git - Why do I need to explicitly push a new branch?

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Top 5 Answer for git - Why do I need to explicitly push a new branch?

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The actual reason is that, in a new repo (git init), there is no branch (no master, no branch at all, zero branches)

So when you are pushing for the first time to an empty upstream repo (generally a bare one), that upstream repo has no branch of the same name.


In both cases, since the upstream empty repo has no branch:

  • there is no matching named branch yet
  • there is no upstream branch at all (with or without the same name! Tracking or not)

That means your local first push has no idea:

  • where to push
  • what to push (since it cannot find any upstream branch being either recorded as a remote tracking branch, and/or having the same name)

So you need at least to do a:

git push origin master 

But if you do only that, you:

  • will create an upstream master branch on the upstream (now non-empty repo): good.
  • won't record that the local branch 'master' needs to be pushed to upstream (origin) 'master' (upstream branch): bad.

That is why it is recommended, for the first push, to do a:

git push -u origin master 

That will record origin/master as a remote tracking branch, and will enable the next push to automatically push master to origin/master.

git checkout master git push 

And that will work too with push policies 'current' or 'upstream'.
In each case, after the initial git push -u origin master, a simple git push will be enough to continue pushing master to the right upstream branch.

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You don't, see below

I find this 'feature' rather annoying since I'm not trying to launch rockets to the moon, just push my damn branch. You probably do too or else you wouldn't be here!

Here is the fix: if you want it to implicitly push for the current branch regardless of if that branch exists on origin just issue this command once and you will never have to again anywhere:

git config --global push.default current 

So if you make branches like this:

git checkout -b my-new-branch 

and then make some commits and then do a

git push -u 

to get them out to origin (being on that branch) and it will create said branch for you if it doesn't exist.

Note the -u bit makes sure they are linked if you were to pull later on from said branch. If you have no plans to pull the branch later (or are okay with another one liner if you do) -u is not necessary.

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Output of git push when pushing a new branch

> git checkout -b new_branch Switched to a new branch 'new_branch' > git push fatal: The current branch new_branch has no upstream branch. To push the current branch and set the remote as upstream, use      git push --set-upstream origin new_branch 

A simple git push assumes that there already exists a remote branch that the current local branch is tracking. If no such remote branch exists, and you want to create it, you must specify that using the -u (short form of --set-upstream) flag.

Why this is so? I guess the implementers felt that creating a branch on the remote is such a major action that it should be hard to do it by mistake. git push is something you do all the time.

"Isn't a branch a new change to be pushed by default?" I would say that "a change" in Git is a commit. A branch is a pointer to a commit. To me it makes more sense to think of a push as something that pushes commits over to the other repositories. Which commits are pushed is determined by what branch you are on and the tracking relationship of that branch to branches on the remote.

You can read more about tracking branches in the Remote Branches chapter of the Pro Git book.

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I couldn't find a rationale by the original developers this quickly, but I can give you an educated guess based on a few years of Git experience.

No, not every branch is something you want to push to the outside world. It might represent a private experiment.

Moreover, where should git push send all the branches? Git can work with multiple remotes and you may want to have different sets of branches on each. E.g. a central project GitHub repo may have release branches; a GitHub fork may have topic branches for review; and a local Git server may have branches containing local configuration. If git push would push all branches to the remote that the current branch tracks, this kind of scheme would be easy to screw up.

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HEAD is short for current branch so git push -u origin HEAD works. Now to avoid this typing everytime I use alias:

git config --global alias.pp 'push -u origin HEAD'

After this, everytime I want to push branch created via git -b branch I can push it using:

git pp

Hope this saves time for someone!

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