Cherry-Pick and Stash for Efficient Development Workflows


Git, with its versatile set of commands, offers developers powerful tools to streamline their workflows. Among these tools are "cherry-pick" and "stash," which can significantly enhance efficiency and organization when used effectively. In this article, we'll delve into these two functionalities, exploring their purposes, best practices, and real-world applications.

Understanding Cherry-Pick

Cherry-pick is a Git command used to select and apply specific commits from one branch to another. This feature is particularly useful when you need to introduce changes from one branch into another without merging the entire branch.

How to use cherry-pick?

Here's how to use cherry-pick effectively.

  1. Identify the commit(s) you want to apply: Use git log or a Git visualization tool to find the commit hashes of the changes you wish to cherry-pick.
  2. Switch to the target branch: Check out the branch where you want to apply the changes.
  3. Cherry-pick the commit: Use the command git cherry-pick <commit-hash> to apply the desired commit(s) to the current branch.
  4. Resolve conflicts if any: Git will attempt to apply the changes automatically, but conflicts may arise. Resolve conflicts using git status, git diff, and git add as needed.
  5. Complete the cherry-pick: Once conflicts are resolved, commit the changes using git commit --no-edit if you're satisfied with the commit message.

Cherry-pick Example

Suppose you have a feature branch "featureA" with a commit that fixes a critical bug. To apply this fix to the "develop" branch without merging the entire feature branch, you can cherry-pick as follows.

git checkout develop
git cherry-pick <commit-hash>

Understanding Stash

The stash command in Git allows developers to temporarily store changes that are not ready to be committed but need to be set aside. Stashing is handy when you want to switch branches or pull changes from a remote repository without committing your current changes.

How to use stash?

Here's how to effectively use stash:

  1. Stash your changes: Use git stash to store your changes temporarily.
  2. Perform other operations: Switch branches, pull changes, or perform any other necessary operations.
  3. Retrieve your changes: Use git stash apply or git stash pop to reapply your stashed changes.
  4. Optionally, clear the stash: Use git stash clear to remove all stashed changes when they are no longer needed.

Stash Example

Suppose you're working on a feature branch "featureB" but need to switch to the "develop" branch to address an urgent issue. You can stash your changes, switch branches, and then retrieve your changes later.

git stash
git checkout develop
... (address urgent issue)
git checkout featureB
git stash apply


Mastering the cherry-pick and stash functionalities in Git can greatly enhance your development workflows. Cherry-pick allows you to selectively apply commits, avoiding unnecessary merges and keeping your commit history clean. Stash, on the other hand, enables you to store changes temporarily, facilitating seamless branch switching and collaboration. By understanding and effectively utilizing these features, developers can work more efficiently and maintain better control over their Git repositories.