Reverting Changes: Undoing Commit Changes in Git

The Importance of Being Able to Revert Changes

Git is a powerful version control system that is widely used in software development. It allows developers to track changes made to their code and collaborate with others on a project. However, with the ability to commit changes comes the risk of making mistakes or introducing bugs into the codebase.

This is why being able to revert changes is such an essential tool for any developer working with Git. Imagine spending hours or even days writing code only to accidentally introduce a bug during the commit process.

Without the ability to revert your changes, you would have to manually search through your code line by line until you found and fixed the issue. This is time-consuming and can be frustrating for developers who are already busy with multiple tasks.

Reverting changes in Git gives developers an easy way to undo any mistakes or bugs introduced during the development process. It allows them to quickly roll back their codebase to a previous state, saving time and reducing stress levels.

Explanation of Git and Its Importance in Software Development

Git is a distributed version control system that was created by Linus Torvalds in 2005. It has become one of the most widely used tools among software developers because it offers many benefits over traditional version control systems like Subversion or CVS.

One of the key advantages of using Git is its distributed nature, which means that every developer working on a project has their own local copy of the repository. This makes it easy for teams working remotely or across multiple locations to collaborate on a project without having to worry about conflicts or merging issues.

Another advantage of using Git is its speed and efficiency when it comes to branching and merging code. Developers can create new branches quickly, which allows them to experiment with new features or ideas without affecting other parts of the codebase.

Git is also an open-source tool, which means that it has a large community of developers contributing to its development. This results in frequent updates and improvements to the software, ensuring that it remains a reliable and essential tool for software development.

Brief Explanation of Committing Changes in Git

In Git, committing changes is the process of saving changes made to your local repository. When you commit changes, you are creating a snapshot of your codebase at that moment in time. This snapshot is then added to the commit history and can be easily accessed later if needed.

Committing changes is an essential part of using Git because it allows developers to track the progress of their work over time. Each commit represents a new version of the codebase, making it easy to see what changes were made at each stage of development.

When committing changes in Git, developers are encouraged to write clear and descriptive commit messages that explain what changes were made and why they were necessary. This helps other developers working on the project understand what has been done and avoids confusion or wasted effort down the line.

Understanding Commit Changes in Git

Git is a widely used version control system that allows developers to keep track of changes made to their code. Committing changes in Git is an essential part of the development process as it helps developers keep track of their progress and work collaboratively with others. A commit is a snapshot of the current state of the repository, which contains all the files in the project at that point in time.

The commit command creates a new commit object, which records the changes made since the last commit. When you use Git to commit your changes, Git takes a snapshot of all the files and directories in your project and stores them on disk as a new version of your project.

Each snapshot has its unique identifier called a SHA-1 hash, which serves as a unique identifier for that version. Committing changes also records metadata, such as who made the change, when it was made, and why it was made.

The Commit History

Commit history refers to all previous commits on your branch or repository. It is represented by a graph that shows how different versions relate to each other over time. Each dot on the graph represents one commit and is linked together with lines that indicate how they are related.

The most recent commits are at the top, while older ones are at the bottom. This means you can see how your code has changed over time and who made those changes.

How It Relates To Reverting Changes

Reverting changes in Git involves undoing previous commits without losing any progress made after them. When you revert a commit, Git creates a new commit that undoes all or part of an earlier one while preserving everything else from subsequent commits. The history feature makes it easy to review previous versions of code so you can find where things went wrong if something goes wrong after reverting changes.

By using Git’s history feature, you can see what changed in previous commits and figure out what led to the problem. It is also possible to use this feature to review code or track changes made by other developers.

Reverting Changes: Basic Methods

Git Reset

Git reset is a basic method for reverting changes in Git. It allows you to move the current branch pointer to another commit, effectively undoing changes made since that commit.

This command does not create a new commit, and any changes made after the reset will be lost. To use git reset, you need to know the ID of the commit you want to move to.

You can find this ID using the git log command, which outputs a list of all commits in reverse-chronological order. Once you know the ID of the previous commit, run:

$ git reset

This will move the current branch pointer to that commit.

Git Revert

Git revert is another basic method for reverting changes in Git. Unlike git reset, it creates a new commit that undoes the changes made in a previous commit. This means all changes are preserved in history and can be referenced later if necessary.

To use git revert, you need to know the ID of the commit you want to revert. Run:

$ git revert

This will create a new commit that contains an opposite change from what was previously committed.

Git Checkout

Git checkout is another basic method for reverting changes in Git. It allows you to discard uncommitted changes or switch between different branches or commits.

To discard uncommitted changes and restore files from an earlier point in time, run:

git checkout -- 

This will restore from its last committed state. To switch between branches or commits, run:

git checkout

This will switch your working copy to that branch or commit.

Advanced Reverting Techniques

The Power of Git Cherry-pick

Git cherry-pick is a powerful command that allows developers to select a specific commit (or multiple commits) and apply them to another branch. This is useful when developers need to bring in specific changes from one branch into another without merging the entire branch. It is also useful when a developer has accidentally committed changes to the wrong branch and needs to move them to the correct one.

To use git cherry-pick, first, identify the commit(s) you want to apply. Then, switch to the branch where you want these changes applied.

Run the command `git cherry-pick `. You can also specify multiple commits by listing them all together separated by spaces: `git cherry-pick `.

It’s important to note that git cherry-pick can result in conflicts if there are conflicting changes between branches. In this case, Git will prompt you to resolve the conflict manually before proceeding.

Git Rebase -i: Interactive Rebase

Git rebase is a powerful command used for cleaning up your commit history and organizing it in a logical manner. It’s often used for squashing multiple commits into one or rewording commit messages.

However, Git rebase can also be used for reverting changes. The interactive mode of Git rebase (`git rebase -i`) allows developers to interactively choose which commits they want included in their new commit history and how those commits should be modified (such as squashing or editing).

To use Git rebase -i for reverting changes, first run `git log` or `git reflog` command and find the hash of the commit you want your branch reverted back onto its state before that commit was made (let’s say it’s ‘ABC123’). Then, run `git rebase -i ABC123~1`.

This will bring up an interactive session where you can pick and choose which commits to include in the new history. To remove a commit from the history, simply delete the corresponding line from the file.

It’s important to note that Git rebase is a powerful command and should be used with caution. Always make sure to backup your code before running any Git rebase commands.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Use Each Method

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use git cherry-pick:

  1. Identify the commit(s) you want to apply
  2. Switch to the branch where you want these changes applied
  3. Run: `git cherry-pick ` or `git cherry-pick ` for multiple commits.
  4. If there are conflicts, resolve them manually.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use git rebase -i for reverting changes:

  1. Run: `git log` or `git reflog` command and find the hash of the commit you want your branch reverted back onto its state before that commit was made (let’s say it’s ‘ABC123’)
  2. Run: `git rebase -i ABC123~1`
  1. In the interactive session, choose which commits to include in new history. *To remove a commit from history, delete corresponding line in file.

Using these advanced techniques can be extremely helpful for developers who need more control over their commit history or need to revert changes in specific ways. However, it’s important to always use Git with caution and backup your code before making any major changes.

Best Practices for Reverting Changes in Git

Testing before committing any code

One of the best practices for reverting changes in Git is to test your code before you commit it. Testing helps to identify potential errors or bugs in your code, which can be fixed before being committed.

This not only saves time but also ensures that the code being committed is of high quality and reduces the likelihood of needing to revert changes later on. Additionally, testing helps you better understand how your code works and how it behaves under different conditions.

There are various testing methodologies that can be used, including unit testing, integration testing, and acceptance testing. Unit tests focus on individual functions or components of the code while integration tests focus on how different components interact with each other.

Acceptance tests aim to validate that the system meets business requirements. By incorporating these tests into your development process, you can ensure that your code is as robust as possible.

Committing small chunks of code

Another best practice for reverting changes in Git is to commit small chunks of code rather than large changes all at once. Breaking down your changes into smaller commits makes it easier to track what has been changed and when it was changed. It also makes it easier to isolate any potential problems or errors that may arise.

By committing small chunks of code, you reduce the risk of introducing unnecessary modifications into the system and lower the frequency at which reverts are necessary since there are fewer lines of modified codes per commit. It also makes merging branches much simpler since smaller commits make conflicts less likely.

Documenting your commits

It is essential always to document each commit thoroughly so that if a revert becomes necessary later on down the road, developers can easily understand what was changed and why it was modified in a particular way during previous iterations. Effective documentation provides context regarding modifications made in the codebase, which can help in future diagnoses of a bug. Good documentation entails writing clear and concise commit messages that accurately describe the changes being made.

The messages should contain enough detail, including specific file names and why specific modifications were necessary. Additionally, it is vital to include any other relevant information that may be helpful for future developers who may need to work on the codebase.

Backing up your code regularly

Backing up your codes regularly is another best practice when it comes to reverting changes in Git. Regular backups ensure that you have a copy of your code available if something goes wrong, such as losing your local repository or experiencing data loss on the remote server. Backups can be done manually or automatically using various tools like GitLab or GitHub since they provide backup functionality.

It is also essential to back up all branches in case you need to revert entire branches instead of individual commits. By following these best practices for reverting changes in Git – testing before committing any code, committing small chunks of code, documenting your commits, and backing up your code regularly – developers can make sure they are taking the necessary steps to reduce their risk levels and ensure their work remains stable even during complex development cycles.


Being able to revert changes in Git is an essential skill for any developer. Knowing how to undo a previous commit could save a lot of time and frustration later on in the development lifecycle. It’s important to understand the basic methods for reverting changes, as well as the more advanced techniques, so that you can choose the right tool for the job.

Remember, it’s always best to follow best practices when working with Git. This includes testing your code before committing it, committing small chunks of code at a time, documenting your commits thoroughly and backing up your code regularly.

Hopefully this article has been able to provide you with all the information you need to know about reverting changes in Git. Happy coding!

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