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What Is Git Flow?

Arnaud Lachaume
Arnaud LachaumeLink to author's LinkedIn profile
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January 11, 2023
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Recommended team workflows - Git in Practice

What Is Git Flow?

The following is a common scenario we’ve all experienced firsthand:‍

A well-intentioned software engineer has added to the source code and suddenly everything goes downhill. 

There’s likely been a typo or a deleted line of script.  

Either way, it quickly needs to be addressed—ideally by the person who made the mistake in the first place.

Unfortunately, when your entire team is working on one project it’s not always possible to identify who delivered what and when, which overcomplicates addressing relatively simple fixes.

This is where the innovative branching model, Git Flow, demonstrates its unlimited value.

Git Flow (aka Git Workflow) is a DevOps tool that helps to manage and organize the software deliveries made by your team by ensuring that individuals can work on complex projects without threatening the live version, significantly reducing the risk of error.

How Does Git Flow Work?

Instead of having your engineers work directly on the source code itself, Git Flow creates individual “branches” that allow code to be written and tested separately from the live version.

This is great for experimentation as well as for general software development processes. It allows your team to work safely and efficiently without interrupting the progress that others have made. After review, the branches can be integrated with one another and added to the final product.

Ultimately, Git Flow’s parallel development places extra safeguards between your engineers and the submission of the work they’ve completed, ensuring a high level of quality control and allowing workers to perform better together as a team.

The Benefits of Git Flow

No matter which Git Flow diagram you choose to follow, you’ll see a surge in positive results across the board.

After all, if you can consistently publish error-free software, stakeholders (like clients) will have a better experience with you and be more likely to recommend your services as a result.

Plus, Git Workflows offer additional benefits such as accountability, collaboration, and efficiency.

Accountability

Git Flow is great for driving accountability among your team members, where pending peer reviews place additional pressure on your software engineers to produce perfect work. No one likes to listen to their colleagues point out problems, even if they consider themselves good friends otherwise.

Collaboration

With Git Flow’s automated “check-ins” you can measure the ongoing progress of your team. If one individual falls behind schedule and needs extra support, this can be dealt with in a sensitive manner and others can make suggestions or revisions directly to the branch code.

Efficiency

When there are problems that need to be addressed across the different branches, Git Flow makes it very clear who is responsible for making those fixes. This means there is less likely to be delays or miscommunication in the editing process, bringing you a fantastic end result in a timely (uninterrupted) manner.

Sign-up and accelerate your engineering organization today !

Git vs. Git Flow

You might be wondering whether Git Flow is the only system available to you to improve your source control management. It’s not.

In fact, Git is an excellent tool for tracking which edits are made by which users and notifying teams of changes made since they last logged in.

This means people are less likely to step on each other's toes, repeating work that’s already been done (to the project’s detriment).

By using a combination of Git and Git Flow diagrams, you can have the best of both worlds.

How to Use Git Workflows with GitHub

It’s relatively simple to start implementing Git Flow across your software development processes.

With the help of a host, like GitKracken, you can easily establish a branching strategy that works for your company.

For example, you might decide to:

  1. Give each employee a separate branch.
  2. Create a specific branch for each task.

Either of these strategies would work, but be sure to include a hotfix branch to address issues as they arise.

To help you decide which Git Flow system would work better for you, consider the projects you work on most frequently. If you specialize in mobile applications that need multiple functions, you could develop feature branches to develop each one.

Then, after the initial setup time, you’ll be well on your way to delivering error-free software.

FAQs

Is there an alternative to Git Flow?
GitHub Flow is a simpler version of Git Flow, which makes it very popular among software engineers. However, it’s typically more suitable for smaller teams that aren't managing several projects at a time.

Why is Git Flow important?
The bottom line: control. Software engineers  benefit from the level of control that Git Flow offers, helping to eradicate the risk of costly errors that often lead to technical debt.

How do I use Git Flow?
Whether you have a future project or one currently underway, you should consider adding branches to your source code to prevent software engineers from accidentally publishing unfinished/unedited work.

‍What problem does Git Flow solve?
For teams that often face tight deadlines and pressure to deliver perfect software, Git Flow helps assign responsibility for certain tasks to make software engineers more accountable. 

Enhance Your Git Flow with Keypup’s Git Analytics

As you head into 2023 and beyond, operational and Git analytics will prove crucial to your ability to effectively coordinate each stage of your software development process.

Keypup is a developer tool to use that’s designed to provide real-time insights on a project’s progress, inform decision-making, and enhance the productivity of your team. What’s more? It’s really simple to connect a Git repository to Keypup, which means you’ll be up and running in no time at all.

Furthermore, Keypup allows you to filter your reports and dashboards at a branch level, allowing you to access granular insights on your Git Flow.

For more information on how you can improve the effectiveness of your Git analytics, request a demonstration today.