Hello & Servus!

Life Hacking Weekly #1

March 26, 2020

Upfront: This post is part of a Life Hacking Weekly series I started and explained in this initial post. The main idea is to ensure learning progress dealing with (independent) things taken out of life and profession.

TECH: git rebase, a powerful tool that barely causes problems ;)

Recently I came across the situation to merge the last two git commits of a website I work on. As I wasn’t aware of how to solve this properly, a Google search forwarded me to this Stackoverflow page. In summary, the given answers that seemed most relevant to me suggested two ways to solve this:

  1. Use git reset and git commit with specific flags Use the following two commands to combine two commits into one commit:
git reset --soft "HEAD^"
git commit --amend

At first, git reset is used combined with the --soft flag. This causes a reset of ONLY the HEAD git tracks. On the opposite, if using git reset with the --hard flag (well known, if you want to discard all changes since the last git commit), git resets the HEAD, but also the index and the working tree!

Important note on this way of solving it: You can merge as many commits as you want, as long as they are the last X commits, and not somewhere in the middle. Just run

git reset --soft HEAD~10

where 10 is the number of commits, you want to merge.

  1. Use git rebase interactively As I wanted to merge the last two commits into one commit, I had to execute this rebase action.
git rebase --interactive HEAD~2

** git rebase is the git program executed

** --interactive or -i is the program flag to execute in interactive mode

** HEAD~2 tells the rebase process, to consider the last two commits based on the HEAD (a pointer referencing, in example, the last commit of a branch)

This will bring up an editor providing the possibility to interact. Within the editor, you’ll find the two commit messages with the word pick prepended. Instead of the word pick (which is something like a rebase action), you can insert different options to continue the rebase process after the interactive view is saved and closed.

pick = use commit as it is
reword = use commit, but edit the commit message
edit = use commit, but stop for amending
squash = use commit, but meld into previous commit
fixup = like "squash", but discard this commit's log message

As I wanted my previous commit to merge with the most current commit, I replaced the pick with a fixup, saved, and closed the file. Once done, the command line will log something like “Rebase done successfully.” 🎉


My name is Manuel Penaloza. I live in Austria and work as a web & software developer building things to enrich the internet and internal business processes. Doing so, I'm a big fan of considering and regularly auditing the aspect of "software has to support business success & goals". Find me on Twitter: @manpenaloza.