.5 Git Basics - Working with Remotes
Working with Remotes
To be able to collaborate on any Git project, you need to know how to manage your remote repositories. Remote repositories are versions of your project that are hosted on the Internet or network somewhere. You can have several of them, each of which generally is either read-only or read/write for you. Collaborating with others involves managing these remote repositories and pushing and pulling data to and from them when you need to share work. Managing remote repositories includes knowing how to add remote repositories, remove remotes that are no longer valid, manage various remote branches and define them as being tracked or not, and more. In this section, we’ll cover these remote-management skills.
To see which remote servers you have configured, you can run the
git remote command. It lists the shortnames of each remote handle you’ve specified. If you’ve cloned your repository, you should at least see origin — that is the default name Git gives to the server you cloned from:
$ git clone git://github.com/schacon/ticgit.git Cloning into 'ticgit'... remote: Reusing existing pack: 1857, done. remote: Total 1857 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0) Receiving objects: 100% (1857/1857), 374.35 KiB | 193.00 KiB/s, done. Resolving deltas: 100% (772/772), done. Checking connectivity... done. $ cd ticgit $ git remote origin
You can also specify
-v, which shows you the URL that Git has stored for the shortname to be expanded to:
$ git remote -v origin git://github.com/schacon/ticgit.git (fetch) origin git://github.com/schacon/ticgit.git (push)
If you have more than one remote, the command lists them all. For example, my Grit repository looks something like this.
$ cd grit $ git remote -v bakkdoor git://github.com/bakkdoor/grit.git cho45 git://github.com/cho45/grit.git defunkt git://github.com/defunkt/grit.git koke git://github.com/koke/grit.git origin firstname.lastname@example.org:mojombo/grit.git
This means I can pull contributions from any of these users pretty easily. But notice that only the origin remote is an SSH URL, so it’s the only one I can push to (we’ll cover why this is in Chapter 4).
I’ve mentioned and given some demonstrations of adding remote repositories in previous sections, but here is how to do it explicitly. To add a new remote Git repository as a shortname you can reference easily, run
git remote add [shortname] [url]:
$ git remote origin $ git remote add pb git://github.com/paulboone/ticgit.git $ git remote -v origin git://github.com/schacon/ticgit.git pb git://github.com/paulboone/ticgit.git
Now you can use the string
pb on the command line in lieu of the whole URL. For example, if you want to fetch all the information that Paul has but that you don’t yet have in your repository, you can run
git fetch pb:
$ git fetch pb remote: Counting objects: 58, done. remote: Compressing objects: 100% (41/41), done. remote: Total 44 (delta 24), reused 1 (delta 0) Unpacking objects: 100% (44/44), done. From git://github.com/paulboone/ticgit * [new branch] master -> pb/master * [new branch] ticgit -> pb/ticgit
Paul’s master branch is accessible locally as
pb/master — you can merge it into one of your branches, or you can check out a local branch at that point if you want to inspect it.
As you just saw, to get data from your remote projects, you can run:
$ git fetch [remote-name]
The command goes out to that remote project and pulls down all the data from that remote project that you don’t have yet. After you do this, you should have references to all the branches from that remote, which you can merge in or inspect at any time. (We’ll go over what branches are and how to use them in much more detail in Chapter 3.)
If you clone a repository, the command automatically adds that remote repository under the name origin. So,
git fetch origin fetches any new work that has been pushed to that server since you cloned (or last fetched from) it. It’s important to note that the
fetch command pulls the data to your local repository — it doesn’t automatically merge it with any of your work or modify what you’re currently working on. You have to merge it manually into your work when you’re ready.
If you have a branch set up to track a remote branch (see the next section and Chapter 3 for more information), you can use the
git pull command to automatically fetch and then merge a remote branch into your current branch. This may be an easier or more comfortable workflow for you; and by default, the
git clone command automatically sets up your local master branch to track the remote master branch on the server you cloned from (assuming the remote has a master branch). Running
git pull generally fetches data from the server you originally cloned from and automatically tries to merge it into the code you’re currently working on.
When you have your project at a point that you want to share, you have to push it upstream. The command for this is simple:
git push [remote-name] [branch-name]. If you want to push your master branch to your
origin server (again, cloning generally sets up both of those names for you automatically), then you can run this to push your work back up to the server:
$ git push origin master
This command works only if you cloned from a server to which you have write access and if nobody has pushed in the meantime. If you and someone else clone at the same time and they push upstream and then you push upstream, your push will rightly be rejected. You’ll have to pull down their work first and incorporate it into yours before you’ll be allowed to push. See Chapter 3 for more detailed information on how to push to remote servers.
If you want to see more information about a particular remote, you can use the
git remote show [remote-name] command. If you run this command with a particular shortname, such as
origin, you get something like this:
$ git remote show origin * remote origin URL: git://github.com/schacon/ticgit.git Remote branch merged with 'git pull' while on branch master master Tracked remote branches master ticgit
It lists the URL for the remote repository as well as the tracking branch information. The command helpfully tells you that if you’re on the master branch and you run
git pull, it will automatically merge in the master branch on the remote after it fetches all the remote references. It also lists all the remote references it has pulled down.
That is a simple example you’re likely to encounter. When you’re using Git more heavily, however, you may see much more information from
git remote show:
$ git remote show origin * remote origin URL: email@example.com:defunkt/github.git Remote branch merged with 'git pull' while on branch issues issues Remote branch merged with 'git pull' while on branch master master New remote branches (next fetch will store in remotes/origin) caching Stale tracking branches (use 'git remote prune') libwalker walker2 Tracked remote branches acl apiv2 dashboard2 issues master postgres Local branch pushed with 'git push' master:master
This command shows which branch is automatically pushed when you run
git push on certain branches. It also shows you which remote branches on the server you don’t yet have, which remote branches you have that have been removed from the server, and multiple branches that are automatically merged when you run
If you want to rename a reference, in newer versions of Git you can run
git remote rename to change a remote’s shortname. For instance, if you want to rename
paul, you can do so with
git remote rename:
$ git remote rename pb paul $ git remote origin paul
It’s worth mentioning that this changes your remote branch names, too. What used to be referenced at
pb/master is now at
If you want to remove a reference for some reason — you’ve moved the server or are no longer using a particular mirror, or perhaps a contributor isn’t contributing anymore — you can use
git remote rm:
$ git remote rm paul $ git remote origin