I follow the Git Flow practice for my branches, both personally and professionally, making heavy use of feature branches. This branch structure means that I will have aptly named feature branches, such as
However, I’ve recently found that I’m running into having quite a few branches stored locally, such as:
$ git branch article/chef_gitlab article/commit_templates article/clean-up-branches ... defect/font_awesome defect/gem-lockfile defect/incorrect_deploy_image defect/inline-code-readability ... defect/title feature/404-page feature/all_posts_rss ... feature/talks feature/tech_enumeration fix/categories ... fix/site-cleanup fix/styled_monospace_link revert-0f7ef013 revert-dda5c692
This means that whenever I’m trying to use my tab completion, I have a load of options to scroll through, which is a less than ideal user experience as it increases the number of characters needed to type before a branch can be autocompleted. To this end, I’ve recently been looking at how to clean up the number of branches I have.
Each time I’ve DuckDuckGo’d the commands, the last time of which made me think I should document it somewhere that I can easily browse to in future. And in the light of wanting to document my findings for everyone to consume, I’ve rolled it into a blog post.
Removing Local Checked-Out Branches
Credit to StackOverflow, we can use the following pipeline to delete any merged branches, except the current branch, and the
$ git branch --merged | egrep -v "(^\*|master|develop)" | xargs git branch -d # ^ list all the branches that have been merged # ^ except from our current branch (`*`) # ^ and `master` and `develop` # ^ and then delete them all
This can obviously be updated to reflect the branching scheme you use, and whether there are any other branches you don’t want to have deleted.
I’d also advise running
git branch --merged on its own, before running the full command, in order to just check that you’re not going to delete something you didn’t mean to! This is important, as you won’t be able to undo any branch deletions!
Removing Branches from Remotes
So now that we’ve deleted all the local branches, we’re done, right? Not quite.
Git, being decentralised in nature, downloads the full state of a remote repository, meaning that any branch stored in the remote will also be stored locally. This means, that when you run the following command, you should see roughly the same number of branches, but with
$ git branch -a * article/clean-up-branches master remotes/origin/HEAD -> origin/master remotes/origin/article/openssl_cert_extraction remotes/origin/article/verbose-commits remotes/origin/feature/newer_docker remotes/origin/feature/separate_builder_image remotes/origin/feature/space-jekyll-theme remotes/origin/feature/update_gems remotes/origin/master
Luckily this is a bit easier to do, and doesn’t require remembering the full pipeline:
$ git remote prune origin * [pruned] origin/article/openssl_cert_extraction * [pruned] origin/article/verbose-commits * [pruned] origin/feature/separate_builder_image