WTP Git Workflows

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This page is a Web Tools Platform-specific version of [Platform-releng/Git_Workflows Platform-releng/Git_Workflows]

We'd like to capture some common CVS workflows used by the Web Tools Platform (WTP) and spell out the git/EGit equivalent. Please read this page even if you don't use EGit. It contains important instructions on how to setup your repository.

Please read some of Pro Git to get a feel for how git repositories work. Refer to the EGit/User Guide for more detailed instructions and pictures.


Configure the workspace

Open the Team > Git > Configuration preference page and on the User Settings tab add the user.name and the user.email property. If you don't want to share your e-mail you can also use your committer account ID. Note that you will not be able to push changes to the the repository if the latter property is not matching with your records at the Eclipse Foundation.

Set New text file line delimiter to Unix on the General > Workspace preference page.

Getting EGit

You can install EGit 1.1.0 from [1].

If you would like to keep up with their current bug fixes, install EGit/JGit from their nightly build site http://download.eclipse.org/egit/updates-nightly.

Clone a repo

The first step is to clone the one or more repos you need to work on. You want to clone the repo to a location outside your workspace. Then use the EGit Import Projects option to import the projects.

Refer to the EGit/User Guide for more detailed instructions and pictures.

  1. Switch to the Git Repository Exploring Perspective
  2. Use Clone a Git repository Clone a git repository
  3. you can paste in your connection URL and it should do the right thing. Some URLs (not all of them contain content right now in the testing phase). The repos that have been migrated are in bold text:
    1. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/webtools-common/webtools.common.git
    2. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/webtools-common/webtools.common.fproj.git
    3. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/webtools-common/webtools.common.snippets.git
    4. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/webtools-common/webtools.common.tests.git
    5. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/jeetools/webtools.javaee.git
    6. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/jeetools/webtools.javaee.tests.git
    7. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/ejb/webtools.ejb.git
    8. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/jsf/webtools.jsf.git
    9. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/jsf/webtools.jsf.docs.git
    10. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/jsf/webtools.jsf.tests.git
    11. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/dali/webtools.dali.git
    12. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/servertools/webtools.servertools.git
    13. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/servertools/webtools.servertools.devsupport.git
    14. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/servertools/webtools.servertools.docs.git
    15. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/servertools/webtools.servertools.tests.git
    16. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/webservices/webtools.webservices.git
    17. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/webservices/webtools.webservices.axis2.git
    18. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/webservices/webtools.webservices.jaxws.git
    19. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/jsdt/webtools.jsdt.core.git
    20. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/jsdt/webtools.jsdt.debug.git
    21. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/jsdt/webtools.jsdt.tests.git
    22. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/sourceediting/webtools.sourceediting.git
    23. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/sourceediting/webtools.sourceediting.tests.git
    24. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/sourceediting/webtools.sourceediting.xpath.git
    25. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/sourceediting/webtools.sourceediting.xpath.tests.git
    26. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/sourceediting/webtools.sourceediting.xsl.git
    27. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/sourceediting/webtools.sourceediting.xsl.tests.git
    28. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/webtools/webtools.releng.git
    29. ssh://userid@git.eclipse.org/gitroot/webtools/webtools.maps.git
  4. Next
  5. Select all branches to clone
  6. Next
  7. Confirm the location that it will clone the repository into.
  8. an initial branch of master and a remote name of origin are standard.
  9. Finish - Now just sit back while git copies the entire repo to your harddrive :-)

Configuring the repo

Unless you are working on topic branches, we work in a fairly linear history. Please set branch.branchname.rebase = true (see instructions below).

Make sure that you set core.autocrlf=false and on Windows core.filemode=false. If you use EGit to clone the repository then this is done automatically for you.

Once you've cloned a repository, you can go to the Preferences > Team > Git > Configuration page. Select your repository, select the branch you picked when you cloned the repository and click New Entry.... Append "rebase" to the text in the 'Key' field and enter "true" as value.


To automate the setting of "branch.branchname.rebase = true" if you use command line git, add "branch.autosetuprebase = always" to your global user settings. Unfortunately, this does not yet work properly in EGit, see Bug 345536 (fixed in EGit nightly build).

Importing the projects

We need to get the projects from the repo into our workspace:

  1. right click on your newly cloned repo and select Import Projects
  2. you want Import existing projects from the Working Directory
  3. Next
  4. Select the projects that you want to import from the repository
  5. Finish

Now you can start working.

A note on deleting projects

Typically you will only want to have a subset of the projects from a given repository in your workspace. When you are no longer interested in a project, you can delete it from your workspace. However, NEVER select 'Delete project contents on disk' for a project in a git repository. If you do, Git will consider this an outgoing deletion to be committed to the remote branch. Later while working on a completely unrelated project you may accidentally commit this deletion (and you wouldn't be the first to do so).

Start working in HEAD

To start working in HEAD you must clone your repository and checkout a working copy. By default, cloning the repo checks out the master branch, which is the same as HEAD in CVS.

See #Clone_a_repo.

Refer to the EGit/User Guide for more detailed instructions and pictures.

The constant HEAD is used in GIT as well, but has a completely different meaning. In GIT HEAD means the pointer to the latest commit in your currently checked-out branch (more or less).

Start working in a new branch

For example, create the R3_7_maintenance branch for your repo. This example is for the case that your branch doesn't already exist as refs/remotes/origin/R3_7_maintenance.

Refer to the EGit/User Guide for more detailed instructions and pictures.

  1. right click on one of your projects and choose Team>Switch To>New Branch
  2. you need to pick a source ref.
    1. HEAD == current checked out commit
    2. refs/heads/master means your master branch.
    3. refs/remotes/origin/R3_7_maintenance - the existing remote branch. If you pick this one and name your local branch the same, EGit will automatically create a tracked branch.
    4. refs/tags/R3_7 is the tags to branch from
  3. name the branch R3_7_maintenance
  4. select the Rebase merge option
  5. leave "Check out the new branch" selected.

This will create a new branch for you to work on. Once you've made your initial commits, you need #Commit_changes_to_the_main_repo. Pushing up to the repo will push any new branches you've created as well.

Create a patch

We have 2 options for accepting contributions from the community. See Development Resources/Handling Git Contributions (prefered) and Git#IP_process_implications_of_DVCS. Refer to the EGit/User Guide for more detailed instructions and pictures.

To create a patch:

  1. You need to show the commits in the history view.
    1. Either right-click on a file you just committed and Show in history
    2. or right-click on the project and Show In>History, then find the commit you want
  2. right click on the commit in the History view, and select Create Patch
  3. use Next if you'd like the patch in the standard git mbox format

Apply a patch

A normal workspace patch will apply in the same fashion it does for CVS. Simply copy the file to the clipboard and paste it into the Package Explorer or use Team>Apply Patch.

Refer to the EGit/User Guide for more detailed instructions and pictures.

Patches created with git/EGit have a different pattern. They are diff statements that look like:

 diff --git a/bundles/org.eclipse.e4.ui.workbench.renderers.swt/src/org/eclipse/e4/ui/workbench/renderers/swt/HandledContributionItem.java b/bundles/org.eclipse.e4.ui.workbench.renderers.swt/src/org/eclipse/e4/ui/workbench/renderers/swt/HandledContributionItem.java
index 99d339f..37bcf68 100644
--- a/bundles/org.eclipse.e4.ui.workbench.renderers.swt/src/org/eclipse/e4/ui/workbench/renderers/swt/HandledContributionItem.java
+++ b/bundles/org.eclipse.e4.ui.workbench.renderers.swt/src/org/eclipse/e4/ui/workbench/renderers/swt/HandledContributionItem.java

To apply a patch like this, you should:

  1. copy and paste the patch into the Package Explorer
  2. Select Apply patch to the workspace root
  3. Next
  4. under Patch Options set Ignore leading path name segments to 2
  5. now you can examine the patch and apply is normally.

Contributing to a build

We do our latest release development in the master branch. Build contents are defined by the contents of the master branch of webtools.maps.git for latest development, and the maintenance branch for legacy development, such as R3_4_maintenance. Here is a rundown of how to update the contents of a build:

First, commit the code change locally and then push the change to git.eclipse.org. Then figure out what plugins and features were updated - you need to manually store this information. Tag the repository that was modified. (I had to do this by selecting a project in the Java perspective, brought up the context menu, and then selected Team->Advanced->Tag... and entered the appropriate Tag value and a comment.) Note that you tag the entire repository, and not just the plugins and features that changed. I saved the tag value that I entered (in Notepad) for later use. Push that tag to git.eclipse.org:

Go to the Git Repository Exploring view Select the repository, bring up the context menu, and select Push... (not Push to Upstream, but Push...) Hit Next> Press the Add All Tags Spec button. Press Next> You should see the tag(s) you added since the last push show up with a new tag entry. Press Finish

Make sure that you are using the right branch for the map files. (For WTP 3.4.1, the first time, I had to go to the Git Repository Exploring view, and do Switch to-> New Branch... and specify refs/head/R3_4_maintenance for the Source ref, and just type in R3_4_maintenance for the Branch name, and I specified rebase.) Update the tag value (using the value saved above) for the plugin(s) and feature(s) that were altered. Then commit and push the map files.

For the time being, the WTP build does not automatically get kicked off. You can see if there is a build running on the CruiseControl Dashboard

Manual tagging

Tagging for weekly integration builds is not needed, but sometimes you still need to tag. For example, tagging with a Rx_y tag when a release is done. To create a tag, use git tag mynewtag from the command line or the EGit Tag Dialog. Once a tag has been added, you must push the tag to the repository.

To push a specific tag, use git push origin mynewtag from the command line or use the following steps in EGit:

  1. Team > Remote > Push...
  2. Click Next to get to the Specifications Page
  3. In the Source ref box, enter in refs/tags/mynewtag (content assist is available to quickly find a tag)
  4. Click Add Spec
  5. Click Next
  6. Assuming the dry run is successful, click Finish

You can push all tags using git push --tags from the command line or pressing the Add All Tags Spec on the Specifications Page in EGit. However, this is risky as you will push all local tags and you will replace any tags that have been deleted from the remote repository.

The e4 Git page has some helpful scripts and additional information on tagging

Branches in our Platform Repos

We use a pre-receive hook in our repositories to enforce our branching/deleting policy.

  • committers can create, push anything, and delete their own topic branches on the remote repositories. Topic branches must have the form committerId/branchName. For example, pwebster/bug372119
  • committers can only push Fast Forward merges to the other branches, like origin/master or origin/R3_7_maintenance, or someone else's topic branch
  • committers cannot create or delete non-topic branches
  • committers can only delete tags with the same pattern as topic branches, committerId/tagName

Functionality can be re-enabled by setting certain config properties on the remote repository:

  • hooks.allownonffpush = true: Allow a non-FF push to any branch
  • hooks.allowdeletebranch = true: Allow any branch to be deleted
  • hooks.allowcreatenottopicbranch = true: Allow any branch to be created, like origin/R3_8_maintenance
  • hooks.allowdeletetag = true: Allow any tag to be deleted

Commit changes to the main repo

Committing a change to the main repo is a 2-step process in git. In git, a commit creates a commit with the changed files in your local clone repository. A push will put that commit in our main repo. Committing and pushing are distinct operations in git.

Refer to the EGit/User Guide for more detailed instructions and pictures.

To get your changes to the main repo in EGit:

  1. Do a pull or a fetch and a merge into your working branch
  2. right-click on your project and use Team>Commit
  3. Your commit message should include the bug number you are using for your fix/work.
  4. check the files that should be included in the commit in the Files section
  5. Commit

Then you need to push your changes to make sure they're visible to everyone else

  1. right-click on your project and use Team>Push to Upstream
  2. it should provide a status dialog with the refs that were updated, or a failure if the main repo has commits that you haven't either merged or rebased on.
  3. if there's a failure, you need to #Update_to_pull_in_the_latest_changes_to_HEAD or the relevant branch.

Common commit message:

 Bug 349177 - [releng] stitch ui.workbench fork back into main
Updating some code to reflect the real change

The eGit Staging View provides a way to see all changed code in your workspace. You can select a subset of the changed files to commit.

Update to pull in the latest changes to HEAD

To make changes visible from our main repo is a 2 step process in git:

  1. fetch which updates your cloned repo with all of the objects and remote branches from the main repo.
  2. merge which updates your local branch to point to the correct commit
    1. the most common case is called the "fast forward merge". That's where your repo has no local changes, and git can simply update your local master to the commit pointed to by origin/master
    2. if you have a local commit that has not yet been pushed, you might have to deal with merge conflicts:
      1. you will either have to merge the new origin/master into your master (which will lead to a merge commit with 2 parent commits)
      2. or rebase your local commit onto that last commit coming from origin/master. This leaves the history of the main repo as a simple line, and is prefered ... I think.

Refer to the EGit/User Guide for more detailed instructions and pictures.

Git can do both fetch and merge for the current branch at once:

  1. right click on your project and select Team>Pull

Making the same change in two branches

The easiest way to make the same change in two branches is by using the git "cherry-pick" command. The workflow is as follows:

  1. Make the change and commit in branch 1
  2. Check git log and copy the hash of the commit you just made to clipboard/etc
  3. Checkout branch 2
  4. Run "git cherry-pick <commit>" using the commit hash from step 2
  5. If you run git log, you will now see a new commit in branch 2 with the same contents and author as the commit on branch 1
  6. Push your changes in both branches

Merge conflicting changes

Refer to the EGit/User Guide for more detailed instructions and pictures.

If you pull changes for your branch and there are conflicts, you must merge them before you can commit your changes.

By default EGit merges conflicts into the local files using the old merge syntax Text Merge Markers. To switch to a compare editor merge, use the Team>Merge Tool menu item. See EGit/User Guide#Resolving_a_merge_conflict

Dealing with line terminators

Git has various options for normalizing line terminators between Windows (which uses CR/LF), and other platforms that use only LF. After trying various approaches, the Eclipse project has settled on the following approach:

  • Set core.autocrlf=false. If you use EGit to clone the repository then this is done automatically for you.
  • In your workspaces set General > Workspace > 'New text file line delimiter' to 'Unix'.
  • In the current dev branches (do not do this in maintenance branches) set 'New text file line delimiter' to 'Unix' on the 'Resource' property page of your projects.
  • If you don't work with EGit then it is your responsibility to avoid committing wrong line delimiters to the repository.
  • If using Windows, set core.fileMode=false. Again, if you use EGit to clone the repository then this is done automatically for you.


Cross-referencing between bugzilla and git

Some committers like to attach patches to bugzilla for all changes, so they have a record of exactly what changes occurred to fix the bug. With git there is a better way:

  • Push the change to git.eclipse.org
  • Navigate to git.eclipse.org in your web browser
  • Find your repository, and click on the "Log" tab
  • Click on your commit, which should be near the top of the log at this point
  • You are now on a page that shows a graphical diff of call changes that occurred in that commit. Copy the URL of this commit page into a bugzilla comment.

Now if someone in the future wants to see what changes were made to fix the bug, they have a one click link to see all the changes.

Pruning corrupt repository branches

Sometimes a branch in your repository might get corrupted and you may see errors such as "Could not read an object while parsing commit ...." in Egit or "Branch .... does not point to a valid object". The following command comes handy in such scenarios: git remote prune origin

(Always prefix a --dry-run to see what this command is going to do before you go ahead and execute it.)


For background reading on Git, see Git#Resources.