Branches are just pointers to commits

Every branch is simply a named pointer to a commit. A special unique pointer for every repository is the HEAD which points to the commit the working tree state currently corresponds to. The HEAD cannot only point to a commit, but also to a local branch, which itself points to a commit. Committing changes will create a new commit on top of the commit or local branch the HEAD is pointing to. If the HEAD points to a local branch, the branch pointer will be moved forward to the new commit; thus the HEAD will also indirectly point to the new commit. If the HEAD points to a commit, the HEAD itself is moved forward to the new commit.


The various Push commands allow you to push (i.e. send) your local commits to one or more remote repositories. SmartGit distinguishes between the following Push commands:

  • Push Pushes all commits in one or more local branches to their matching remote branches. More precisely, on the Push dialog you can choose between pushing the commits in the current branch to its matching remote branch, and pushing the commits in all local branches with matching remote branches to said remote branches. A local branch `matches' a remote branch if the branch names match, e.g. `master' and `origin/master'. With this Push command you can push to multiple repositories in a single invocation. SmartGit will detect automatically whether a forced push will be necessary.
  • Push To Pushes all commits in the current branch either to its matching branch, or to a ref specified by name. With the Push To command you can only push to one remote repository at a time. If multiple repositories have been set up, the Push To dialog will allow you to select the remote repository to push to. Also, the Push To command always allows to do a forced push, what can be convenient. This is necessary when pushing to a secondary remote repository for which forcing the push may be necessary while it is not when pushing to the primary remote repository (i.e. the one which is considered by SmartGit's forced push detection). You can also invoke Push To on a remote to push (or synchronize) all branches from the selected remote to another remote.
  • Push Commits Pushes the selected range of commits from the Outgoing view, rather than all commits, in the current branch to its tracked remote branch.

If you try to push commits from a new local branch, you will be asked whether to set up tracking for the newly created remote branch. In most cases it is recommended to set up tracking, as it will allow you to receive changes from the remote repository and make use of Git's branch synchronization mechanism (see Branches).

The Push commands listed above can be invoked from several places in SmartGit's project window:

  • Menu and toolbar In the menu, you can invoke the various Pull commands with Remote|Push, Remote|Push To and Remote|Push Commits. The first two may also be available as toolbar buttons, depending on your toolbar configuration. The third command is only enabled if the Outgoing view is focused.
  • Repositories view You can invoke Push in the Repositories view by selecting the open repository and choosing Push from the context menu.
  • Branches view In the context menu of the Branches view, you can invoke Push and Push To on local branches. Additionally, you can invoke Push on tags.
  • Outgoing view To push a range of commits up to a certain commit, select that commit in the Outgoing view and invoke Push Commits from the context menu.


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