Selective Commit Rebasing: An Interactive Guide


Git is a popular version control system used by software developers to manage their codebases. One of the most powerful features of Git is the ability to create branches and make commits on those branches without affecting other parts of the codebase.

However, as the number of branches and commits grows, managing them can become a challenge. This is where selective commit rebasing comes in.

What Is Selective Commit Rebasing and Why Is It Important?

Selective commit rebasing is a technique used in Git to selectively choose which commits to include when merging code from one branch to another. It allows developers to remove unnecessary or irrelevant commits, making it easier to track changes and understand how different parts of the codebase are related.

Selective commit rebasing also ensures that only relevant changes are merged, reducing conflicts and making it easier for teams to collaborate on projects. This technique can save time and improve productivity by enabling developers to work more efficiently with their codebases.

Overview of The Interactive Guide

This article will provide an interactive guide on how to use selective commit rebasing in Git through step-by-step instructions with screenshots and examples. The guide will cover the basics of Git, including branches and commits, before diving into selective commit rebasing techniques. The interactive guide will also include advanced techniques for using selective commit rebasing in more complex scenarios, such as when working with multiple branches or repositories.

Additionally, it will cover common issues that may arise during the process and provide solutions for troubleshooting them. By following this interactive guide and learning how to use selective commit rebasing effectively, developers can streamline their workflow and improve their efficiency when working with Git repositories.

Understanding Git

Git is a popular version control system designed to help developers collaborate on coding projects efficiently. It is an open-source tool that was initially developed by Linus Torvalds in 2005. Git has gained immense popularity among developers due to its ease of use, flexibility, and extensive features.

The Purpose of Git

Git is designed to track changes to files within a project over time. It allows multiple developers to work on the same project, making it easier for them to collaborate and ensure consistency across the codebase. With Git, every change made by each developer is recorded as a commit that can be tracked and reviewed later.

Git also makes it possible for developers to work on different versions of the same codebase simultaneously, without interfering with each other’s progress. Git achieves this by creating branches, which are essentially copies of the project at various points in time.

Branches and Commits in Git

In Git, branches are used to create new lines of development that diverge from the main codebase. Each branch can contain different versions of the same codebase and can be used for developing specific features or fixing bugs without affecting other parts of the project.

A commit in Git represents a snapshot of all the changes made to a file or set of files at a particular point in time. Commits are what make tracking changes possible in Git and allow developers to revert back to earlier versions if necessary.

Developers often have multiple branches and commits at any given time within their repository. Thus they need an efficient tool like git that allows them not just manage their repository but also makes collaboration with others easy while keeping things organized over time- making it much easier than simply sharing files via email or cloud storage solutions where version control becomes impossible after some time passess

Selective Commit Rebasing: The Basics

What is selective commit rebasing and how does it work?

Selective commit rebasing is a feature in Git that allows developers to efficiently manage their repositories, specifically by altering the history of their commits. When using Git, developers often create branches to work on new features or bug fixes. However, over time, these branches can become cluttered with unnecessary commits that can make it difficult to understand what changes were made when and why.

This is where selective commit rebasing comes into play – it allows developers to clean up their branches by selectively choosing which commits they want to include in the final branch history. This process involves creating a new base for your current branch that includes only the relevant commits from another branch.

To do this, you need to use the interactive rebase command, which prompts you to select which individual commits you want to keep or discard. This ensures that only necessary changes are preserved in the final version of your codebase.

Benefits of using selective commit rebasing

One of the key benefits of using selective commit rebasing is that it helps keep your Git repository organized and easy to understand. By removing unnecessary commits from your branch history, you can more easily determine when specific changes were introduced and why they were made.

Furthermore, selective commit rebasing can help reduce merge conflicts when merging different branches together. By removing any extraneous or conflicting commits before merging, you can simplify the process and ensure that everyone working on the project has an accurate understanding of its state.

Selective commit rebasing can help improve code quality by allowing developers to focus on specific changes at a time rather than being overwhelmed by a large number of unrelated edits. This enables better code review processes as well as making debugging more efficient down the line as there’s less noise in terms of historical information about previous versions of your codebase.

Interactive Guide: Step-by-Step Instructions

Now that we have a basic understanding of selective commit rebasing, let’s dive into a step-by-step interactive guide on how to use it in Git. It’s important to note that this guide assumes you already have Git installed and are familiar with how to use it.

Firstly, we’ll need to identify the commits we want to rebase. Using the command “git log”, we can view a detailed history of our commits.

Take note of the commit hashes for the ones you wish to rebase. Next, create a new branch from the one you want to rebase by using the command “git checkout -b [new branch name] [branch name]”.

We’ll be using this new branch for our rebasing process. Then, using the command “git rebase -i [commit hash]”, open up an interactive mode where we can select which commits we want to pick, edit, squash or drop.

Here’s an example of what it would look like:

pick 7c6d8eb Adding feature A

edit b9cf4f5 Adding feature B pick 5e46d78 Fixing bug C

From here, you can choose which commits you want to keep by selecting “pick”, and which ones you want to edit or squash by changing “pick” with “edit” or “squash”. Once you’re done making your selections, save and close your editor.

At this point, Git will start executing your selections one at a time in order of appearance in your list. If there are any conflicts or changes required during this process, Git will pause and ask for instructions before proceeding with any further rebasing.

Screenshots and Examples

To better illustrate how selective commit rebasing works in practice, let’s take a look at a real-world example. Suppose we have a Git repository for a web app that allows users to create and edit their profiles.

We’ve made three commits on the “profile-page” branch:

1. Added new profile picture upload feature (commit hash: abc123)

2. Fixed bug in profile picture editing (commit hash: def456)

3. Improved UI for user profile view (commit hash: ghi789)

Now, we want to rebase only the first two commits onto our main “master” branch, while keeping the third commit separate for now. We would start by creating a new branch from the “profile-page” one using “git checkout -b my-new-branch profile-page”.

Then, using "git rebase -i abc123", we open up an interactive mode where we can select which commits to keep and which ones to drop or squash. In this case, we would change our list to look something like this:

pick abc123 Added new profile picture upload feature pick def456 Fixed bug in profile picture editing

After saving and closing the editor, Git will execute these two commits in order onto our new branch. As you can see, selective commit rebasing allows us to keep our Git history clean and organized while also giving us more control over how we merge changes into our main branches.

Advanced Techniques for Selective Commit Rebasing

Mastering the Art of Interactive Rebase

Now that you have a good understanding of selective commit rebasing, it is time to learn some advanced techniques. One such technique is interactive rebase, which allows you to edit and organize your commit history.

Interactive rebase can be used to squash or merge several commits into one, reorder commits in your branch and edit commit messages. Interactive rebase is not only useful for cleaning up your own commits but also for preparing them before merging them into a shared branch.

Merging Multiple Branches with Selective Commit Rebasing

Another advanced technique is using selective commit rebasing to merge multiple branches. This involves selectively picking commits from different branches and applying them onto another branch using the interactive guide. This technique can save time and reduce conflicts when merging complex feature branches into your main branch.

Cherry-Picking Specific Commits

Cherry-picking specific commits is yet another advanced technique in selective commit rebasing. This involves selecting specific individual commits from one branch and applying them onto another branch. Cherry-picking can be useful when you want to apply a certain change from one branch onto another without merging the entire branch.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Common Problems You May Encounter with Selective Commit Rebasing

While using selective commit rebasing, you may encounter some common problems which can cause frustration and delay progress. These issues can range from conflicts due to multiple people working on the same code base, merge errors or even accidentally deleting important code changes while rebasing.

Solutions to Common Problems Encountered While Selective Commit Rebasing

Fortunately, there are solutions available for these common problems that may arise during selective commit rebasing. For instance, to avoid merge conflicts, always ensure your branch is up-to-date before rebasing.

Additionally, make sure you have a backup of your code changes before starting the rebase process in case things go wrong. You can also use Git’s built-in merge tools to resolve conflicts and track changes more easily.


Selective commit rebasing is a powerful tool that allows developers to keep their code base clean and organized. It provides a way to review and refine your commit history before sharing or merging it with others.

By using the interactive guide for selective commit rebasing, you can quickly learn how to apply these advanced techniques which will simplify your workflow and make coding more efficient. Embrace the power of selective commit rebasing today!

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