Git is an excellent version control system that allows multiple people to work on a project simultaneously. But with multiple contributors, inevitably, changes can overlap and conflict. When Git cannot automatically resolve these differences, a merge conflict occurs. Let’s go through some steps to resolve these conflicts.
Step 1: Identify the Conflict
When you try to merge branches and encounter a conflict, Git will output a message like this:
$ git merge feature_branch Auto-merging file.txt CONFLICT (content): Merge conflict in file.txt Automatic merge failed; fix conflicts and then commit the result.
This message tells you that a conflict has occurred in
Step 2: Examine the Conflict
Next, open the file with the conflict. Git will mark the conflicted area like this:
<<<<<<< HEAD This is some content from the current branch. ======= This is some different content from the branch you're trying to merge. >>>>>>> feature_branch
The content between
<<<<<<< HEAD and
======= is your current branch’s content. The content between
>>>>>>> feature_branch is the content from the branch you’re trying to merge.
Step 3: Resolve the Conflict
At this point, it’s your job to reconcile the differences. Maybe you keep your branch’s content, or the other branch’s content, or create a mix of the two, or something else entirely. It’s completely up to you.
Once you’ve made your changes, it might look something like this:
This is the reconciled content that takes the best of both worlds.
Step 4: Mark the Conflict as Resolved
After you’ve fixed the conflict, you need to add the resolved file to the staging area:
$ git add file.txt
This tells Git that you’ve resolved the conflict.
Step 5: Commit the Resolution
Finally, you can commit your resolution like this:
$ git commit -m "Resolved merge conflict in file.txt"
Git will automatically create a new commit that includes the conflict resolution. The commit will be a merge commit if the conflict arose from a merge, or a regular commit if it arose from a rebase.
- Before merging branches, always make sure you have the latest version of the codebase. Use
git pullto fetch and merge any changes that have been pushed since your last pull.
- If a conflict seems too complex to resolve, don’t panic! Git doesn’t throw away any changes, so you can always abort the merge and get help. To abort the merge, use
git merge --abort.
- Regularly pull and merge the main development branch into your feature branch. This can help you identify and resolve conflicts gradually, rather than all at once when you’re ready to merge your feature into the main codebase.
Remember, dealing with merge conflicts is a common part of working with Git. With time and practice, you’ll become comfortable resolving them.