Git daily usage

If you’re like most developers nowadays you make an extensive usage of git across a large number of repositories.

The now-classic branching model that consists in using a branch for every fix / feature / experiment before creating a merge request is perfect for collaborating efficiently. However it comes with one downside, local branches can quickly become messy and removing stale branches is not that easy

Removing remote branches

git is a really well designed tool and removing remote references from your local repository is easily done by

git remote prune origin

This will remove local references to non existing branches, however it is not useful to remember this command, we can configure git so that it prunes automatically on fetching :

git config --global fetch.prune true

Removing local branches

This is where things can be quite messy, as local branches might have been merged, rebased, or squashed, and “classic” commands allowing to detected merged branches are not always working as they ought.

If you search how to clean up local branches, you might find a lot of commands involving git branch --merged with grep and xargs all the way.

I found out a little neat tool to do so, called git-gone (github/lunaryorn/git-gone), written in Rust 🧡

Install it

As all rust project, it is packaged and easy to install using cargo

cargo install git-gone

List branches to prune

Before doing anything silly, we can list the branches that are candidate to removal (the -f flag forces fetching remote)

$ git gone -f list

Prune’em all

And finally, you can remove them (the -f flag is still here to sync with remote)

$ git gone -f prune
Deleted feature/asciidoc (restore with `git checkout -b feature/asciidoc 8f007a`)
Deleted fix/imageCompress (restore with `git checkout -b fix/imageCompress af523b`)

git-gone is even clever enough to give you the command to restore a branch if change your mind (as long as you did not git gc the revision is still available locally, so you can restore it)

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