Quickstart for Contributing to a GitHub Repository with a Development Branch

Are you an eager GitHub user who wants to contribute to a repository that uses a development branch, but aren’t familiar with getting started without committing to master? No worries, here we go!

Getting started

First, fork the kendaleiv/development-branch-master-as-default repository (or, substitute a repository of your choice). In this repository the master branch is set as the default branch.

Next, run the following:

git clone
cd .\development-branch-master-as-default
git branch

Git will only setup the GitHub defined default branch locally during the clone process. If git branch reports your current branch is development (the starred branch is the current branch), you’re good to start committing against development. If that is the case, you may want to set the upstream remote at this time, too.

If your current branch is master, run the following:

git remote add upstream
git fetch upstream
git checkout -b development upstream/development

You should now be on the development branch locally.

Further notes

You can discover what the default branch is for a repository by navigating to the repository on GitHub. If you navigate to kendaleiv/development-branch-master-as-default you’ll see the master branch is initially shown. For comparison, kendaleiv/development-branch-development-as-default initially shows the development branch.

Also, remember to follow any guidelines for contributing, if they exist. This may include code style expectations, directions for submitting pull requests, and other guidance you should follow when contributing.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.