Following up on part one of our intro to version control, this week we learnt how to use a popular git web service to work with other people, including pull requests and code review.

You can get the slides for the talk here


  • Recap
  • Workflows
  • Merge requests

Recap part 1


  • repository/repo: a project under version control
  • diff: a set of changes between two files or versions of files
  • commit: a saved “box of diffs” in the repo, or snapshot of the repo at a given time
  • working tree: a project as it currently looks like on disk (i.e. what you see with ls or in your editor)
  • index: the “staging area” or box of diffs

The gist of git

The building blocks: diffs

A simple diff

  • Shows differences between individual lines
  • Lines beginning with “-” have been removed
  • Lines beginning with “+” have been added
  • Changed lines are shown as removal plus addition

The gist of git

Add diffs to a staging area

Add diffs to stage

The gist of git

Commit the staging area to the repository

Commit changes to the repository

The gist of git

Commit the staging area to the repository

Commit changes to the repository

This gist of git

Sync with other people’s repositories

Sync local and remote repositories

The basic commands


$ git status                # Current status of working tree
$ git add <file>            # Stage a file
$ git commit                # Make a commit
$ git log                   # View history
$ git checkout -b <branch>  # Checkout a new branch
$ git checkout <branch>     # Checkout an existing branch
$ git merge <branch>        # Merge a branch into this one


Fixing conflicts

  • Conflicts happen when both branches touch the same line(s) in a file
  • Conflicts are marked with a diff-like syntax
  • To resolve the conflict, just go to the conflicting files and edit them appropriately
  • There are lots of tools that can help you with this, e.g. ediff, meld, diff3

     <<<<<<< HEAD
     line changed in branch1
     line changed in branch2
     >>>>>>> merging branch
  • Just delete all the special markers and the lines(s) you don’t want to keep
  • Sometimes you want some combination of both regions – just edit the lines to keep what you want
  • You can bail out of a merge with git merge --abort

Getting started with Bitbucket

Signing up

  • Sign up with York email address to get academic account
  • Two steps: sign up for Bitbucket account, and then get a username
    • I know, it’s weird

Getting started with Bitbucket

Make a repository on Bitbucket

  • Click the big + on the left
  • Click “Repository”
  • Give it a name and decide if you want it public or private
  • Make sure “Include a README” is unticked
  • Click “Create repository”

Add the remote repository

  • Follow the instructions on Bitbucket:
# Add the remote
$ git remote add origin<username>/<reponame>.git
$ git push origin master

git commands

git push

  • git push: Update remote refs along with associated objects
  • Glossary “remote”: a version of this repository that is located elsewhere
  • Glossary “refs”: reference to some git object (normally a branch)
  • Glossary: “tracking branch”: a local reference to this branch on a remote repo

Getting started with Bitbucket

Getting remote changes

  • From the three-dot menu in the top right, click “Add file”
  • Name the file “” and some text
  • Click “Commit” in the bottom right
  • Now we need to get this file in our local version…
  • The quick way:

    $ git pull

git commands

git pull

  • git pull: Fetch from and integrate with another repository or a local branch
  • If the branch has a tracking branch (i.e. is linked to some branch on a remote), then git pull does the Right Thing
  • Otherwise, specify remote and branch: git pull <remote> <branch>

Ways of working with others


  • Everything straight into master
  • Ok for very small teams or Google

Feature branches

  • Changes made in separate branches
  • Good for teams
  • Pull request for merging from your branch into another branch


  • A fork is a copy of a repo
  • Good for open source projects without fixed developers
  • Pull request for merging from your repo into theirs


The whole kit and caboodle

The big kahuna: gitflow

Pull requests

Pull/merge requests are great

  • Get a chance for code review
    • Super important!
  • Can run tests automatically
    • Tests are great, automatic tests are better
    • Lots of services for running tests automatically
      • Jenkins, Travis, Bitbucket pipelines


  • Fork the example repo:
    • Big plus on the left hand side, at the bottom
  • Clone it to your computer
  • Run pip3 install --user -r requirements.txt
  • Run pytest to check everything works
  • Add upstream as a remote
    • You don’t have write access to upstream but you can pull changes
  • Make a new branch
  • Add a file called <your_name>.py, and a test file, test_<your_name>.py
  • Add a simple function and test
    • See for example
  • Run pytest to check it all still works
  • Push to your repo
  • Go to upstream and open a pull request
  • Review your neighbour’s PR

Dealing with problems

Quick and dirty

  • Looked at merge conflicts before
  • But now trickier problem: conflicts on same branch!
  • Can try git pull --rebase
  • Will try to rebase your commits on top of the remote ones
  • If that goes wrong: git rebase --abort

Dealing with problems

A bit more complicated

  • You’ve started working on master instead of my_branch
  • Now you and origin have made lots of commits
  • Find the commit where you diverged, then:
$ git checkout -b temp_branch
$ git checkout master
$ git reset --hard <commit>
$ git pull
$ git merge temp_branch

The universal “get me out of trouble” solution

This will (almost) always get you out of sticky situation

$ git checkout -b wip_branch
$ git add <changes>
$ git commit                  # These first three if necessary
$ git checkout <problem branch>
$ git checkout -b fix_problem
<do whatever it was you were trying to do until it works>
$ git branch --move <problem branch> <temp name>
$ git branch --move fix_probem <problem branch>

Further reading

Image credits