As developers, we often find ourselves forking open-source projects on GitHub to contribute or to modify for our specific needs. While creating a fork is a simple process, keeping it up-to-date with the original repository can sometimes be confusing. In this blog post, we will explore the steps required to keep your GitHub fork updated with the latest changes from the upstream repository.
Step 1: Configure the Upstream Repository
To keep your fork updated, you must first configure the upstream repository – the original project from which you created your fork. This ensures you can easily fetch the latest changes from the upstream repository.
- Navigate to your forked repository on GitHub.
- Open a terminal and change to the local directory containing your fork’s cloned repository.
- Run the following command to list the current configured remote repositories:
git remote -v
- If you don’t see an upstream repository listed, add one using the following command (replacing ‘upstream-url’ with the original repository’s clone URL):
git remote add upstream upstream-url
Step 2: Fetch Upstream Changes
Now that you have the upstream repository configured, you can fetch the latest changes from it. To do this, run the following command:
git fetch upstream
This command fetches the latest changes from the upstream repository without merging them into your local branch. You can now see the changes by running:
git log upstream/main
Replace ‘main’ with the appropriate branch name if the upstream repository uses a different default branch.
Step 3: Rebase Your Local Branch
First, ensure you’re on the correct branch:
git checkout main
Replace ‘main’ with the appropriate branch name if needed.
Next, rebase your local branch with the upstream changes:
git rebase upstream/main
This command will apply your commits on top of the latest changes from the upstream repository, resulting in a linear commit history.
If you encounter any conflicts during the rebase, Git will pause the process and ask you to resolve them. Edit the conflicting files, save your changes, and then stage the resolved files with the following:
git add path/to/conflicting/file
Continue the rebase process with:
git rebase --continue
Repeat the conflict resolution process until all conflicts have been resolved and the rebase is complete.
Step 4: Push Changes to Your Fork
After rebasing, you must force-push the changes to your fork on GitHub, as the commit history has been modified. Use the following command to do this:
git push -f origin main
Replace ‘main’ with the appropriate branch name if needed. Your fork is now up-to-date with the latest changes from the upstream repository.
Rebasing is an excellent alternative to merging when keeping a GitHub fork updated. It creates a cleaner, linear commit history that can be easier to understand and manage. However, be cautious when using
git push -f, as it can overwrite remote changes if not used correctly. Ensure you push to the correct branch and remote repository to avoid potential issues.