hilton meyer

Protect git branch and prevent master push

Background #

I've only really ever developed application by myself but I work in a way that I hope to be able to work in a team. I still have plenty to learn but the basic idea is that I have 2 main branches master and develop. I setup develop as my default branch and the master branch is what is deployed as Production by merging changes from develop. So this is just a note to myself how to create this setup and it might be of some use to anyone else trying to organise their process a bit without making things to complicated.

Branch protection #

My first step is creating the develop branch from master and pushing this up to Github. You could also do this by simply creating a branch from the GUI.

git checkout master
git checkout -b develop
git push origin develop

Once the develop branch is in the repo you want to navigate to Settings > Branches and set the develop branch you just created as default.

Github default branch

Branch protection rules #

This is of course optional and you could leave the master as default. I just prefer doing it this way to further protect the master branch. The next step is protecting the develop branch from deletion by simply creating a Branch protection rule by clicking on the add button. In Branch name pattern add the text develop without selecting anything else. This will now protect the branch from being deleted.

master branch will also need to be protected in the same way. You should be left with two rules that have nothing currently checked but this will protect both of these.

Disable master push #

In the .git/hooks folder you need to create a file pre-push, no file extension and add the following to the file:


current_branch=$(git symbolic-ref HEAD | sed -e 's,.*/\(.*\),\1,')

if [ $protected_branch = $current_branch ]
    echo "${protected_branch} is a protected branch, create PR to merge"
    exit 1 # push will not execute
    exit 0 # push will execute

The script checks the current branch being pushed and compares it to the protected branch, in this case master. A simple if statement and stop pushing directly to the master branch and you will need to create a pull request to merge changes. You could do the same for the develop branch to also protect that. This is a simple solution for me to at least protect those branches I want to and forces me to create PR's everytime I want to make a change.

Workflow #

Having the master and develop branches I will pull my develop branch and then create another branch for the work I want to work on, for example:

git checkout develop
git pull origin develop
git checkout -b article-protect-git-branch


git push origin article-protect-git-branch

The new feature is not in the repository and I can create a pull request into develop to check the changes live before finally merging them into production.