Git - How to create a Pull Request with no history of commits

June 11, 2020

Introduction

If you working on a github project in a team. Consider you have created a branch from Master branch, and did few commits as we normally do.

When the feature work is done on that branch. You would want to commit that in Master branch. But, when you create a Pull Request (PR) for that merge. Reviewer will see the intermediate commits in your PR. Which might annoy him. And there is no benefit of incorporating that history into Master branch. Although, there is a “Squash and Merge” option. But, anyone can easily forget that because this option is not enabled by default.

So, reviewer would want to cleanup your commit history so that only one commit is visible in the PR.

This post is about create a PR without historical commits. So that, reviewer will only see single commit containing all the file changes.

Method-1 Using Git rebase

Apart from git merge, there is a git rebase option too. Git merge and git rebase both are used to integrate your changes into main branch.

# Switch to your feature branch
git checkout FeatureBranch

# in this case, our main branch is master
git rebase master

If there is no conflicts, this will work. Now, you just to push the changes.

git push -f

Method-2 Using Git rebase with interactive option

We will use interactive way of doing git rebase. Interactive rebasing is used to manipulate your history. And we would want to clean up history.

# Switch to your feature branch
git checkout FeatureBranch
# start interactive rebasing
# in this case, our main branch is master
git rebase -i master

This will open up an editor (vim kind) and few options. See example below:

pick 8472as3 add Test bug-1
pick 92731cf add feature description
pick asf4234 bug fix
# Commands:
# p, pick = use commit
# r, reword = use commit, but edit the commit message
# e, edit = use commit, but stop for amending
# s, squash = use commit, but meld into previous commit
# f, fixup = like "squash", but discard this commit's log message
# x, exec = run command (the rest of the line) using shell

It start with your commits list. Now you have to edit this. Note the default: pick keyword in front of each commits. And, below that there are various options. Now, we want to have all the commits into one. Put pick keyword with only one commit, that will be there in final history. Put squash keyword in-place of pick in front of commits. The file looks like:

pick dae2691 add amazing feature
squash 3491879 add test
squash 3fedbd5 fix typo
# Commands:
# p, pick = use commit
# r, reword = use commit, but edit the commit message
# e, edit = use commit, but stop for amending
# s, squash = use commit, but meld into previous commit
# f, fixup = like "squash", but discard this commit's log message
# x, exec = run command (the rest of the line) using shell

Save it, and quit editor. On console, it will show some messages. Messages ends with something like:

Successfully rebased and updated refs/heads/FeatureBranch.

Now you have to push your changes. Just run:

git push -f

Now create your PR, and you will see only one commit in history.

Bonus

If your feature branch is forked from another git repo. Use below commands:

git checkout FeatureBranch
git remote add upstream https://github.com/<main_repo>/PROJECT.git
git rebase -i upstream/<main_branch_name>
# after saving editor content.
git push -f

Note: You might see some conflicts, which you need to resolve before pushing changes.

Method-3 How to create PR without history by creating another branch

Assume, You created a branch named: FeatureBranch from Master branch. And you did some commits to it.

Git commits

Now, create another branch from Master branch. Lets name it:

feature_branch_no_history

Now, You have three branches:

  • master
  • feature_branch (your active branch, having commits)
  • featurebranchno_history (same as Master)

Now, we will do this in two steps:

  1. Now, create a pull request for merging feature_branch into featurebranchno_history and merge it by using “Squash and Merge” way.
  2. Create another pull request from featurebranchno_history to master branch.

Git commits

Note: you will see more than one commits in this process too.

Happy code reviewing. Happy reviewer… Happy Coding…


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