Making Open Work
May 8–9, 2017: Training & Tutorials
May 10–11, 2017: Conference
Austin, TX

Power Git: Rerere, bisect, subtrees, filter branch, worktrees, submodules, and more

Brent Laster (SAS)
9:00am12:30pm Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Location: Ballroom F
Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ***..
(3.33, 9 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Anyone who wants to learn to use Git's advanced functionality

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A working knowledge of the basic operation and usage of Git (at least several months experience)

Materials or downloads needed in advance

  • A laptop with Git (version 2.9 or higher) installed
  • A GitHub account
  • A copy of the class labs (Note: Many people find a printed copy is useful - please print these in advance and bring with you if you would like to have that.)

What you'll learn

  • Learn advanced Git techniques for managing your source code, including rerere, bisect, subtrees, filter branch, worktrees, submodules, and more


Git has an immense collection of power operations and techniques that can help users simplify their development process and deal with the challenges that today’s multibranch and multirepository projects can often demand.

If you are doing anything with open source these days, the chances are very high that you are working with Git. Many know enough basic Git operations to get started but don’t have the time (or even know where to look) to learn about Git’s advanced functionality. Brent Laster explains how to take your Git skills to the next level, covering useful techniques—some which have existed in Git for years and some which were included in very recent versions—for managing your source code more easily than ever before.

Topics include:

  • How to use the rerere functionality to teach Git how to automatically resolve merge conflicts that reoccur
  • How to use the bisect functionality to quickly find where a problem was introduced in a project’s history
  • How to use the new worktrees functionality to work in multiple branches at one time in Git
  • How to use subtrees and submodules to simplify handling of multirepository projects, including the advantages, disadvantages, and differences between the two approaches
  • How to use the filter branch functionality to split subdirectories out into their own projects and remove undesirable content in history
  • How to use the built-in grep command to search in Git
  • How to use the notes functionality to annotate your Git history
Photo of Brent Laster

Brent Laster


Brent Laster is a senior manager of software development in the Research and Development Division at SAS, based in Cary, North Carolina, where he manages several groups involved with release engineering processes and internal tooling. He’s a global trainer, presenter, and author. He also serves as a resource for the use of open source technologies and conducts internal training classes in technologies such as Git, Gerrit, Gradle, and Jenkins, both in the US and abroad. In addition to corporate training, Brent creates and presents workshops for a wide variety of technical conferences. His workshops and informational sessions on open source technologies (and how to apply them) have been presented at such conferences as the Rich Web Experience/Continuous Delivery Experience, UberConf, OSCON, and others. Brent is the author of Professional Git from WROX and Jenkins 2: Up and Running and is a contributor to publications such as the No Fluff Just Stuff magazine and Brent also conducts live web training courses from time to time. Brent’s passion is teaching in a way that makes difficult concepts relatable to all. He’s been involved in technical training for over 25 years and continues to seek out ways to show others how technology can be used to simplify and automate workflows.

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Picture of Brent Laster
Brent Laster | SENIOR MANAGER, R&D
05/12/2017 12:09am CDT

Hi all, thanks to everyone who attended this session. Just wanted to note that a pdf with the slides is now available at the top of this page. Hope you all found the session useful. If you want to explore any of the topics in more depth, the book has coverage on all of them. Thanks!