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Git Rebase vs Merge

When working in a Git repository, there will come a time when you need to combine changes from one branch to another. Both Git rebase and Git merge are tools you can use to accomplish this.

When comparing Git rebase vs merge, you can see there are associated benefits and downfalls.

Benefits of Git Rebase:

  • Creates a cleaner repo history
  • Achieves a more readable commit graph

Risks of Git Rebase:

  • Makes it harder to resolve conflicts that arise during the rebase

Benefits of Git Merge:

  • Preserves full repo history
  • Makes it easier to resolve conflicts that arise during the rebase
  • Easier to undo if mistakes were made

Risks of Git Merge:

  • Can cause a messy graph if your repository has numerous merged branches

Because there is less risk associated with merging in Git, it’s best practice to use Git merge instead of Git rebase if you’re ever in doubt.

When should I use Git merge?

Let’s say, for example, that we have a Main branch with changes and then we branch off into a Feature branch to make more changes.

In this instance, you can combine the changes from your Feature branch to your Main branch by performing a Git merge.

GitTip: Learn step-by-step how to merge a Git branch using the command line and then compare the experience with the GitKraken Git GUI.

When should I use Git rebase?

If you’re dealing with numerous branches, your commit graph can become really difficult to read if you need to merge changes from various branches.

This is where rebasing can serve as a helpful alternative to merging. Git rebase allows for a cleaner graph because it takes commits from one branch and places them onto another branch. This changes the tree structure in your graph by moving the commits and their changes onto the target branch.

Git Merge vs Rebase in GitKraken

No matter which action you choose to perform, using a visual Git client to manage the process of combining file changes gives you peace of mind. Unlike in the terminal, conflicts that arise because of a merge or rebase can be easily identified and resolved with GitKraken.

Git Merge in GitKraken

GitKraken makes the process of merging the changes between branches fast and intuitive. You can simply drag-and-drop one branch onto a target branch from the central graph to initiate a merge.

Git Rebase in GitKraken

Similar to how you initiate a Git merge, you will start the Git rebase process in GitKraken by dragging-and-dropping one branch onto a target branch to select the Rebase onto  from the context menu.

Just like magic, you will see your commits from the first branch recreated on top of the target branch, giving you the reassurance that you performed the rebase correctly.

The best part? GitKraken will automatically alert you if a conflict arises during your merge or rebase and will give you the opportunity to resolve the issue with full control using the internal merge conflict editor.

Stop stressing. Get more confidence and more control when performing a merge or rebase in Git and let the mighty GitKraken stand by your side to tackle any conflicts that arise during the process. Download the cross-platform GitKraken Git client for Linux, Mac, and Windows for free today.

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winget install gitkraken.cli