git push matching vs simple

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Recently I built some new infrastructure and started to see messages like this in my Git environments.

Decisions, decisions. What exactly is the difference between matching and simple Git push?

git push matching vs simple

From the documentation

push.default defines the action git push should take if no refspec is explicitly given. Different values are well-suited for specific workflows; for instance, in a purely central workflow (i.e. the fetch source is equal to the push destination), upstream is probably what you want. Possible values are:

  • nothing – do not push anything (error out) unless a refspec is explicitly given. This is primarily meant for people who want to avoid mistakes by always being explicit.
  • current – push the current branch to update a branch with the same name on the receiving end. Works in both central and non-central workflows.
  • upstream – push the current branch back to the branch whose changes are usually integrated into the current branch (which is called @{upstream}). This mode only makes sense if you are pushing to the same repository you would normally pull from (i.e. central workflow).
  • simple – in centralized workflow, work like upstream with an added safety to refuse to push if the upstream branch’s name is different from the local one. When pushing to a remote that is different from the remote you normally pull from, work as current. This is the safest option and is suited for beginners. This mode has become the default in Git 2.0.
  • matching – push all branches having the same name on both ends. This makes the repository you are pushing to remember the set of branches that will be pushed out (e.g. if you always push maint and master there and no other branches, the repository you push to will have these two branches, and your local maint and master will be pushed there). To use this mode effectively, you have to make sure all the branches you would push out are ready to be pushed out before running git push, as the whole point of this mode is to allow you to push all of the branches in one go. If you usually finish work on only one branch and push out the result, while other branches are unfinished, this mode is not for you. Also this mode is not suitable for pushing into a shared central repository, as other people may add new branches there, or update the tip of existing branches outside your control. This used to be the default, but not since Git 2.0 (simple is the new default).

What is the difference between push.default matching and simple

In short, matching forces you to keep remote and local branches in sync, with the same names at all time. Simple lets you have different branch names and doesn’t force you to push all the branches as the same time. For me simple is a lot more, er, simpler, and safe and reflects the way I work better. The choice is easy.