Overview

Today, I want to share my experience on merging 20 Git repositories into a single one while keeping the history. After reading this article, you will understand:

  • The context and motivation
  • How repositories are cloned
  • How history is rewritten before merge
  • How to merge them

Context and Motivation

Why merging these repositories?

In our codebase, there’re two repositories: one for the source code, and the other for the integration tests (“itests”). Currently, they are completely separated. On the source code side, everything is normal: we have master branch and maintenance branches, the repository keeps changing in the history.

nos (master u=) $ git branch | grep -E 'master|maintenance'
  3.1-maintenance
  3.2-maintenance
  3.3-maintenance
  3.4-maintenance
  3.5-maintenance
  3.6-maintenance
  3.7-maintenance
* master

On the itests side, it’s quite particular: we have 19 branches, where each branch represents one target for testing. 19 branches together, they become a matrix for all targets. The initial goal of having this structure is that all the tests are almost the same, and they are very stable. By using the Git branch mechanism, it allows to cherry-pick easily the changes between branches, without doing copy-paste.

nuxeo-studio-itests (master u=) $ git branch
  10.1
  10.10
  10.10.x
  10.2
  10.3
  5.6
  5.8
  6.0
  7.10
  7.10.x
  8.10
  8.10.x
  9.10
  9.10.x
* master

However, as you can see, it is very challenging to maintain such structure. The tests are actually hidden inside the each branch. Searching is a pain. Comparing test logic across branches must rely on Git. And the worst, the source code and tests are separated. It means that there’s no isolation for artifacts testing: the artifacts must be deployed to Nexus and then downloaded, before launching the itests.

The plan is to flatten the branches into directories, and include them inside the main repository: nos. In total, it means I need to merge 20 repositories into a single one. Why 20 repositories, and not just 2? Because 19 branches in itests need to be considered as master, to be matched with the NOS master branch. This is a prerequisite for using tool git-merge-repos. If you don’t understand this part, it doesn’t matter, you will know better once you see the code.

Branch New Location (NOS)
nos:master ${nos} (no changes)
itests:5.6 ${nos}/itests/5.6
itests:5.8 ${nos}/itests/5.8
itests:6.0 ${nos}/itests/6.0
itests:7.10 ${nos}/itests/7.10
itests:7.10.x ${nos}/itests/7.10.x
itests:8.10 ${nos}/itests/8.10
itests:8.10.x ${nos}/itests/8.10.x
itests:9.10 ${nos}/itests/9.10
itests:9.10.x ${nos}/itests/9.10.x
itests:10.1 ${nos}/itests/10.1
itests:10.2 ${nos}/itests/10.2
itests:10.3 ${nos}/itests/10.3
itests:10.10 ${nos}/itests/10.10
itests:10.10.x ${nos}/itests/10.10.x

The following sections will provide a step-by-step explanation about this merge operation.

Clone Repositories

First of all, clone and go into the git-merge-repos tool:

git-merge-repos (master u=) $ pwd
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos

Use the following script clone.sh to clone NOS and clone all branches in itests. Each branch will be cloned as a separated repositories.

versions=( \
  "5.5" "5.5.x" \
  "5.6" "5.6.x" \
  "5.8" "5.8.x" \
  "6.0" "6.0.x" \
  "7.10" "7.10.x" \
  "8.10" "8.10.x" \
  "9.10" "9.10.x" \
  "10.1" "10.2" "10.3" "10.10" "10.10.x" \
)

for version in "${versions[@]}"
do
  git clone \
    --single-branch \
    --branch "$version" \
    --mirror \
    git@github.com:nuxeo/nuxeo-studio-itests.git \
    "itests-${version}.git"
done

git clone \
  --single-branch \
  --branch master \
  --mirror \
  git@github.com:nuxeo/nos.git
git-merge-repos (master u=) $ ./clone.sh

Rewrite ITests History

Preserve itests history of each platform, by moving files into sub-directory called “itests”. This is done by rewriting the Git history. Here’s the mvpath.sh to use:

versions=( \
  "5.5" "5.5.x" \
  "5.6" "5.6.x" \
  "5.8" "5.8.x" \
  "6.0" "6.0.x" \
  "7.10" "7.10.x" \
  "8.10" "8.10.x" \
  "9.10" "9.10.x" \
  "10.1" "10.2" "10.3" "10.10" "10.10.x" \
)
for version in "${versions[@]}"
do
  echo "Rewrite history: itests-${version}.git"
  cd "itests-${version}.git"
  git filter-branch --index-filter \
      'tab=$(printf "\t") && newdir="itests/${version}" && git ls-files -s --error-unmatch . >/dev/null 2>&1; [ $? != 0 ] || (git ls-files -s | sed "s~$tab\"*~&${newdir}/~" | GIT_INDEX_FILE=$GIT_INDEX_FILE.new git update-index --index-info && mv "$GIT_INDEX_FILE.new" "$GIT_INDEX_FILE")' \
      --tag-name-filter cat \
      -- --all
  git branch -m master
  cd ..
done

As you can see, after rewriting history, the itest branch is set to master. So that it can be matched to NOS master branch right after.

Merge 20 repositories

Then, list all the directories for merge:

git-merge-repos (master *% u+1) $ find "$(pwd -P)" -type d -maxdepth 1 | grep -E 'itests|nos' | sort
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-10.1.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-10.10.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-10.10.x.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-10.2.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-10.3.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-5.5.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-5.5.x.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-5.6.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-5.6.x.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-5.8.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-5.8.x.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-6.0.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-6.0.x.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-7.10.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-7.10.x.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-8.10.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-8.10.x.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-9.10.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-9.10.x.git
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/nos.git

Edit the results and create a command for merge:

git-merge-repos (master *+ u=) $ ./run.sh \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-10.1.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-10.10.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-10.10.x.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-10.2.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-10.3.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-5.5.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-5.5.x.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-5.6.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-5.6.x.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-5.8.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-5.8.x.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-6.0.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-6.0.x.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-7.10.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-7.10.x.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-8.10.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-8.10.x.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-9.10.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/itests-9.10.x.git:. \
/Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/nos.git:.

After executing the previous command, you’ll see the output, where the 20 repositories are all merged into a single one as merged-repo:

Merged repository: /Users/mincong/github/git-merge-repos/merged-repo

By doing this, the 1000+ commits history are preserved, as you can see in this screenshot:

History preserved from 20 Git repos

Check the Merge Result

Go to merged-repo and check that only itests directory is added. Other directories remain unchanged.

merged-repo (mhuang u=) $ git diff master.. --dirstat=files,100
 100.0% itests/

And all platforms are added:

merged-repo (mhuang u=) $ find itests -maxdepth 1 | sort
itests
itests/10.1
itests/10.10
itests/10.10.x
itests/10.2
itests/10.3
itests/5.5
itests/5.5.x
itests/5.6
itests/5.6.x
itests/5.8
itests/5.8.x
itests/6.0
itests/6.0.x
itests/7.10
itests/7.10.x
itests/8.10
itests/8.10.x
itests/9.10
itests/9.10.x

Conclusion

In this article, I shared my experience on merging 20 Git repositories into a single one, by explaining the context and motivation, the clone operation, the history rewrite, merge, and post operation check. git-merge-repos is an excellent tool. You might want to try for your team too. Hope you enjoy this article, see you the next time!

References