Branch Naming Conventions

The master branch is the primary development branch for the proejct. Commits to master require that continuous integration tests pass before they may be merged.

Please use the following naming conventions when creating branches:

  • release/major.minor
    The release prefix is reserved for supported release branches. Actual releases and pre-releases will be identified using tags.

    Tagging conventions for the release branch:

    • Patch numbers for a release will be specified in the tag, such that a given release will have the form major.minor.patch.

    • Alpha, Beta, or Release Candidates
      Any pre-release version should include the name of the pre-release, e.g., alpha, beta or rc, and the version of the pre-release at the end of the normal release version. Here are some examples:

      • Release candidate 2 of release 1.0.0 would be 1.0.0-rc.2.

      • Alpha release 1 of release 1.0.0 would be 1.0.0-alpha.1.

    • Must branch from: master

  • stable/branch_name
    A stable branch is a development or feature branch that is guaranteed to build and pass the FleCSI continuous integration test suite, but one which incorporates new features or capabilities that are not available in a release branch. This label should not be used for a branch that is intended to become a release candidate (Use release instead.)

  • feature/username/branch_name or feature/branch_name
    A feature branch is where new development is done. However, master should be merged periodically into a feature branch. If the branch is to primarily be developed by an individual, it should include the username as part of the branch.

    • Must branch from: master

    • Must merge to: master

  • fix/reference
    Bug-fix branches should use the fix prefix, and should include a reference number or name, e.g., issue number or the related release tag.

    • Must branch from: release branch

    • Must merge to: master *and* release branch

# Managing Branches Please use the following sections as a guide to creating and managing branches.

Feature Branches

All new development is done on a feature branch.


To create a new feature branch:

# Make sure that you are up-to-date on the master branch
$ git checkout master
$ git pull

# If the project uses submodules you should also make sure
# that they are up-to-date
$ git submodule update --recursive

# Create a new feature branch
$ git checkout -b feature/name

Once you make a change to your feature branch, you can push it to the remote–after considering classification and export control implications–using the following:

git push --set-upstream origin feature/name


When you are done developing a feature, you should merge your feature branch with master using the no fast-forward (–no-ff) flag to git:

# Make sure that you are up-to-date on the master branch
$ git checkout master
$ git pull

# Merge your branch into master
$ git merge --no-ff feature/name

The –no-ff flag preserves information about the existence of the feature branch after it is removed.

After you have merged your changes into master, you should submit a pull request. This can be done on the [github website](

Once the pull request has been accepted, you can safetly remove the feature branch:

# Remove the local branch
$ git branch -d feature/name

# Remove the remote branch
$ git push origin --delete feature/name

After the feature branch is removed, it will no longer appear in the commit messages for the project. However, because we used –no-ff, the structure of the branch will be retained, e.g., try git log –graph. The name of the branch will also appear in the message at the merge point, provided that you used the default message provided by git.

Release Branches

A release branch is used to prepare and maintain supported releases.


Creating a release branch is similar to creating a feature branch, except that the naming convention for release branches is more restrictive, i.e., the branch name must have the form release/major.minor:

# Make sure that you are up-to-date on the master branch
$ git checkout master
$ git pull

# If the project uses submodules you should also make sure
# that they are up-to-date
$ git submodule update --recursive

# Create a new release branch
$ git checkout -b release/major.minor


Properly completing work on a release branch in preparation for a supported release requires a combination of command-line and server-side operations. These instructions assume that the server is GitHub. These directions also assume that you have completed a *CHANGELOG* of the changes for the new release.

1. When you are ready to create an actual release on a release branch, you need to create an annotated tag with the release version:

$ git tag -a -m "Release major.minor.patch" major.minor.patch

The major.minor part of the version must be consistent with the branch name. The patch level should be sequential, and should use the next integer value from the last tag on the branch, e.g.:

  • 1.0: Initial release tag

  • 1.0.1: First patch tag

  • 1.0.2: Second patch tag

Tags should be consistent with the branch name, but they are unrelated to the number of commits on the branch.

2. Once you have created the tag, you should go to the GitHub project site, and click on the releases link. This will take you to the release page for the project.

3. Next, you should click on the Draft a new release button. This will bring up a page with several edit fields.

4. In the Tag version edit field, enter the tag that you created in the previous steps.

5. Create a release title of the form Release major.minor.patch (patch should only be used when appropriate.)

6. Cut and paste the information from your CHANGELOG file into the Describe this release field, and make any other changes or additions that are appropriate.

7. Once you have completed filling out the information, press the Publish release button.