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Git Branching Model: Types and Pros & Cons

Arpatech Jun 09, 2021
Git Branching Model: Types and Pros & Cons

Git is the finest tool that provides a great feature on the virtual front. It controls the information for the code of when and how they can be properly kept. Git is presented as a distributed tool and can allow you to get the bonus changes upon collaboration with a series of repositories.

What is a Git Branching Model?

A git branching model outlines the branding strategy Git entails. It explains how and when a developer can make alterations according to their needs and connect them to your codebase.

Git branching model showcases the simple tricks to accelerate the process of feedback delivery to developers. The major purpose of the Git branching model is to develop the patterns that are designed to conquer the challenges that you can construct with Git.

Types of Git Branching Models

Here are some of the Git branching models along with their pros and cons.

1.      Git Flow Branching Model

Git Flow consists of two essential branches:

  • Main branch or Master branch
  • Development branch

The main branch acts as the production branch. The code placed in this branch is considered to be the most stable.

While the function of the development branch is to integrate all the changes that are required in the system. First, the code is tested, and then it is merged with the main branch.

The branching strategy you choose decides the supporting branches that will be involved in the process such as release branches, feature branches, and hotfixes, to name a few.

Pros of Git Flow

The Git Flow is the best model for the development lifecycle as it assists in the stability of a release. This allows the developers to follow a pattern that is specifically designed for each. The trick is to keep the development branch and main branch separately for the safety of your production code.

Cons of Git Flow

Since there is no association of the branches, it gives a troublesome history to comprehend the cause of issues that may occur. It creates problems for the developers as Git Flow complexity takes quite some time in the merging process even if fewer merge conflicts are causing the delay in the release.

2.     GitLab Flow Branching Model

GitLab Flow highlights the future-oriented development procedures.

What sets GitLab apart from the Git Flow branching model?

The main difference that helps differentiate GitLab from Git Flow is the issue tracking feature and the environment it is set in.

In GitLab Flow, the main branch is the base branch. To work on codes, the developers have to utilize the feature branch. This further proceeds with the pull request when the task is complete. When it is approved, the changes are then merged into the main branch. Subsequently, they are taken out in the environment for testing purposes.

Teams who make use of the GitLab model require a pre-production environment, staging area, and post-production environment.

Pros of GitLab

GitLab is the safe haven for premature codes as it allows us to keep them separate. This presents as a huge advantage, unlike Git Flow where the history is cleaned.

GitLab helps in ruling out the issues in the main branch in case of finding them out in the production phase.

GitLab gives complete transparency between code and the issue tracker. This allows in detecting errors and keeping a record of the history.

Cons of GitLab

With the variety of environments in the GitLab, it gets a little tricky to implement CI/CD. Hence, when the code goes through a multitude of staging areas, the delay in the release is expected.

3.    GitHub Flow Branching Model

In simpler terms, GitHub Flow is a more straightforward and easier version of Git Flow. It is best suited for smaller groups as is there is no task for the management for several environments and versions.

The process begins with the main branch that is checked by developers to perform their respective tasks. Once the change is complete, it opens up a pull quest, the work is assessed and, on its basis, it is merged back to the main.

The GitHub flow branching model has similar properties as the trunk-based development.

Pros of Git Hub flow

GitHub is easy and quite light which helps in the workflow for CI/CD. It is perfect for smaller teams because they are mainly automating, testing and operating in a single branch. Since the work is essentially done off the main branch, it helps in tighter controls and testing.

Cons of GitHub Flow

Every change is merged into the main branch due to which, there is a risk of production staying unstable.

For bigger teams, this model can get costly for the merge because when everyone merges into a single branch, the transparency of other team member’s work is greatly compromised. Therefore, to make up for it, a big team uses tagging that enables the developers to understand the stability measure. However, with time these tags become confusing and outdated.

In a nutshell

Git has proven to be extremely useful in the past couple of years for some solid projects that require a great workforce and a strong branching model for understanding. It is hoped that the basics of Git branching model and its types serve the best purpose in your development journey.

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