This post is part 2 of a multi-part series intended to describe how to use PyCharm’s integrated Git (version control) features.
In my previous PyCharm post (Part 1), I described how to get started using Git in PyCharm, including:
- Creating a local git repository
- Adding and commiting files to a git repository
- Making and committing changes to a python file
In this post, I will describe:
- Creating branches
- Merging branches
These are extremely valuable features of Git, as they allow you to create a new version of your code to modify and evaluate before permanently integrating the changes into the master version of your code.
The following tutorial will assume you already have PyCharm and Git installed, and have a Github account. It also assumes you have a git repository to start with. Follow my steps in the first blog post if you don’t already have a git repository.
Create a new branch by right clicking on your repository project folder, and in the menu select Git–>Repository–>Branches, as is shown below.
Select “New Branches” and then enter the name of the new branch in the box (see below for how I named the example branch):
You can now see in the version control window that a new branch called “example_branch_1” has been created as a branch from the master branch (you can access this by clicking “version control” window at the bottom).
Importantly, PyCharm has now placed you on the new branch (“example_branch_1”). Any changes you make and commit, you are making to the branch, not to the master (the one you started with).
First, right-click on the python file and select Git –> Add.
Now, make some modifications to the python file on this branch.
In the menu at the top of the screen, select VCS –> Commit changes.
In the menu that appears, provide a message to attach to your commit so you know later what changes you made. You can double click on the file name in the window (e.g., on the “blog_post_file.py” file) to review what changes have actually been made. If you like the changes, select “Commit”.
In the menu at the very bottom of the screen to the right, you can now go back and “check out” the master branch. Just click master –> Checkout, as is shown below.
What now appears on your screen is the previous version of the “blog_post_file.py” file, before the function was modified, as is shown in the image below.
The version control menu at the bottom explains the structure (and dates/times) of the master and branches.
You can now go back to the example branch if you want using the same feature.
This feature allows you to quickly snap to different branches that are being modified, and see how they are different. (This feature is also accessible from the menu at the top of the screen through VCS –>Git –> Branches).
If you want to merge your changes to your local master, do the following. From the master branch, you can now select “example_branch_1” in the same menu shown to the bottom right below. This time select “Merge” rather than “Checkout”. Your changes will now be merged onto the master branch, and the modified function will now appear on both the master and the example branch.
I will continue to discuss PyCharm’s Git features in future posts in this series.