git stash with message with code examples

Git stash is a powerful tool that allows developers to save their changes temporarily without committing them to the Git repository. The stash command is incredibly useful when you need to switch branches quickly or pull changes from a remote repository without committing your local changes. Although the default stashing behavior in Git is good enough for most scenarios, there is a neat trick to add a message to your stash.

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about using git stash with a message, with code examples.

What is a Git Stash?

Git stash is a command that allows developers to save changes temporarily in a special area known as the stash. The stash is similar to a commit, but it’s not persisted to the Git repository. Essentially, stashing is equivalent to creating a commit but on the fly, without having to worry about committing a half-baked feature that isn’t ready for public consumption.

The stash command is incredibly useful when you have local changes that aren’t ready to be pushed to the remote repository, and you need to switch branches quickly. With stashing, you can save your local changes, switch branches, and then apply the stash later on when you’re ready to resume work on that feature.

Now that we understand what git stash is, let’s dive into how to use it with a message.

Using Git Stash with a Message

By default, Git stash doesn’t allow you to add a message to your stash. If you run the git stash command without any parameters, Git will create a new stash with the message "WIP on [branch] [commit hash]". The message includes the name of the current branch and the hash of the most recent commit.

However, if you want to add a custom message to your stash, you can use the git stash save command with the -m or --message flag. Here’s an example:

$ git stash save --message="Add new feature"

In this example, we’re creating a new stash with the message "Add new feature". To apply this stash later, you can use the git stash apply command:

$ git stash apply stash@{0}

Here, we’re applying the most recent stash to our working directory. The {0} at the end of stash@{0} refers to the index of the stash. You can specify a different index number if you have more than one stash.

Display Stash Messages

To view the messages of all the stashes that are currently saved in your repository, you can use the git stash list command:

$ git stash list

stash@{0}: On master: Add new feature
stash@{1}: On feature-branch: Update README.md

In this example, we have two stashes saved in our repository, and we can see their messages next to their respective indices.

Conclusion

Git stash is a powerful tool that allows developers to save their changes temporarily without committing them to the Git repository. While the default behavior of Git stash works great in most scenarios, sometimes you want to attach a meaningful message to your stashes.

In these scenarios, you can use the git stash save command with the -m or --message flag to add a custom message to your stashes. You can also view all the stashes’ messages with the git stash list command.

Remember that Git stash is a temporary solution, and you should only use it when you need to switch branches quickly or pull changes from remote repositories without committing local changes. Stashes are not a substitute for commits, and you should always commit your changes to the Git repository when they’re ready for public consumption.

Sure thing! Let's delve a bit deeper into Git stash and provide more examples.

Applying a Specific Stash

As mentioned earlier, if you have multiple stashes, you can apply a specific stash by specifying its index in the git stash apply command. For example, if you want to apply the second stash in your list, you can use the following command:

$ git stash apply stash@{1}

This will apply the second stash in your stash list to your current working directory. The index starts at zero, so the third stash would be referenced as stash@{2}, and so on.

Applying a Stash and Removing it from the List

By default, when you apply a stash, it will still remain in your stash list. If you want to apply a stash and remove it from the list at the same time, you can use the git stash pop command instead of git stash apply. For example:

$ git stash pop stash@{0}

This will apply the first stash in your list and remove it from the stash list.

Creating a Branch from a Stash

Sometimes, you may want to create a new branch based on the changes in your stash to work on them more permanently. To do this, you can use the git stash branch command. This command creates a new branch, applies the stash to it, and removes the stash from your stash list, all in one step. Here's an example:

$ git stash branch new-feature stash@{0}

This will create a new branch called new-feature based on the changes in your first stash. The stash will be applied to the new branch, and then removed from the stash list. You can then continue working on the changes in the new-feature branch.

Listing the Contents of a Stash

If you want to see what changes are saved in a specific stash, you can use the git stash show command. By default, this command shows the changes saved in the most recent stash. For example:

$ git stash show

This will display the changes saved in the most recent stash. You can also specify a stash by its index, like this:

$ git stash show stash@{1}

This will show the changes saved in the second stash in your list.

Conclusion

Git stash is a powerful and useful tool for managing changes in your Git repository. While we've covered the basics in this article, there are many more features and options that you can use with Git stash. For example, you can save untracked files in a stash by using the --include-untracked flag with the git stash command, or you can save the stash changes as a patch file by using the git stash show -p command.

Overall, Git stash is a handy tool to have in your toolbox as a developer. It allows you to save changes on the fly, switch branches when needed, and continue working on your changes later without having to worry about committing them to the repository. Experiment with Git stash and find the options that work best for your workflow!

Popular questions

  1. What is Git stash, and how is it useful?

Git stash is a command that allows developers to save changes temporarily in a special area known as the stash. The stash is similar to a commit, but it’s not persisted to the Git repository. Git stash is incredibly useful when you have local changes that aren’t ready to be pushed to the remote repository, and you need to switch branches quickly.

  1. How can you add a message to a Git stash?

By default, Git stash doesn’t allow you to add a message to your stash. If you run the git stash command without any parameters, Git will create a new stash with the message "WIP on [branch] [commit hash]". However, you can use the git stash save command with the -m or --message flag to add a custom message to your stash. For example:

$ git stash save --message="Add new feature"
  1. How can you apply a specific stash in Git?

If you have multiple stashes, you can apply a specific stash by specifying its index in the git stash apply command. For example, if you want to apply the second stash in your list, you can use the following command:

$ git stash apply stash@{1}

This will apply the second stash in your stash list to your current working directory.

  1. How can you create a new branch based on the changes in a stash in Git?

To create a new branch based on the changes in a stash, you can use the git stash branch command. For example:

$ git stash branch new-feature stash@{0}

This will create a new branch called new-feature based on the changes in your first stash. The stash will be applied to the new branch, and then removed from the stash list.

  1. How can you list the contents of a specific stash in Git?

To see what changes are saved in a specific stash, you can use the git stash show command. By default, this command shows the changes saved in the most recent stash. For example:

$ git stash show

This will display the changes saved in the most recent stash. You can also specify a stash by its index, like this:

$ git stash show stash@{1}

This will show the changes saved in the second stash in your list.

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CodeStash

As a seasoned software engineer, I bring over 7 years of experience in designing, developing, and supporting Payment Technology, Enterprise Cloud applications, and Web technologies. My versatile skill set allows me to adapt quickly to new technologies and environments, ensuring that I meet client requirements with efficiency and precision. I am passionate about leveraging technology to create a positive impact on the world around us. I believe in exploring and implementing innovative solutions that can enhance user experiences and simplify complex systems. In my previous roles, I have gained expertise in various areas of software development, including application design, coding, testing, and deployment. I am skilled in various programming languages such as Java, Python, and JavaScript and have experience working with various databases such as MySQL, MongoDB, and Oracle.
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