Table of contents

Given problem

Assuming that we are working with some changes in a specific feature branch, but we do not complete this task. Suddenly, there is a critical bug that we need to fix immediately. If we use git checkout command to switch to a hot-fix branch, these changes will take to that branch. It is not good way to deal with it. Because we have to remember these changed files to take that feature branch again.

So, how do we overcome it?

Solution with git stash

  1. How git stash works

    Git stash is used to save our changes in one place. The data structure for this way is stack. The top of stack is alway the latest changes that we have just pushed to the stack.

    To access the element of the stack, we can use syntax: stash@{n}.

    This command will revert our workspace to match the HEAD commit.

  2. Some useful operations of git stash

    Below are some operations of git stash that we need to know.

    • list all stash that we save

    • remove an item from the stack

    • insert these changes as a single stash

    • check the changes before applied a stash

    • apply a stash into a branch

List all stashes

  1. Syntax

     git stash list

    Some options:

    • -p or –patch

      list the changed contents of all stashes.

Check the changes before applied a stash

  1. Syntax

     git stash show <options> <stash-index>

    For example:

     git stash show stash@{1}
  2. When to use

    • show the differences between the changes and the current branch.

Insert a stash

  1. Syntax

     # use push
     git stash push 
     # use save
     git stash save <our-messages>

    In reality, using git stash push is the same as git stash. We need to use git stash push because git stash save has been deprecated.

    Some important options for these commands:

    • -u or –include-tracked

      All untracked files are stashed and then cleaned up with git clean.

    • -a or –all

      All ignored and untracked files are also stashed and then cleaned up with git clean.

  2. When to use

    • When we want to save the local modifications to a new stash and turn the current branch into HEAD commit.

Remove a stash or all stashes

  1. Syntax

     # remove a stash, then apply it into the current branch
     git stash pop <stash-index>
     # only remove a stash
     git stash drop <stash-index>
     # remove all stash
     git stash clear

    For example:

     git stash drop stash@{1}
     git stash pop stash@{0}

    If we do not specify the stash, the git stash drop command will remove the last stash, and git stash pop command will remove the latest stash.

  2. When to use

    • Using git stash pop command when we do not want this stash in stack, and it will apply into the current branch.

    • Using git stash clear command when deleting all stashes.

Apply a stash into a branch

  1. Syntax

     git stash apply <stash-index>

    For example:

     git stash apply stash@{1}
  2. When to use

    • When we only want to apply a stash into our current branch but do not remove it from a stack.

Move a stash into a new branch

  1. Syntax

     git stash branch <new-branch-name> <stash-index>

    For example:

     git stash branch new-feature-branch stash@{1}
  2. When to use

    • When we apply a stash into a branch, we find that there are some conflicts. To do not make influence that branch, we create and switch to a new branch, and merge that stash into this new branch.

Wrapping up

  • Understanding how and when to use stash.