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Stacked Pull Requests on GitHub

Easily manage stacks of pull requests on GitHub. git spr is a client side tool that achieves a simple streamlined stacked diff workflow using github pull requests and branches. git spr manages your pull request stacks for you, so you don't have to.

With git spr each commit becomes a pull request, and each branch becomes a stack of pull requests. This allows for multiple commits to be stacked on top of each other in a single branch, avoiding the overhead of starting a new branch for every new change or feature. Small changes and pull requests are easy and fast to achieve. One doesn't have to worry about stacked branches on top of each other and managing complicated pull request stacks. The end result is a more streamlined faster software development cycle.



brew tap ejoffe/homebrew-tap
brew install ejoffe/tap/spr


echo "deb [trusted=yes] /" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/inigolabs.list
sudo apt update 
sudo apt install spr


Download the pre-compiled binaries from the releases page and copy to your bin path.

From source

Install goreleaser and run make. Binaries can be found in the dist directory.

make bin


Commit your changes to a branch as you normally do. Note that every commit will end up becoming a pull request.

> touch feature_1
> git add feature_1
> git commit -m "Feature 1"
> touch feature_2
> git add feature_2
> git commit -m "Feature 2"
> touch feature_3
> git add feature_3
> git commit -m "Feature 3"

The subject of the commit message will be the title of the pull request, and the body of the message will be the body of the pull request. If you have a work in progress change that you want to commit, but don't want to create a pull request yet, start the commit message with all caps WIP. The spr script will not create a pull request for any commit which starts with WIP, when you are ready to create a pull request remove the WIP. There is no need to create new branches for every change, and you don't have to call git push to get your code to github. Instead just call git spr update.

Managing Pull Requests

Run git spr update to sync your whole commit stack to github and create pull requests for each new commit in the stack. If a commit was amended the pull request will be updated automatically. The command outputs a list of your open pull requests and their status. git spr update pushes your commits to github and creates pull requests for you, so you don't need to call git push or open pull requests manually in the UI.

> git spr update
[⌛❌✅❌] 60: Feature 3
[✅✅✅✅] 59: Feature 2
[✅✅✅✅] 58: Feature 1

To update only part of the stack use the --count flag with the number of pull requests in the stack that you would like to update. Pull requests will be updated from the bottom of the stack upwards.

Amending Commits

When you need to update a commit, either to fix tests, update code based on review comments, or just need to change something because you feel like it. You should amend the commit. Use git amend to easily amend your changes anywhere in the stack. Stage the files you want to amend, and instead of calling git commit, use git amend and choose the commit you want to amend when prompted.

> touch feature_2
> git add feature_2
> git amend
 3 : 5cba235d : Feature 3
 2 : 4dc2c5b2 : Feature 2
 1 : 9d1b8193 : Feature 1
Commit to amend [1-3]: 2

Merge Status Bits

Each pull request has four merge status bits signifying the request's ability to be merged. For a request to be merged, all required status bits need to show . Each status bit has the following meaning:

  1. github checks run and pass
  • ⌛ : pending
  • ❌ : some check failed
  • ✅ : all checks pass
  • ➖ : checks are not required to merge (can be configured in yml config)
  1. pull request approval
  • ❌ : pull request hasn't been approved
  • ✅ : pull request is approved
  • ➖ : approval is not required to merge (can be configured in yml config)
  1. merge conflicts
  • ❌ : commit has conflicts that need to be resolved
  • ✅ : commit has no conflicts
  1. stack status
  • ❌ : commit has other pull requests below it that can't merge
  • ✅ : all commits below this one are clear to merge

Pull request approval and checks requirement can be disabled in the config file, see configuration section below for more details.

Show Current Pull Requests

Use git spr status to see the status of your pull request stack. In the following case three pull requests are all green and ready to be merged, and one pull request is waiting for review approval.

> git spr status
[✅❌✅✅] 61: Feature 4
[✅✅✅✅] 60: Feature 3
[✅✅✅✅] 59: Feature 2
[✅✅✅✅] 58: Feature 1

Merging Pull Requests

Your pull requests are stacked. Don't use the GitHub UI to merge pull requests, if you do it in the wrong order, you'll end up pushing one pull request into another, which is probably not what you want. Instead just use git spr merge and you can merge all the pull requests that are mergeable in one shot. Status for the remaining pull requests will be printed after the merged requests. In order to merge all pull requests in one shot without causing extra github checks to trigger, spr finds the top mergeable pull request. It then combines all the commits up to this pull request into one single pull request, merges this request, and closes the rest of the pull requests. This is a bit surprising at first, and has some side effects, but no better solution has been found to date.

> git spr merge
MERGED #58 Feature 1
MERGED #59 Feature 2
MERGED #60 Feature 3
[✅❌✅✅] 61: Feature 4

To merge only part of the stack use the --count flag with the number of pull requests in the stack that you would like to merge. Pull requests will be merged from the bottom of the stack upwards.

> git spr merge --count 2
MERGED #58 Feature 1
MERGED #59 Feature 2
[✅❌✅✅] 61: Feature 4
[✅✅✅✅] 60: Feature 3

By default merges are done using the rebase merge method, this can be changed using the mergeMethod configuration.

Starting a New Stack

Starting a new stack works by creating a new branch. For example, if you want to start a new stack from the latest pushed state of your current branch, use git checkout -b new_branch @{push}.


When the script is run for the first time two config files are created. Repository configuration is saved to .spr.yml in the repository base directory. User specific configuration is saved to .spr.yml in the user home directory.

Repository Config Type Default Description
requireChecks bool true require checks to pass in order to merge
requireApproval bool true require pull request approval in order to merge
githubRepoOwner str name of the github owner (fetched from git remote config)
githubRepoName str name of the github repository (fetched from git remote config)
githubRemote str origin github remote name to use
githubBranch str main github branch for pull request target
githubHost str github host, can be updated for github enterprise use case
mergeMethod str rebase merge method, valid values: [rebase, squash, merge]
mergeQueue bool false use GitHub merge queue to merge pull requests
prTemplatePath str path to PR template (e.g. .github/PULL_REQUEST_TEMPLATE/
prTemplateInsertStart str text to search for in PR template that determines body insert start location
prTemplateInsertEnd str text to search for in PR template that determines body insert end location
mergeCheck str enforce a pre-merge check using 'git spr check'
forceFetchTags bool false also fetch tags when running 'git spr update'
branchNameIncludeTarget bool false include target branch name in pull request branch name
showPrTitlesInStack bool false show PR titles in stack description within pull request body
branchPushIndividually bool false push branches individually instead of atomically (only enable to avoid timeouts)
User Config Type Default Description
showPRLink bool true show full pull request http link
logGitCommands bool true logs all git commands to stdout
logGitHubCalls bool true logs all github api calls to stdout
statusBitsHeader bool true show status bits type headers
statusBitsEmojis bool true show status bits using fancy emojis
createDraftPRs bool false new pull requests are created as draft
preserveTitleAndBody bool false updating pull requests will not overwrite the pr title and body
noRebase bool false when true spr update will not rebase on top of origin

Happy Coding!

If you find a bug, feel free to open an issue. Pull requests are welcome.

If you find this script as useful as I do, add a star and tell your fellow githubers.