git merge --squash and git rebase explained

One advantage for Git comes from its powerful branch management capability, but it will be hard to maintain the commit history between different branches. As Linus said that Clear and Clean is important for the commit history, here in this article I am going to demonstrate how git merge --squash, git merge, and git rebase will affect the commit history.

git merge and git merge --squash

In below example I am going to merge dev3 into dev2 and dev4 by using merge with and without --squash parameter.

Initial status

merge with --squash test

git checkout dev4
git merge --squash dev3
git commit -a

git merge

We can see changed files in working directory and after commit we don't see fbcb87a and b85fcb7 in the history of dev4

Plain merge

git checkout dev2
git merge dev3

git plain merge

Now dev4 and dev2 have the same content, but we cannot see dev4 contains commits form dev3, but dev2 has the information.


--squash will abandon the merge history, so you will not know what was merged. Only use it when you don't want these commit history!


git rebase acts like automatically cherrypick commits into current branch and then reapply the commits in current branch. See below example.

Before rebase

Before rebase


git checkout dev
git rebase master

After rebase

Notice: dev commit ccd4673 changed to 9d76e0b

After rebase


Rebase do not like merge - which will cause a commit, and from the tree you cannot see when the dev is split out and when it is merged back. - So Linus calls it is a clean for history.

Jim - Software Engineer with up to 7 years experience related to Java, Android and C++. He is now working for Avaya Emerging Product and Technology Department Shanghai, China.
Published under (CC) BY-NC-SA in categories Common Tec  tagged with Git