Last updated July 9, 2013.
This document contains a series of Git VCS command examples for project maintainers. Examples are based on modules, but themes, theme engines, and translations are essentially the same.
- Before you start
- Adding your local repository to Drupal.org for the first time
- Copying your repository onto Drupal.org from an existing repository
- Cloning your existing Drupal.org repository
- Working in your local repository
- Working with branches and tags
- Creating a release branch
- Creating a private, topical/feature branch
- Checking out an existing branch
- Creating a patch
- Applying a patch
- Committing changes
- Moving and removing files from your project
- Checking your repository status
- Merging your changes back to the main branch
- Contributing changes back to drupal.org
Before you start
- Complete steps in Getting started with Git on Drupal.org and Configuring Git
- Apply and receive full Git privileges
- Create a full project on Drupal.org
Before you begin, review basic concepts about Distributed Version Control Systems in Introduction to Git. Pay special attention to the concepts of branches and tags.
Note: The brackets on this are not part of the commands, they just mark variables, so for example when you read
mkdir [project_name] and your project is called Views, what you need to type is
Adding your repository to Drupal.org for the first time
Follow this procedure to add the code on your local machine to your project repository on Drupal.org for the first time. You can also find commands tailored specifically for your project by visiting your project page and clicking on the Version control tab. See Creating a new full project for details.
- Create a directory on your computer and change into it:
Next, initialize the repository. This adds the .git directory, subdirectories and files that store your repository data.
Then, add files to your repository. Use the sample command to create a .info file, or work with your actual files and directories as suits you. The key thing is to put something into your repository so you can complete the setup.
echo "name = [Human Readable Project Name]" >project_name.info
Let's make the repository on Drupal.org the default remote repository we pull from and push to. The command to do this is called "git remote add" and it takes two arguments, the first is the name we will use in our push and pull commands for this repository and the second is the actual repository URL. It's practical to make the first argument "origin" because push and pull both defaults to that name. The second argument looks like 'ssh://[username]@git.drupal.org:project/[projectname].git'.
git remote add origin [username]@git.drupal.org:project/[project_name].git
Finally, put your code on Drupal.org. Git commits are a little bit like the Ready, Set, Go of running a race. You get ready by staging your files with 'git add', get set by committing the files in your local repository with 'git commit', and go when you push your changes to the remote server with 'git push'.
git add project_name.info
git commit -m "Initial commit."
git push origin master
Copying your repository onto Drupal.org from an existing repository
These are one-time steps for populating a Drupal.org repository from an existing Git repository (such as Github or anywhere else it might live).
# Clone the repo as a mirror from the original source
git clone --mirror [github_or_other_url]
# Create a new remote using the maintainer URL from the version control tab.
git remote add newproject [maintainer_url_from_git_instructions]
# Push all the code and branches into the git.drupal.org remote
git push --all newproject
Cloning your Drupal.org repository
Cloning your existing Drupal.org repository can be useful when you need to copy it to a another local machine, or if you accidentally delete your existing local copy. The Version control tab of your project provides step-by-step clone commands tailored for your project, which you can copy and paste onto the command line. You can even customize the commands by selecting from existing branches.
In general, the clone command will be similar to the following:
git clone --branch [branch_name] [username]@git.drupal.org:project/[project_name].git
Working in your local repository
Once you have your repository created on Drupal.org and cloned locally, you can do various tasks.
Working with branches and tags
Git allows you to keep different versions of your code active on different branches, and to tag different versions of your code for release. Drupal modules use Git branches and tags in specific ways, which are described fully on other pages:
- Read the Git Introduction if you do not understand what Git branches and tags are.
- Read the Release naming conventions page to learn how Drupal modules should tie Git branch and tag names to released versions.
The sections below cover the Git commands used for branching and tagging, and assume you have already figured out why you are branching and tagging, and what branch/tag name you want to use.
Creating a release branch
Branches that live on Drupal.org, which you use to create public releases of your project, must follow specific release naming conventions that indicate the code's compatibility with Drupal core.
For example, if you want to create a branch called "8.x-1.x", you would use the following command:
git branch 8.x-1.x. To start using that branch now that you have created it, type
git checkout 8.x-1.x. You can also create and checkout a branch all in one command by typing:
git checkout -b 8.x-1.x
See also Creating a tag or branch in Git.
Creating a private, topical/feature branch
A common workflow is to develop a new feature or fix an issue in a private, topical branch or feature branch on your local machine. When you are ready to make these code changes public, you would then merge or rebase your work with the main, public branch that you push to the remote repository on Drupal.org.
Typically, for topical branches you use a branch name of
[issue-number]-[short description]. To create a branch:
git checkout -b [branch_name]
Then you can edit files, apply patches, etc. Finish by committing to your branch, and then merging the changes back into the main line. (Instructions for all of these tasks are in the sections below.)
Checking out an existing branch
In Git, "check out" means to switch to using a different branch on your local clone. To switch to an existing local branch, use the command:
git checkout [branch_name]
Creating a patch
git format-patch origin --stdout > [description]-[issue-number].patch
If you have added new files as part of your changes, you need to make git aware of them before it will be able to include them in a patch. You can do this by adding them to stage, staging your other changes, and then rolling the patch with the option '--stage':
git add [filename]
git diff --stage > [description]-[issue-number]-[comment-number].patch
Applying a patch
If you need to review/test the patch before committing it, first create a branch (see above). If not, you can work directly in the branch that you need to apply the patch to, and just checkout that branch. To apply a patch someone else has created for your project:
- Checkout the branch or create a new one (see above).
- Download the patch to your local machine (outside the repository).
- Apply the patch by typing
git apply /path/to/patch
After making changes (edits, adding files, applying patches, etc.) in your local repository, get your changes ready to commit with 'git add'. We recommend the '-u' flag, which looks at all the currently tracked files and stages the changes to them if they are different or if they have been removed. It does not add any new files, it only stages changes to already tracked files. This keeps you from inadvertently uploading files:
git add -u
To add specific new files, you can use 'git add' with an explicit path and file name. To stage everything, files that have been removed, updated, and added, use 'git add -A'.
It is customary in the commit message to reference the node ID of the issue in your project's issue queue where the bug/feature request was raised, and to mention any contributors who helped with the code:
"Issue #[issue number] by [comma-separated usernames]: [Short summary of the change]."
You would type the full commands as follows:
git add -u
git commit -m "Issue #[issue number] by [comma-separated usernames]: [Short summary of the change]."
Moving and removing files from your project
While you cannot remove existing releases or actually remove files from the repository, it is possible to remove files from a branch. Sometimes a newer version of a module doesn't require a certain file anymore, or you want to reorganize the module by moving a file to another directory (or renaming it to another filename). Git allows you to accomplish this:
git mv foo.inc foo.bar.inc
git rm foo.meh.inc
git commit -m "Reorganized include files."
Checking your repository status
The git status command tells you:
- What you would commit if you ran git commit
- What you could add to the next commit by running git add
- What you have committed but not pushed back to Drupal.org
Merging your changes back to the main branch
If you were working on an issue/feature branch, after committing, you will need to merge your changes back to the main branch. Before you do that, it's a good idea to grab the latest changes from drupal.org:
# Switch to your topical branch
git checkout my_topical_branch
# Update your repository's origin/ branches from remote repo
git fetch origin
# Merge the changes from the 7.x-1.x branch into my_topical_branch
git rebase origin/7.x-1.x
# Switch to local tracking branch
git checkout 7.x-1.x
# Merge the commits from my_topical_branch onto the 7.x-1.x branch
git rebase my_topical_branch
git fetch origin retrieves all history from the "origin" remote repository without actually changing the code in your local working copy.
(You can optionally inspect the changes using
git log origin/7.x-1.x before actually applying them to your local copy.)
git rebase updates your local working branch by adding commits from the branch you specify in the command on top of the current working branch.
Contributing changes back to drupal.org
When you are ready to make your new code publicly available, you can push the commits you made to your local release branch to Drupal.org. You can also create tags for release snapshots and push those to Drupal.org.
Pushing your code back to the repository on Drupal.org
Everything you have done up to this point has been acting on the local clone of your repository. The final step is to get these changes back to Drupal.org. (Note: The
git pull --rebase; git push approach here will work in simple workflows, but note that with many committers or with sophisticated long-running feature branches you may have to adopt a more complex workflow like the one described in the Sandbox Collaboration Guide.)
# Update with changes that another committer might have made.
git pull --rebase origin 7.x-1.x
# Push your commits back up.
git push origin 7.x-1.x
Note: If you just want to push on which you are currently working, you can use
If you get error 22 upon trying to push, see
git remote -v
to examine remote settings. Remotes with "http://" will not work for pushes, an SSH-based remote URL setting is required.
Creating an official release
Once your module is stable, it's time to create an official release for it. Just as Drupal comes out with 7.0, 7.1, and such, you can (and should!) do this with your module. You do that by tagging your code.
Assuming you are already using the correct branch (see above), and that all of your changes have been committed, you can tag your code as version 7.x-1.0 with the following commands (note the -a flag is encouraged since it stores additional annotation with the tag).
git checkout 7.x-1.x
git tag 7.x-1.0
git tag command tags the latest commit (with all the latest files) in the current branch as belonging to a particular release. Note that you can tag a release as pre-release version (unstable, beta or release candidate) by adding a suffix to the tag. For example:
git tag 7.x-1.0-unstable1
git tag 7.x-1.0-beta1
git tag 7.x-1.0-beta2
git tag 7.x-1.0-rc1
As part of tagging, Git will ask you to assign a message to the tag, similar to commit messages. Use this message for release notes, highlighting the most important changes of this release.
Finally, push the tag to the upstream repository on drupal.org:
git push origin tag 7.x-1.0
Note that for new branches and tags you can not use the simpler
git push command, you need to specify the name of the remote repository (
origin was set up above) and the name of the tag/branch to be pushed.
git push -u origin 7.x-1.0 will make
git push work again.
See also Creating a tag or branch in Git.
Adding different release branches for your module
Once a stable release of a module is created, you may want to continue to add features, leaving the original release of your module intact.
To create a branch for a new major version of your module (for example, version 2.0 of the Drupal 7.x compatible version of your module), use the following commands:
# Make sure to branch off from the correct (probably most recent) predecessor branch:
git checkout 7.x-1.x
# Branch off the next major version:
git branch 7.x-2.x
# Switch to the new branch:
git checkout 7.x-2.x
Eventually, when version 2.0 is ready to be released you would tag the 2.0 version using the following commands:
git checkout 7.x-2.x
git tag 7.x-2.0
git push origin tag 7.x-2.0
You may want to edit your project node and click the 'releases' subtab and bump the major release also.