Dangit, git!

Git is hard: screwing up is easy, and figuring out how to fix your mistakes is nigh on impossible. Git documentation has this chicken and egg problem where you can't search for how to get yourself out of a mess, unless you already know the name of the thing you need to know about in order to fix your problem.

So here are some bad situations I've gotten myself into, and how I eventually got myself out of them in plain english*.

Dangit, I did something terribly wrong, please tell me git has a magic time machine!?!

                git reflog
                # you will see a list of every thing you've done in git, across all branches!
                # each one has an index HEAD@{index}
                # find the one before you broke everything
                git reset HEAD@{index}
                # magic time machine

You can use this to get back stuff you accidentally deleted, or just to remove some stuff you tried that broke the repo, or to recover after a bad merge, or just to go back to a time when things actually worked. I use reflog A LOT. Mega hat tip to the many many many many many people who suggested adding it!

Dangit, I committed and immediately realized I need to make one small change!

                    # make your change
                    git add . # or add individual files
                    git commit --amend
                    # follow prompts to change or keep the commit message
                    # now your last commit contains that change!

This usually happens to me if I commit, then run tests/linters... and ugh, I didn't put a space after the equals sign. You could also make the change as a new commit and then do rebase -i in order to squash them both together, but this is about a million times faster.

Dangit, I need to change the message on my last commit!

                	git commit --amend
                	# follow prompts to change the commit message

Stupid commit message formatting requirements.

Dangit, I accidentally committed something to master that should have been on a brand new branch!

                    # create a new branch from the current state of master
                    git branch some-new-branch-name
                    # remove the commit from the master branch
                    git reset HEAD~ --hard
                    git checkout some-new-branch-name
                    # your commit lives in this branch now :)

Note: this doesn't work if you've already pushed to origin, and if you tried other things first, you might need to git reset HEAD@{number} instead of HEAD~. Infinite sadness. Also, many many many people suggested an awesome way to make this shorter that I didn't know myself. Thank you all!

Dangit, I accidentally committed to the wrong branch!

                    # undo the last commit, but leave the changes available
                    git reset HEAD~ --soft
                    git stash
                    # move to the correct branch
                    git checkout name-of-the-correct-branch
                    git stash pop
                    git add . # or add individual files
                    git commit -m "your message here"
                    # now your changes are on the correct branch

A lot of people have suggested using cherry-pick for this situation too, so take your pick on whatever one makes the most sense to you!

                    git checkout name-of-the-correct-branch
                    # grab the last commit to master
                    git cherry-pick master
                    # delete it from master
                    git checkout master
                    git reset HEAD~ --hard

Dangit, I tried to run a diff but nothing happened?!

git diff --staged

Git won't do a diff of files that have been add-ed to your staging area without this flag. File under ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (yes, this is a feature, not a bug, but it's baffling and non-obvious the first time it happens to you!)

Dangit, I need to undo a commit from like 5 commits ago!

# find the commit you need to undo
git log
# use the arrow keys to scroll up and down in history
# once you've found your commit, save the hash
git revert [saved hash]
# git will create a new commit that undos that commit
# edit the commit message or save the commit

Turns out you don't have to copy-paste the contents of the old file into the existing file in order to undo changes! If you committed a bug, you can undo the commit all in one go with our friend revert.

You can even revert a single file! But of course, in true git fashion, it's a completely different set of commands...

Dangit, I need to undo my changes to a file!

# find a hash for a commit before the file was changed
git log
# use the arrow keys to scroll up and down in history
# once you've found your commit, save the hash
git checkout [saved hash] -- path/to/file
# the old version of the file will be in your index
git commit -m "Wow, you don't have to copy-paste to undo"

When I finally figured this out it was HUGE. HUGE. H-U-G-E. But seriously, on what planet does checkout make sense as the best way to undo a file? :shakes-fist-at-linus-torvalds:

Forget all of this, I give up.

                    cd ..
                    sudo rm -r dang-git-repo-dir
                    git clone https://some.github.url/dang-git-repo-dir.git
                    cd dang-git-repo-dir

Thanks to Eric V. for this one.