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A tool to simplify working with remote branches
Ruby Shell

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Why git_remote_branch?

git_remote_branch is a simple command-line tool that makes it very easy to manipulate branches published in shared repositories.

It achieves this goal by sticking to a few principles:

  • keep grb's commands extremely regular (they all look alike)

  • support aliases for commands

  • print all commands it runs on your behalf in red, so you eventually learn them

Another nice thing about git_remote_branch is that it can simply explain a command (print out all the corresponding git commands) instead of running them on your behalf.

Note: git_remote_branch assumes that the local and remote branches have the same name. Multiple remote repositories (or origins) are supported.


gem install git_remote_branch

If you're on Windows, you can optionally install the following gems, to get color output:

gem install windows-pr win32console


If you use zsh with oh-my-zsh, you can have grb auto-completion by using the git-remote-branch plugin.

# ~/.zshrc
plugins=(git git-remote-branch ...)



  • parts between brackets are optional

  • When 'origin_server' is not specified, the name 'origin' is assumed.

Available commands (with aliases):


$ grb [-h|help]    #=> Displays help

create (alias: new)

Create a new local branch as well as a corresponding remote branch based on the branch you currently have checked out. Track the new remote branch. Checkout the new branch.

$ grb create branch_name [origin_server]

publish (aliases: remotize, share)

Publish an existing local branch to the remote server. Set up the local branch to track the new remote branch.

$ grb publish branch_name [origin_server]

delete (aliases: destroy, kill, remove, rm)

Delete the remote branch then delete the local branch. The local branch is not deleted if there are pending changes.

$ grb delete branch_name [origin_server]

track (aliases: follow grab fetch)

Track an existing remote branch locally and checkout the branch.

$ grb track branch_name [origin_server]

rename (aliases: rn mv move)

Rename a remote branch and its local tracking branch. The branch you want to rename must be checked out.

# On branch to be renamed
$ grb rename new_branch_name [origin_server]


All commands can be prepended by the word 'explain'. Instead of executing the command, git_remote_branch will simply output the list of commands you need to run to accomplish that goal. Examples:

$ grb explain create
git_remote_branch version 0.3.3

List of operations to do to create a new remote branch and track it locally:

git push origin master:refs/heads/branch_to_create
git fetch origin
git branch --track branch_to_create origin/branch_to_create
git checkout branch_to_create

Explain your specific case:

$ grb explain create my_branch github
git_remote_branch version 0.3.3

List of operations to do to create a new remote branch and track it locally:

git push github master:refs/heads/my_branch
git fetch github
git branch --track my_branch github/my_branch
git checkout my_branch

This, of course, works for each of the grb commands.

More on git_remote_branch


git_remote_branch in its current form was inspired by a script created by Carl Mercier and made public on his blog: No nonsense GIT, part 1: git-remote-branch



git_remote_branch is licensed under the MIT License. See the file LICENSE for details.

Supported platforms

This version of git_remote_branch has been tested with

  • OS X Mountain Lion

  • past versions were known to work on Linux and Windows

  • Ruby 1.9.3

  • git 1.7+

Let me know if you encounter problems running git_remote_branch with your platform.

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