From ift

Software repository

We use the server hosted by IT of University of Bergen.

Further information:

Development workflow

Every logged-in user can access the main repository, however only a small group of administrators has write access. To contribute, a user creates a fork from the repository. This is a copy where a single developer or a group of developers have full access.

The main repository has the following branches:

  • production: the latest production code, in this branch we have release tags
  • master: the latest stable release
  • dev: the development branch

In addition to those main branches there can be feature branches where development happens detached from the main branches. A feature branch is based on the dev branch and has a limited lifetime.

Creating a project fork

A project fork or repository fork is a copy of the original repository where a user or a group of users has/have full control. All development in our project is carried out in the individual forks. Branches of project forks are merged back into the main repository by merge requests, preferably via fast forward merges. That requires developers to rebase project forks to the main repository and resolve all conflicts before requesting a merge.

How to fork a project

Your repository fork is your sandbox, you can do whatever you want. Unless you have your own rules at hand right now you can apply the following:

  • leave the master branch in sync with the main repository, do not make commits to it
  • commit your changes to the dev branch
  • if you start a new feature, and it's expected to take a while, make a feature branch, e.g. dev-feature and give the feature a name
  • synchronize regularly to the main repository by rebasing

Making local development copy

Clone directly from your development fork, replace user appropriately. Note: the gitlab offers two modes for the link to be cloned, you can choose ssh (default setting) or https. If you can not clone with the proposed default link, try option https://.

git clone

This repository will get the name origin in your local clone.

If you have cloned already from the main repository, the upstream link can be changed as follows

cd <reponame>
git remote set-url origin

Pushing to development fork

Once you have added commits to e.g. the dev branch, those commits can be pushed upstream to the fork.

git push origin dev

Pull/Merge request

All updates to the main repository are made via merge requests (github refers to them as pull requests). A merge request requires the code update to be in a mergable branch in a development fork.

Merge request are also used widely to share work-in-progress with your colleagues and for code reviews. Mark such Merge request with "WIP:".


In order to avoid conflicts, first the fork has to be updated to the main repository. The idea behind this is that all potential conflicts can be resolved by the developer with the best knowledge about the matter, while the maintainer can simple merge fast-forward.

Example workflow for a Merge request

  1. Go to your gitlab user space at (replace user appropriately.
  2. Find the project fork, e.g. in the list of projects associated with you from the upper main menu.
  3. In the line with the many columns regarding the repository, click on the "+"-symbol on the right hand side and choose "New merge request"
  4. Select project and branch for both source and target, and click "Compare branches and continue"
  5. Review the list of commits in this merge request, give it a descriptive title and description, pick an assignee
  6. Submit the merge request

Importing an external package

The project will use a couple of external packages which are hosted in a different master repository. Copies of such external packages can be added to the gitlab server under our project group to provide a consistent package.

Here is a proposed workflow for importing a package which is already hosted in git.

  1. Create new repository in the asim group or ask for creation, lets call it newPackage
  2. Fork the repository to your user space
  3. Clone the package you want to import
     git clone <some_external_link> newPackage # we give it the new name
     cd newPackage
  4. Redirect upstream URL to the fork in your gitlab user space
     git remote set-url origin
  5. Now make a forced push (option -f) to import the repository to your fork
     git push -f origin
  6. Create merge request to branch import (if not existing, master or any other appropriate branch) by following the instructions Pull/Merge request