Efficiently manage Git branches without leaving your local branch
README: fix links
README: fix ordering of example commits



You can also use your local clone with git send-email.

#git branchstack



Sometimes, I am working on multiple changes to a Git repository. I want to combine all of my changes in a single branch, but send them upstream in small, reviewable chunks. Refer to the related articles for some advantages of this workflow.

Git already supports this workflow via git format-patch and git send-email, however, many projects prefer to receive patches as pull requests. To make proposed changes easy to review, you'll want to submit a separate pull request for each independent change. With a branchstack workflow, the sole local branch typically contains multiple independent changes. To submit those as pull requests, you need to create a separate branch for each change. Running git branchstack creates the desired branches without requiring you to switch back and forth between branches. This allows you to submit small pull requests while enjoying the benefits of a branchstack workflow. After making any changes to your worktree's branch you can easily update the generated branches: just re-run git branchstack.


git branchstack currently depends on an unreleased version of git revise.

$ pip install --user git-revise@git+https://github.com/mystor/git-revise.git@e27bc1631f5da6041c2fa7e3d1f5a9fecfb3ef57
$ pip install --user git-branchstack


Create some commits with commit messages starting with [<topic>] where <topic> is a valid branch name. Then run git branchstack to create a branch <topic> with the given commits.

For example, if you have created a commit history like

$ git log --graph --oneline
* 9629a6c (HEAD -> local-branch) [some-unrelated-fix] Unrelated fix
* e764f47 [my-awesome-feature] Some more work on feature
* a9a811f [my-awesome-feature] Initial support for feature
* 28fcf9c Local commit without topic tag
* 5fb0776 (master) Initial commit

Then this command will (re)create two branches:

$ git branchstack
$ git log --graph --oneline --all
* 9629a6c (HEAD -> local-branch) [some-unrelated-fix] Unrelated fix
* e764f47 [my-awesome-feature] Some more work on feature
* a9a811f [my-awesome-feature] Initial support for feature
* 28fcf9c Local commit without topic tag
| * 7d4d166 (my-awesome-feature) Some more work on feature
| * fb0941f Initial support for feature
| * 1a37fd0 (some-unrelated-fix) Unrelated fix
* 5fb0776 (master) Initial commit

By default, git branchstack looks only at commits in the range @{upstream}..HEAD. It ignores commits whose subject does not start with a topic tag.

Created branches are based on the common ancestor of your branch and the upstream branch, that is, git merge-base @{upstream} HEAD.

To avoid conflicts, you can specify dependencies between branches. For example use [child:parent1:parent2] to base child off both parent1 and parent2. The order here does not matter because it will be determined by which topic occurs first in the commit log.

By default, when dependencies are added to generated branches, the commit message will include their topic tags. You can turn this off for all branches with the --trim-subject option, or for a single dependency by adding the + character before a dependency specification (like [child:+parent]).

If there is a merge conflict when applying a commit, you will be shown potentially missing dependencies. You can either add the missing dependencies, or resolve the conflict. You can tell Git to remember your conflict resolution by enabling git rerere (use git config rerere.enabled true; git config rerere.autoUpdate true).

Instead of the default topic tag delimiters ([ and ]), you can set Git configuration values branchstack.subjectPrefixPrefix and branchstack.subjectPrefixSuffix, respectively.

#Integrating Commits from Other Branches

You can use git-branchstack-pick to integrate other commit ranges into your branch:

$ git branchstack-pick ..some-branch

This starts an interactive rebase, prompting you to cherry-pick all missing commits from some-branch, prefixing their commit subjects with [some-branch]. Old commits with such a subject are dropped, so this allows you to quickly update to the latest upstream version of a ref that has been force-pushed.

Here's how you would use this to cherry-pick GitHub pull requests:

$ git config --add remote.origin.fetch '+refs/pull/*/head:refs/remotes/origin/pr-*'
$ git fetch origin
$ git branchstack-pick $(git merge-base origin/pr-123 HEAD)..origin/pr-123


  • You can use git revise to efficiently modify your commit messages to contain the [<topic>] tags. This command lets you edit all commit messages in @{upstream}..HEAD.

    $ git revise --interactive --edit

    Like git revise, you can use git branchstack during an interactive rebase.

  • git-autofixup can eliminate some of the busywork involved in creating fixup commits.

#Peer Projects

While git branchstack only offers one command and relies on standard Git tools for everything else, there are some tools that offer a more comprehensive set of commands to achieve a similar workflow:

Unlike its peers, git branchstack never modifies any worktree files, since it uses git revise internally. This makes it faster, and avoids invalidating builds.


Submit feedback at https://github.com/krobelus/git-branchstack/ or to the public mailing list by sending email to mailto:~krobelus/git-branchless@lists.sr.ht.