The Branch Creation Strategy Explained

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Discover a process for easy collaboration between teams of software developers, regardless of your project’s size and complexity. Branch creation strategies offer many benefits that can help software development teams be more productive, collaborative and ultimately successful.

In this article, Bocasay, our offshore outsourcing company, provides an overview of all you need to know before considering a branch creation strategy for your next software development project. 

Discover the branch strategy with Bocasay, your offshore outsourcing company Β©Pexels
Discover the branch strategy with Bocasay, your offshore outsourcing company Β©Pexels

What is a Branch Creation Strategy? 

In software development, a branch creation strategy refers to the approach that a team or an individual takes when creating and managing different branches of a software codebase, within a version control system like Git

The primary purpose of branch creation strategies is to allow multiple developers to work on different features or improvements to the codebase, without interfering with each other’s work. 

If all development was taking place simultaneously on the same codebase, then various features under construction could cause major disruptions and delays before being able to deliver functional software. By creating separate code branches, software developers can work independently on their own changes and merge them back into the main codebase when they are fully ready.

Types of Common Branch Creation Strategies

Choosing a branch creation strategy will depend on the specific requirements of your development team and the project they are working on. Here are some common branch creation strategies: 

Feature Branching

This strategy involves creating a separate branch for each new feature or improvement that a developer is working on. The feature branch is then merged back into the main branch once the feature is complete.

Release Branching

This involves a separate branch being created for each release of the software. Bug fixes and other changes are made in the release branch, and then merged back into the main branch once the release is complete.

Hotfix Branching

Hotfix branching is used when a critical bug needs to be fixed immediately. A separate branch is created to fix the bug and then it is merged back into the main branch as soon as possible.

Trunk-Based Development

In this strategy, all developers work directly on the main branch, with each committing to go through an automated testing and deployment pipeline before merging the codebase. This is often used in large, high-velocity teams that need to move quickly and don’t want to deal with the overhead of maintaining multiple branches.

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Software Development: Types of Projects that can Benefit from a Branch Creation Strategy

A branch creation strategy can be beneficial for any type of software development project, regardless of its size or complexity. However, some types of projects may benefit more from this strategy than others. 

Here are some examples of software development projects that are particularly well-suited to a branch creation strategy:

1.Large Projects: Large projects with multiple teams working on different features can benefit from branch creation strategies. By creating separate branches, each team can work independently on their assigned software features without interfering with other teams’ work.

2. Agile Development: Agile development involves iterative software development releases and continuous integration. Branch creation strategies enable development teams to manage changes more effectively and improve collaboration.

3. Open-Source Projects: Open-source projects often have a large number of contributors working on a central codebase. Branch creation strategies can help to manage changes and to make sure that only high-quality code is integrated into the main branch.

4. Mobile App Development: Mobile app development involves multiple platforms, including iOS and Android. A branch creation strategy can assist with managing changes for different platforms and ensuring that only the correct code is merged into the central code branch.

5. Web Development: Web development involves multiple layers, including front-end and back-end development. Use a branch creation strategy to manage changes for different layers and guarantee that only functional code is merged into the main codebase.

6. DevOps: DevOps involves continuous delivery and continuous deployment. Branch creation strategies can help to manage changes and ensure that only high-quality code is deployed to the production environment.

For your software development, adopt the methodology that suits you Β©Canva
For your software development, adopt the methodology that suits you Β©Canva

The Benefits of a Branch Creation Strategy

Software development teams have a wide range of benefits to gain from branch creation strategies. Here are ten of the most significant benefits:

1- Collaboration

Branch creation strategies make it easier for multiple developers to work on the same codebase simultaneously. They can work on their own branches independently, avoiding conflicts and merge issues.

2- Speedy Development

By working on separate branches, developers can make changes more quickly and efficiently, without having to worry about interfering with other developers’ work.

3- High-Quality

Development using branch creation strategies ensures that changes to the codebase are properly tested and reviewed before being merged into the main branch. This helps to maintain high code quality and reduce the risk of bugs and errors.

4- Version Control

With branch creation strategies, you can easily keep track of different versions of the codebase. This can be helpful when troubleshooting issues or rolling back to a previous version of the codebase.

5- Low-Risk

By being able to fine-tune separate code branches, developers can test changes without affecting the main codebase. This significantly reduces the risk of introducing bugs or errors into the production environment.

6- Flexibility

Deploying a branch creation strategy makes it easier to experiment with new features or ideas without affecting the main codebase. Developers can create a separate branch to try out a new approach and then merge it back into the main branch only if it is fully functional.

7- Accountability

You can easily track who made what changes to the codebase by using branch creation strategies. This can be helpful when troubleshooting issues or reviewing performance.

8- Improved Communication

Generally, branch creation strategies encourage better communication between developers. They establish the environment where developers can discuss changes and collaborate more effectively to improve the codebase.

9- Code Reviewing

Choose a branch creation strategy to make it easier to review changes to the codebase. Developers can review changes on separate branches and provide feedback before merging them into the main codebase branch.

10- Release Management

Branch creation strategies make managing software releases simple. Developers can create separate release branches to manage bug fixes and other changes related to specific releases, easily tracking changes and maintaining efficient release schedules.

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