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About Gilbert Lopez

Gilbert Lopez
Gilbert Lopez is an application developer and systems integration developer with experience building business solutions for large and medium-sized companies. He has worked on many Java EE projects. His roles have included lead developer, systems analyst, business analyst and consultant. Gilbert graduated from from California State University in Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business.

Git Orphan Branch Example

In this post, we present a Git Orphan Branch Example.

1. Introduction

In general, when you create a new branch off branch “master” you inherit its commit history. The exception is an orphan (or disconnected) branch. An orphan branch does not have a parent-child relationship to the master branches’ commits.

Most commits have one parent commit, one obvious exception being root commits which have no parent commits. Creating an orphan branch will retain the working tree of the branch it’s based on, but without an ancestor commit.

You may want to create an orphan branch to keep the project documentation separate from the code. Or you may want to create an orphan branch if you plan to merge two unrelated repositories with different histories.

Another use case for an creating an orphan branch is to create a static site for project or organizational information directly from a GitHub repository.

In any case, orphan branches are short-term solutions for unconventional situations and are typically discarded after serving their purpose. In this example, we will demonstrate how to create an orphan branch in Git.

1.1 Tools Used in this Example

  • Git 2.17

Git downloads are available here: https://git-scm.com/downloads.

Note: This example was created on the macOS platform. Git for Windows includes Git Bash and Git CMD shells to run command-line operations.

2. Git Orphan Branch Example

Let’s start by changing into the top directory of your local repository and running the Git status command.

$ cd ebookstore
GilbertopezsMBP:ebookstore gilbertlopez$ git status
On branch master
Your branch is up-to-date with 'origin/master'.
nothing to commit, working tree clean

Note: For the purposes of this example, commit or unstage any staged files before you continue.

Change to the master branch if you are in a different branch.

$ git checkout master
Switched to branch 'master'

Run the log command to view the commit history of the master branch

$ git log --oneline
fcafda0 Added Spring Security dependencies to pom.xml
945ceee Merge branch 'master' of https://bitbucket.org/gilbert_lopez/ebookstore.git
9492190 Spring Security SQL script for USERS and Authorities tables.
c464a25 README updated with Spring Security Database Schema location information.
5b61da8 README.md edited online with Bitbucket
53571f6 Added Spring Security using JDBC authentication.
61d10f2 Added form field validation for Book domain model.
c8659b8 Moved image file saving functionality to the service layer.
a0fcb77 Added edit/update function
215bb63 Added upload file functionality.
c9e85b0 Check in remaining files.
a791f39 Merge branch 'master' of https://gilbert_lopez@bitbucket.org/gilbert_lopez/ebookstore.git
92b22b1 README.md created online with Bitbucket
302bb61 Initial e-Commerce project check-in

The oneline option directs the log command to display the commit’s abbreviated hash and message only.

Run the Git ls-files command to the view files in the master branch.

$ git ls-files
README.md
ebookstore/pom.xml
ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/config/AppConfig.java
ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/config/AppInitializer.java
ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/config/HibernateConfig.java
ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/config/SecurityConfig.java
ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/config/SecurityInitializer.java
ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/controller/AdminController.java
ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/controller/AppController.java
ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/controller/LoginController.java
ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/dao/AbstractDao.java
ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/dao/BookDao.java
ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/dao/BookDaoImpl.java
ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/model/Book.java
ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/service/BookService.java
ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/service/BookServiceImpl.java
ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/service/FileUtil.java
ebookstore/src/main/resources/application.properties
ebookstore/src/main/resources/book.sql
ebookstore/src/main/resources/messages.properties
ebookstore/src/main/resources/spring_security.sql
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/css/app.css
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/css/bootstrap-theme.min.css
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/css/bootstrap.min.css
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/css/justified-nav.css
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/css/main.css
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.eot
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.svg
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.ttf
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.woff
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.woff2
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/js/bootstrap.min.js
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/accessDenied.jsp
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/addBook.jsp
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/admin.jsp
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/bookDetail.jsp
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/bookInventory.jsp
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/books.jsp
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/editBook.jsp
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/home.jsp
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/login.jsp
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/templates/footer.jsp
ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/templates/header.jsp

To create an orphan branch, run the checkout command with the ‘orphan’ flag and give the branch a name.

$ git checkout --orphan myorphanbranch
Switched to a new branch 'myorphanbranch'

Now if you run the log command, you will get the following output.

$ git log --oneline
fatal: your current branch 'myorphanbranch' does not have any commits yet

This is because orphan branches do not inherit commits from the parent branch. Now run the status command.

$ git status
On branch myorphanbranch

Initial commit

Changes to be committed:
  (use "git rm --cached ..." to unstage)

	new file:   README.md
	new file:   ebookstore/pom.xml
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/config/AppConfig.java
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/config/AppInitializer.java
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/config/HibernateConfig.java
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/config/SecurityConfig.java
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/config/SecurityInitializer.java
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/controller/AdminController.java
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/controller/AppController.java
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/controller/LoginController.java
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/dao/AbstractDao.java
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/dao/BookDao.java
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/dao/BookDaoImpl.java
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/model/Book.java
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/service/BookService.java
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/service/BookServiceImpl.java
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/service/FileUtil.java
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/resources/application.properties
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/resources/book.sql
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/resources/messages.properties
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/resources/spring_security.sql
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/css/app.css
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/css/bootstrap-theme.min.css
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/css/bootstrap.min.css
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/css/justified-nav.css
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/css/main.css
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.eot
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.svg
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.ttf
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.woff
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.woff2
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/js/bootstrap.min.js
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/accessDenied.jsp
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/addBook.jsp
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/admin.jsp
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/bookDetail.jsp
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/bookInventory.jsp
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/books.jsp
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/editBook.jsp
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/home.jsp
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/login.jsp
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/templates/footer.jsp
	new file:   ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/templates/header.jsp

You will notice that although all the files were copied to the orphan branch, they are in the staged area. That is because no commits have been performed thus far in the orphan branch.

We can remove all files in the working tree with the git rm -rf . command.

$ git rm -rf .
rm 'README.md'
rm 'ebookstore/pom.xml'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/config/AppConfig.java'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/config/AppInitializer.java'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/config/HibernateConfig.java'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/config/SecurityConfig.java'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/config/SecurityInitializer.java'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/controller/AdminController.java'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/controller/AppController.java'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/controller/LoginController.java'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/dao/AbstractDao.java'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/dao/BookDao.java'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/dao/BookDaoImpl.java'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/model/Book.java'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/service/BookService.java'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/service/BookServiceImpl.java'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/java/org/lopez/ebookstore/service/FileUtil.java'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/resources/application.properties'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/resources/book.sql'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/resources/messages.properties'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/resources/spring_security.sql'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/css/app.css'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/css/bootstrap-theme.min.css'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/css/bootstrap.min.css'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/css/justified-nav.css'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/css/main.css'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.eot'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.svg'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.ttf'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.woff'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/fonts/glyphicons-halflings-regular.woff2'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/resources/js/bootstrap.min.js'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/accessDenied.jsp'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/addBook.jsp'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/admin.jsp'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/bookDetail.jsp'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/bookInventory.jsp'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/books.jsp'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/editBook.jsp'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/home.jsp'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/login.jsp'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/templates/footer.jsp'
rm 'ebookstore/src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/views/templates/header.jsp'

Now we have a branch with no commits and no files. Run the Git ls-files command to the view files in the orphan branch. You’ll notice there are no files in the branch.

Let’s create and add a README file.

$ echo "#My Readme file" > README.md
$ git add README.md

Next, we’ll commit the file.

$ git commit -a -m "Initial Commit"
[myorphanbranch (root-commit) 92e1465] Initial Commit
 1 file changed, 1 insertion(+)
 create mode 100644 README.md

Finally, run the log command.

$ git log --oneline
92e1465 Initial Commit

We now have an orphan branch with its own commit history and working tree disparate from the master branch in the repository.

3. Git Orphan Branch – Summary

In this post, we demonstrated how to create an orphan branch in Git. Although orphan branches are not commonly used, they are sometimes handy for writing documentation and creating static GitHub pages. They are also sometimes used to merge two unrelated repositories with different histories.

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