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Git fetch remote branch


Question

My colleague and I are working on the same repository. We've branched it into two branches, each technically for different projects, but they have similarities, so we'll sometimes want to commit back to the *master from the branch.

However, I have the branch. How can my colleague pull that branch specifically?

A git clone of the repository does not seem to create the branches locally for him, though I can see them live on unfuddle after a push on my end.

Also, when I originally made the branch, I did -b checkout. Does that make much difference?

$ git branch -r
origin/HEAD -> origin/master
origin/daves_branch
origin/discover
origin/master

$ git fetch origin discover
$ git checkout discover

These are the commands I ran. But it definitely is not working.

I want to be able to check out that branch and then push and commit back just the branches changes from various collaborators or workstations.

2019/12/16
1
2331
12/16/2019 2:08:47 PM

Accepted Answer

You need to create a local branch that tracks a remote branch. The following command will create a local branch named daves_branch, tracking the remote branch origin/daves_branch. When you push your changes the remote branch will be updated.

For most recent versions of Git:

git checkout --track origin/daves_branch

--track is shorthand for git checkout -b [branch] [remotename]/[branch] where [remotename] is origin in this case and [branch] is twice the same, daves_branch in this case.

For Git 1.5.6.5 you needed this:

git checkout --track -b daves_branch origin/daves_branch

For Git 1.7.2.3 and higher, this is enough (it might have started earlier, but this is the earliest confirmation I could find quickly):

git checkout daves_branch

Note that with recent Git versions, this command will not create a local branch and will put you in a 'detached HEAD' state. If you want a local branch, use the --track option.

Full details are here: 3.5 Git Branching - Remote Branches, Tracking Branches

2019/12/16
3153
12/16/2019 2:26:30 PM

I have used fetch followed by checkout...

git fetch <remote> <rbranch>:<lbranch>
git checkout <lbranch>

...where <rbranch> is the remote branch or source ref and <lbranch> is the as yet non-existent local branch or destination ref you want to track and which you probably want to name the same as the remote branch or source ref. This is explained under options in the explanation of <refspec>.

Git is so smart it auto completes the first command if I tab after the first few letters of the remote branch. That is, I don't even have to name the local branch, Git automatically copies the name of the remote branch for me. Thanks Git!

Also as the answer in this similar Stack Overflow post shows, if you don't name the local branch in fetch, you can still create it when you check it out by using the -b flag. That is, git fetch <remote> <branch> followed by git checkout -b <branch> <remote>/<branch> does exactly the same as my initial answer. And evidently, if your repository has only one remote, then you can just do git checkout <branch> after fetch and it will create a local branch for you. For example, you just cloned a repository and want to check out additional branches from the remote.

I believe that some of the documentation for fetch may have been copied verbatim from pull. In particular the section on <refspec> in options is the same. However, I do not believe that fetch will ever merge, so that if you leave the destination side of the colon empty, fetch should do nothing.

NOTE: git fetch <remote> <refspec> is short for git fetch <remote> <refspec>: which would therefore do nothing, but git fetch <remote> <tag> is the same as git fetch <remote> <tag>:<tag> which should copy the remote <tag> locally.

I guess this is only helpful if you want to copy a remote branch locally, but not necessarily check it out right away. Otherwise, I now would use the accepted answer, which is explained in detail in the first section of the checkout description and later in the options section under the explanation of --track, since it's a one-liner. Well... sort of a one-liner, because you would still have to run git fetch <remote> first.

FYI: The order of the <refspecs> (source:destination) explains the bizarre pre Git 1.7 method for deleting remote branches. That is, push nothing into the destination refspec.

2019/12/16

If you are trying to "checkout" a new remote branch (that exists only on the remote, but not locally), here's what you'll need:

git fetch origin
git checkout --track origin/<remote_branch_name>

This assumes you want to fetch from origin. If not, replace origin by your remote name.

2017/01/06

To checkout myBranch that exists remotely and not a locally - This worked for me:

git fetch --all
git checkout myBranch

I got this message:

Branch myBranch set up to track remote branch myBranch from origin
Switched to a new branch 'myBranch'
2013/11/12

Use git branch -a (both local and remote branches) or git branch -r (only remote branches) to see all the remotes and their branches. You can then do a git checkout -t remotes/repo/branch to the remote and create a local branch.

There is also a git-ls-remote command to see all the refs and tags for that remote.

2019/12/16

The easiest way to do it, at least for me:

git fetch origin <branchName> # Will fetch the branch locally
git checkout <branchName> # To move to that branch
2019/12/16

Source: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/9537392
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