About Clones & Forks

04/10/20191 Min Read — In git, github

Today I came across a situation with Git/Github that I had never encountered before. What happend? Two days ago I cloned Uğurcan's repository Trello Data Visualization to develop an integration for Github-Projects. In doing so, I forgot to create a fork first (which I would then use to create a pull request later on). The way I knew how to contribute to an open source project without being a collaborator (which means that you don't have push access) is as follows:

  1. Fork the repository you want contribute to
  2. Clone your fork to your local machine
  3. Make and commit your changes
  4. Push your commits to your github fork
  5. Create a Pull Request in the initial repository
  6. Wait and hope for your PR to be merged :-)

However, this time I forgot the first step and directly cloned Uğurcan's repository. So I just coded and commited to a repository to which I have no push access to. So, what's next? 😱

Upstream & origin

I found a great StackOverflow answer which helped to me to understand the concept of upstream and origin. Git uses the term upstream to refer to the initial repository, whereas the term origin refers to the repository which was used for cloning. In my case, the origin points to Uğurcan's repository:

$ git remote show origin
* remote origin
Fetch URL: https://github.com/SengitU/trello-data-visualization.git
Push URL: https://github.com/SengitU/trello-data-visualization.git

However, since I want the origin to be a repository to which I have push access, I forked Uğurcan's repository afterward and updated the origin to point to my fork:

$ git remote set-url origin https://github.com/markusheilig/trello-data-visualization.git

Let's ensure that updating the origin worked:

$ git remote show origin
* remote origin
Fetch URL: https://github.com/markusheilig/trello-data-visualization.git
Push URL: https://github.com/markusheilig/trello-data-visualization.git

Works as expected, nice! 😎

From now, a git push will push the commits to the new origin. At this time, I can continue with step 5 (i.e. creating a PR) :-)

Long story short

If you commited to a repository you have no push access to, simply create a fork afterward and make origin point to it. :-)