In the vast landscape of version control systems, Git stands out as a powerful tool that enables collaborative development and efficient code management. One of essential features of Git is its ability to mark significant points in project history with tags. Tags serve as static references to specific commits, offering a snapshot of a project at a particular moment. Understanding the two types of Git tags, lightweight and annotated, along with their applications, is crucial for effective versioning and release management.
There are two types of Git tags we can use: lightweight and annotated tags
The semantic versioning spec outlines a standardized versioning system for software releases. It provides a consistent way for developers to give meaning to their software releases (how big of a change is this release??)
Versions consist of three numbers separated by periods.
MAJOR RELEASE. MINOR RELEASE. PATCH RELEASE
Typically, the first and foremost release is 1.0.0
Minor releases mean new features or functionality have been added, but the project is still backwards compatible—no breaking changes. The new functionality is optional and should not force users to rewrite their code.
Major releases mean important changes that are no longer backwards compatible. Features may be removed or changed substantially.
Git tag will print a list of all the tags in the current repository.
We can search for tags that match a particular pattern by using git tag -l and then passing in a wildcard pattern. For example, git tag -l "*beta*" will print a list of tags that include "beta" in their name.
To view the state of the repo at a particular tag, we can use git checkout <tag>. This puts us in a detached HEAD!
To create a lightweight tag, use git tag <tagname>
By default, Git will create the tag referring to the commit that HEAD is referencing.
Use git tag -a to create a new annotated tag. Git will then open your default text editor and prompt you for additional information.
As Git commit, we can also use the -m option to pass a message directly and forgo the opening of the text editor.
So far, we've seen how to tag the commit that HEAD references. We can also tag an older commit by providing the commit hash: git tag -a <tagname> <commit-hash>
Git will yell at us if we reuse a tag already referring to a commit. We can FORCE our tag through if we use the -f option.
To delete a tag, use git tag -d <tagname>
By default, the git push command doesn't transfer tags to remote servers. If you have many tags you want to push up at a time, you can use the --tags option to the git push command. This will transfer all your tags to the remote server that is not already there.
Git tags provide a valuable mechanism for marking significant points in a project's history. The choice between lightweight and annotated tags depends on the level of detail and documentation required. Understanding Semantic Versioning enhances clarity in version releases, fostering efficient collaboration among developers. Whether creating, viewing, or manipulating tags, Git's robust tag system is an indispensable asset in the version control toolkit, facilitating seamless project management and collaboration.
Yaani PatelJuly 22, 2022
Ashish Kasama & Vedika PandeySep 14, 2022