Using branches in Stash

Stash makes it easy for each member of your team to use a branching workflow for your Git development process. Your workflow can be mapped to branches in the Stash 'branching model', allowing Stash to:

  • guide your developers into making consistent naming decisions when creating branches.
  • identify the type of each branch and apply actions like automatic merging accordingly.

On this page:

See also Using branch permissions for information about restricting access to branches in Stash.

Configuring the branching model

Stash uses a 'branching model' to define the branch workflow for each repository. As a project administrator, configuring the model lets you:

  • enable the branch types that will be available in your workflow.
  • specify the naming convention to be used for each branch type. 

The naming convention simply adds prefixes to branch names, so that branches of the same type get the same prefix.

A Stash admin can configure the branching model for a repository, by going to Settings > Branching model for the repository and clicking Enable branching model. Note that for new repositories, the branching model is enabled by default, and uses the default branch prefixes.

Stash makes a number of branch types available, as described below. Use the checkboxes to enable just those branch types that map to your workflow. Note that several branch types have default branch naming prefixes (for example the default prefix for the 'feature' branch type is feature/), as shown:

Development

This is generally the integration branch for feature work and is often the default branch (e.g. master) or a named branch such as develop. In a workflow using pull requests, this is usually the branch where new feature branches are targeted. In other cases, developers might commit directly to this branch.

 

Feature

Feature branches are used for specific feature work or improvements. They generally branch from, and merge back into, the development branch, by means of pull requests. See Feature branch workflow.

feature/

Production

The production branch is used while deploying a release. It branches from, and merges back into, the development branch. In a Gitflow-based workflow it is used to prepare for a new production release. 

 

Release

Release branches are used for release task and long-term maintenance of software versions. Typically, they branch from, and fixes are merged back into, the development branch. Merging into an older release branch allows for automatic merging to newer release branches as well as the development branch.

release/

Bugfix

Bugfix branches are typically used to fix release branches.  

bugfix/

Hotfix

Hotfix branches are used to quickly fix the production branch without interrupting changes in the development branch. In a Gitflow-based workflow, changes are usually merged into the production and development branches.

hotfix/

Note that:

  • Prefixes can't be empty.
  • Prefixes can't be longer that 30 characters.
  • Prefixes can't overlap; for example PROD and PRODUCT would be overlapping prefixes.
  • For Stash instances using Microsoft SQL Server, prefixes can't use non-ASCII characters. See  BSERV-3884 - Non-ASCII values used as branch model prefixes/branch names don't work in MSSQL Closed .

Creating branches

You can create a new branch when in JIRA (version 6.1 and above) or in Stash. Either way, you can override the settings that Stash suggests for the repository, branch type, branching point and branch name.

Create a branch from a JIRA issue

(info) JIRA must be connected with Stash by an application link for this functionality to be available.

When viewing an issue in JIRA or JIRA Agile, click Create Branch (under 'Development' – you'll need the 'View Development Tools' project permission in JIRA to see this):

Choose the SCM, if more than one is available, where you want to create the branch.

Stash suggests the Branch type and Branch name based on the JIRA issue type and summary. Change the settings suggested by Stash, if necessary:

Create a branch from within Stash

In Stash, choose Create branch from the sidebar.

Stash will suggest the Branch type and Branch name based on the JIRA issue type and summary. Notice that Stash displays the current build status beside the source branch picker. Change the settings suggested by Stash if necessary:

Creating the branch

You can specify:

  • the Repository
  • the Branch type, if a branching model has been previously configured – choose Custom if you need an ad hoc branch type
  • the Branch from point – you can choose either a branch or a tag.
  • the Branch name – the prefix is based on the branch type you selected, and as defined by the branching model. Note that the branch name should follow your team's convention for this.

Note that Stash suggests a Branch type based on the JIRA issue type, when a branching model is configured. The mapping is:

JIRA issue type Stash branch type
Bug Bugfix
Story Feature
New Feature Feature

Once the new branch is created, Stash takes you to the file listing for that. You can now pull to your local repository and switch to the new branch.

Automating the branch workflow

Stash can automate some merges in the branch workflow, based on the branching model for the repository. This allows merges to be cascaded to newer branches of the same parent, subject to a few conditions, so reducing the need for manual maintenance of branches.

As a project administrator you can turn on automatic merging for a particular repository. Go to Settings > Branching model for the repository, and select Enable automatic merging (under 'Automatic merge').

If Stash cannot perform an automatic merge, perhaps because branch permissions prevent it, Stash creates a new pull request for that merge, and the automatic merge operation stops, This allows you to resolve the conflict locally before approving the new pull request, which may involve further cascading merges.

See Automatic branch merging for more information about the conditions for automatic merging, and how Stash determines the ordering of branches.

Managing all your branches

The branch listing page makes it easy to keep track of all the branches in your repository.

Searching for branches

You can easily find branches by using the search at the top of the table. Furthermore, if you're using the Stash branch model, you can filter by branch type simply by searching for the prefix – for example, search for "feature/" to see all your feature branches.

You can find the feature and bugfix branches that haven't yet been merged into a particular release (for example, "release/2.10") by changing the 'base branch' – just use the branch selector (arrowed in the screenshot below) to change the base branch, and refer to the Behind/Ahead and Pull requests columns.

Reading the table

Behind/Ahead

The Behind/Ahead column shows by how many commits a branch has diverged from the 'base branch' (for example, master). Use the branch selector (arrowed in the screenshot below) to change the base branch.

Pull requests

The Pull requests column shows the most relevant status from the pull requests against each branch – click an icon to see details. The status is: 

  • OPEN if there is at least one open pull request.
  • MERGED if there are no open pull requests, and at least one pull request has been merged.
  • DECLINED if there are no open or merged pull requests, and at least one pull request has been declined.

Builds

If you have an integrated build server, the Builds column shows the status of the latest build results published to Stash. The overall status is 'passed' if all the different builds (for example, unit tests, functional tests, deploy to staging) succeeded and 'failed' if at least one run failed for any of those. Click an icon to see details of the builds.

Actions

The Actions menus include tasks for working with branches:

  • Check out in SourceTree
  • Create a pull request
  • Edit permissions
  • Delete branch
Navigation

Choose Keyboard shortcuts from the Stash Help menu to see shortcuts to help you navigate quickly around the branch listing.

Checking on your branches

The branch listing allows you to:

  • See how many commits behind or ahead your branch is compared to a chosen 'base branch'.
  • See the latest status for pull requests originating from branches.
  • See the build status of branches at a glance.
  • The Pull requests status helps you to track the review and merge work that still needs to be done and can help with branch cleanup. For example, in combination with the Behind/Ahead information, you can decide whether to remove a feature branch that has already been merged.
  • The Behind/Ahead column can help you to identify work in progress as well as stale branches. It is calculated for each branch against the base branch.

Read more

Redirection notice

This page will redirect to /display/BitbucketServer/Using+branches+in+Bitbucket+Server .

Stash makes it easy for each member of your team to use a branching workflow for your Git development process. Your workflow can be mapped to branches in the Stash 'branching model', allowing Stash to:

  • guide your developers into making consistent naming decisions when creating branches.
  • identify the type of each branch and apply actions like automatic merging accordingly.

On this page:

See also Using branch permissions for information about restricting access to branches in Stash.

Configuring the branching model

Stash uses a 'branching model' to define the branch workflow for each repository. As a project administrator, configuring the model lets you:

  • enable the branch types that will be available in your workflow.
  • specify the naming convention to be used for each branch type. 

The naming convention simply adds prefixes to branch names, so that branches of the same type get the same prefix.

A Stash admin can configure the branching model for a repository, by going to Settings > Branching model for the repository and clicking Enable branching model. Note that for new repositories, the branching model is enabled by default, and uses the default branch prefixes.

Stash makes a number of branch types available, as described below. Use the checkboxes to enable just those branch types that map to your workflow. Note that several branch types have default branch naming prefixes (for example the default prefix for the 'feature' branch type is feature/), as shown:

Development

This is generally the integration branch for feature work and is often the default branch (e.g. master) or a named branch such as develop. In a workflow using pull requests, this is usually the branch where new feature branches are targeted. In other cases, developers might commit directly to this branch.

 

Feature

Feature branches are used for specific feature work or improvements. They generally branch from, and merge back into, the development branch, by means of pull requests. See Feature branch workflow.

feature/

Production

The production branch is used while deploying a release. It branches from, and merges back into, the development branch. In a Gitflow-based workflow it is used to prepare for a new production release. 

 

Release

Release branches are used for release task and long-term maintenance of software versions. Typically, they branch from, and fixes are merged back into, the development branch. Merging into an older release branch allows for automatic merging to newer release branches as well as the development branch.

release/

Bugfix

Bugfix branches are typically used to fix release branches.  

bugfix/

Hotfix

Hotfix branches are used to quickly fix the production branch without interrupting changes in the development branch. In a Gitflow-based workflow, changes are usually merged into the production and development branches.

hotfix/

Note that:

  • Prefixes can't be empty.
  • Prefixes can't be longer that 30 characters.
  • Prefixes can't overlap; for example PROD and PRODUCT would be overlapping prefixes.
  • For Stash instances using Microsoft SQL Server, prefixes can't use non-ASCII characters. See  BSERV-3884 - Non-ASCII values used as branch model prefixes/branch names don't work in MSSQL Closed .

Creating branches

You can create a new branch when in JIRA (version 6.1 and above) or in Stash. Either way, you can override the settings that Stash suggests for the repository, branch type, branching point and branch name.

Create a branch from a JIRA issue

(info) JIRA must be connected with Stash by an application link for this functionality to be available.

When viewing an issue in JIRA or JIRA Agile, click Create Branch (under 'Development' – you'll need the 'View Development Tools' project permission in JIRA to see this):

Choose the SCM, if more than one is available, where you want to create the branch.

Stash suggests the Branch type and Branch name based on the JIRA issue type and summary. Change the settings suggested by Stash, if necessary:

Create a branch from within Stash

In Stash, choose Create branch from the sidebar.

Stash will suggest the Branch type and Branch name based on the JIRA issue type and summary. Notice that Stash displays the current build status beside the source branch picker. Change the settings suggested by Stash if necessary:

Creating the branch

You can specify:

  • the Repository
  • the Branch type, if a branching model has been previously configured – choose Custom if you need an ad hoc branch type
  • the Branch from point – you can choose either a branch or a tag.
  • the Branch name – the prefix is based on the branch type you selected, and as defined by the branching model. Note that the branch name should follow your team's convention for this.

Note that Stash suggests a Branch type based on the JIRA issue type, when a branching model is configured. The mapping is:

JIRA issue type Stash branch type
Bug Bugfix
Story Feature
New Feature Feature

Once the new branch is created, Stash takes you to the file listing for that. You can now pull to your local repository and switch to the new branch.

Automating the branch workflow

Stash can automate some merges in the branch workflow, based on the branching model for the repository. This allows merges to be cascaded to newer branches of the same parent, subject to a few conditions, so reducing the need for manual maintenance of branches.

As a project administrator you can turn on automatic merging for a particular repository. Go to Settings > Branching model for the repository, and select Enable automatic merging (under 'Automatic merge').

If Stash cannot perform an automatic merge, perhaps because branch permissions prevent it, Stash creates a new pull request for that merge, and the automatic merge operation stops, This allows you to resolve the conflict locally before approving the new pull request, which may involve further cascading merges.

See Automatic branch merging for more information about the conditions for automatic merging, and how Stash determines the ordering of branches.

Managing all your branches

The branch listing page makes it easy to keep track of all the branches in your repository.

Searching for branches

You can easily find branches by using the search at the top of the table. Furthermore, if you're using the Stash branch model, you can filter by branch type simply by searching for the prefix – for example, search for "feature/" to see all your feature branches.

You can find the feature and bugfix branches that haven't yet been merged into a particular release (for example, "release/2.10") by changing the 'base branch' – just use the branch selector (arrowed in the screenshot below) to change the base branch, and refer to the Behind/Ahead and Pull requests columns.

Reading the table

Behind/Ahead

The Behind/Ahead column shows by how many commits a branch has diverged from the 'base branch' (for example, master). Use the branch selector (arrowed in the screenshot below) to change the base branch.

Pull requests

The Pull requests column shows the most relevant status from the pull requests against each branch – click an icon to see details. The status is: 

  • OPEN if there is at least one open pull request.
  • MERGED if there are no open pull requests, and at least one pull request has been merged.
  • DECLINED if there are no open or merged pull requests, and at least one pull request has been declined.

Builds

If you have an integrated build server, the Builds column shows the status of the latest build results published to Stash. The overall status is 'passed' if all the different builds (for example, unit tests, functional tests, deploy to staging) succeeded and 'failed' if at least one run failed for any of those. Click an icon to see details of the builds.

Actions

The Actions menus include tasks for working with branches:

  • Check out in SourceTree
  • Create a pull request
  • Edit permissions
  • Delete branch
Navigation

Choose Keyboard shortcuts from the Stash Help menu to see shortcuts to help you navigate quickly around the branch listing.

Checking on your branches

The branch listing allows you to:

  • See how many commits behind or ahead your branch is compared to a chosen 'base branch'.
  • See the latest status for pull requests originating from branches.
  • See the build status of branches at a glance.
  • The Pull requests status helps you to track the review and merge work that still needs to be done and can help with branch cleanup. For example, in combination with the Behind/Ahead information, you can decide whether to remove a feature branch that has already been merged.
  • The Behind/Ahead column can help you to identify work in progress as well as stale branches. It is calculated for each branch against the base branch.

Read more

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