Doing some git house cleaning is something that gets neglected more often than not. With zero-cost branches in git (unlike svn), most developers creates zillions of branches during the course of their projects. Most git workflows see creation of every unit of work being put under its own branch. This means individual branches for features, bug fixes, hot fixes etc.
It’s very desirable to keep our git repos clean of branches that are no longer useful/relevant. Have too many unnecessary branches also pollutes git logs since it’s more difficult to locate a particular branch’s head when there are hundreds of those.
Here are a couple of really quick shell commands to tame this situation
Finding all the merged branches
First, we switch to
master and bring in all the updates. This is important if we don’t want to lose branches that haven’t yet been merged to
git checkout master git pull origin master
Then, we can list all the merged branches, both local and remote with:
git branch --merged git branch -r --merged
This gives some good info of the stuff we’re going to delete. We need to make sure there’s nothing in here that we don’t want to delete.
It should be noted that
master is also listed amongst merged branches. We obviously don’t want to delete that. Good ol’
grep to the rescue.
git branch --merged | grep -E -v "(^\*|master)" git branch -r --merged | grep -E -v "(^\*|master)"
The resulting lists of branches will be our candidates for deletion.
Deleting all the merged branches
Now that we know what to delete:
git branch --merged | grep -E -v "(^\*|master)" | xargs git branch -d git branch -r --merged | grep -E -v "(^\*|master)" | sed 's/origin\///' | xargs git push origin --delete
Note the addition of
sed in our pipeline for deletion of remote branches. That’s because we need to strip the
origin/ part from the names to make them compatible with the consequent
Hope this makes it easier to keep the branch population under control.