How to Use Git Revert


By squashlabs, Last Updated: October 27, 2023

How to Use Git Revert


Git is a useful version control system that allows developers to track changes in their codebase and collaborate effectively. One essential feature of Git is the ability to revert commits, which allows you to undo changes made to your repository. In this guide, we will explore how to use the “git revert” command to revert commits in a practical way.

Step 1: Understanding Git Revert

Before we dive into the practical usage of “git revert,” let’s understand what it does. The “git revert” command undoes the changes made by a specific commit, creating a new commit that undoes those changes. It is important to note that “git revert” does not remove the targeted commit from the commit history. Instead, it adds a new commit that reverses the changes made by the target commit.

Step 2: Identifying the Commit to Revert

To use “git revert,” you need to identify the commit you want to revert. There are different ways to do this, but one common approach is to use the “git log” command to view the commit history. The “git log” command displays a list of commits, including their unique commit hashes, commit messages, and other relevant information.

Here is an example of using the “git log” command to view the commit history:

$ git log

The output will show the commit history with the most recent commit at the top. Each commit will have a unique commit hash, commit message, author, and date.

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Step 3: Reverting a Commit

Once you have identified the commit you want to revert, you can use the “git revert” command to create a new commit that undoes the changes made by that commit. The syntax for the “git revert” command is as follows:

$ git revert <commit-hash>

Replace <commit-hash> with the actual commit hash of the commit you want to revert. For example, if the commit hash is “abc123,” the command would be:

$ git revert abc123

When you run the “git revert” command, Git will create a new commit that undoes the changes made by the specified commit. Git will open your default text editor so you can provide a commit message for the revert commit. Once you save and close the commit message, Git will create the revert commit.

Step 4: Resolving Conflicts

In some cases, the changes made by the commit you want to revert may conflict with other changes in your repository. When this happens, Git will not automatically create the revert commit. Instead, it will notify you of the conflicts and ask you to resolve them manually.

To resolve conflicts during a revert, you will need to open the conflicting files in a text editor and make the necessary changes. Git marks the conflicting sections with special markers that indicate the conflicting changes from the original commit and the changes from the subsequent commits. Once you have resolved the conflicts, you can save the files and proceed with the revert commit.

It is important to carefully review the changes and resolve conflicts to ensure that the revert produces the desired result without introducing new issues.

Step 5: Best Practices and Tips

Here are some best practices and tips to consider when using “git revert”:

1. Create a new branch: If you are unsure about the outcome of a revert, it is a good practice to create a new branch before performing the revert. This allows you to experiment with the revert without affecting the main branch.

2. Test the revert: After creating the revert commit, it is essential to test your code to ensure that the revert produced the desired result. Running tests and performing manual checks will help you identify any unexpected issues or regressions.

3. Communicate with your team: If you are working in a team, it is important to communicate with your teammates about the revert. Let them know why you are reverting a commit and any potential impact it may have on their work. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and can adjust their work accordingly.

4. Document the revert: When you create a revert commit, it is useful to include a clear and concise commit message that explains why the revert was necessary. This helps future developers understand the rationale behind the revert and reduces confusion.

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