Git versus Trunk Based Development in 2023

git vs Trunk Based

Developers today have no shortage of options when it comes to source code management strategies. Two of the most popular approaches are Git and trunk-based development (TBD). But which one should your team use in 2023?

What is Git? 

Git is a distributed version control system developed in 2005 and has become massively popular among software teams. 

With Git, every developer has a local copy (repository) of the codebase on their machine. Developers create branches to work on new features. These branches can be kept private until ready to merge with the main branch.

Git enables easier branching and merging, multiple workflows, and independence from a centralized server. It empowers developers to experiment and collaborate.

What is Trunk-Based Development?

Trunk-based development (also called trunk-based version control) is a source code management strategy focused on having all developers merge changes into a single, shared mainline branch.

With TBD, developers commit small, frequent changes directly to the “trunk” multiple times per day. Branches are short-lived. There is constant merging into the source of truth trunk.

TBD enables greater visibility, continuous integration, and faster development cycles. It works well with modern DevOps practices.

Key Differences Between Git and TBD

Here are the main differences between Git and trunk-based development:

Branching strategy- With Git, long-lived feature branches are common. TBD relies on short-lived branches merged frequently.

Code visibility- TBD offers greater code visibility with a single source of truth. Git branches can silo work.

Release cadence – TBD makes continuous delivery easier with its mainline model. Git branches can delay releases.

Team coordination – TBD’s shared workflow requires tight team coordination. Git enables decentralized work.

CI/CD – Frequent TBD merges complement CI/CD pipelines. Git branching needs CI/CD tweaks.

When is Git Best Suited?

Git’s flexibility makes it a great choice when:

– Developers need to work independently with little coordination.

– Experimenting with disruptive changes or radical new features.

– Open source projects with distributed contributors.

– Handling multiple versions or release channels.

– Teams with less mature CI/CD practices.

When Does TBD Make More Sense?

Trunk based development enables speed and quality for teams that:

– Need to release smaller changes faster and more often. 

– Require extreme coordination between developers.

– Have mature CI/CD and automation testing in place. 

– Value minimal branching and constant integration.

– Are adopting an agile, DevOps-style approach.

Adopting a Hybrid Approach

The choice between Git vs TBD does not have to be an either/or decision. Many teams find success by adopting a hybrid approach.

Ways to balance both models:

– Use short-lived feature branches with Git, but integrate them daily.

– Have a coordination branch between developers before merging to master.

– Enforce smaller frequent batch sizes for Git commits. 

– Define specific cases where longer-lived branches are allowed.

Conclusion

There is no definitively superior choice between Git and TBD. The best workflow depends on your team, product, and business goals. 

Trunk-based development streamlines collaboration for the continuous delivery of small changes. More traditional Git workflows offer greater decentralization and independent development.

Assess your team’s needs in 2023 and consider if migrating to TBD, sticking with Git, or a hybrid approach makes the most sense. With the right branch-merge strategy, you can optimize for shipping faster without losing quality.

 

Author's Bio

Vinaya Bolla

Vinaya

Experience in the area of Business Requirement Gathering, Project planning & Estimation (using Agile Methodology).Proven expertise in handling multiple projects across different phases such as System Analysis / Design, Implementation / Testing, Integration / Deployment and Support.

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Git versus Trunk Based Development in 2023​

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