Oct 16, 2019 in Git

Q: What are the different ways you can refer to a commit?

1 Answer

Oct 16, 2019
In Git each commit has a unique hash. These hashes are used to identify the corresponding commits in various scenarios, for example, while trying to checkout a particular state of the code using the git checkout {hash} command.

Along with this, Git maintains a number of aliases to certain commits, known as refs. Also, every tag that is created in the repository effectively becomes a ref and that is exactly why you can use tags instead of committing hashes in various git commands. Git also maintains a number of special aliases that are changed based on the state of the repository, such as HEAD, FETCH_HEAD, MERGE_HEAD, etc.

In Git, commits are allowed to be referred to as relative to one another. In the case of merge commits, where the commit has two parents, ^ can be used to select one of the two parents, for example, HEAD^2 can be used to follow the second parent.

And finally, refspecs are used to map local and remote branches together. However, these can also be used to refer to commits that reside on remote branches allowing one to control and manipulate them from a local git environment.
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