forget to commit and push your code to the remote repository. This will protect you against losing your hard work. Make small commits with meaningful commit messages and push at least once a day.

Don't commit generated code

Generated code does not belong in the repo. Use the .gitginore file to exclude it. This file can be generated using the tool. All you need to do is write a few keywords (such as MacOS, Android, IntellJ, Android Studio), and the tool will generate the file content for you.

Don't commit chunks of commented out code

Don't comment out code and commit it to the repository so you can 'uncomment it if you ever need it again'. This creates a mess in the code and makes it less readable. It's easy to return to an earlier commit and look up the code that you removed, so there is no need to leave commented code lying around everywhere.

Resolving merge conflicts

Resolving conflicts in Android Studio

Android Studio has a great built-in tool for resolving merge conflicts. You can find it in VCSVCS Operations Popup. Before you can use this tool, select Git as your VCS for your project under PreferencesVersion Control. You can find more details about the tool here.

Quick trick

For a quick overview of your commit messages for today and yesterday, you can use the following aliases:

alias today='git log --since=6am --format="* %s" --author="$(git config" --reverse -- | pbcopy'
alias yesterday='git log --since=yesterday.6am --until=6am --format="* %s" --author="$(git config" --reverse -- | pbcopy'