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Last Updated: February 25, 2016
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Git: Using repositories/branches for source separation

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Git is a wonderful and easy way to manage your source code of any kind of project and using GitHub as the central is a smart move. Especially when you developing a web project it is always good to have a staging site where you can see the latest stage of the development in a production-like environment.

But what if your company wants you to separate the source code into development, staging and production stages? You can use branches even completely separated repositories to achieve that.

In my current project I've set up this branching system with a single repository:

  • master
  • protected/development
  • protected/staging
  • protected/production
  • [...] all other branches from my team

Note: the prefix protected/ is a valid prefix for branch names

The workflow is:

  • everything that is in master will be pushed periodically to protected/development
  • as soon as changes in protected/development are detected, the development site will be deployed
  • every morning the latest source from protected/development will be pushed to protected/staging and the staging deployment site is started
  • once we are happy with the state of the staging site, we decide to manually start the deployment of the production site by pushing the source from protected/staging to protected/production
  • using the protected/* branches directly by the team members is not allowed

We are using JetBrains Teamcity to manage and execute these steps automatically. One of these steps is a shell script to synchronize the git branches.

[gist id=5344861 file=sync_repos_1branch.sh]

you can call this script as following: ./sync_repos.sh [path_to_work_in] [ssh/http-origin] [ssh/http-destination] [origin-branch] [destination-branch]

example: ./sync_repos.sh ~/repos/dev git@github.com:user/project.git git@github.com:user/project.git protected/development protected/staging

Note: The path_to_work_in is necessary to create a bare repository as working base

Bonus: here is a script that makes a backup of you whole repository including the tags.

Have fun setting up your own branching system!

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