When working with feature branches, a common task is pushing the current branch to GitHub so that you can create a merge/pull request from it.

To push a single branch, the textbook command is:

git push -u origin branchname

The purpose of the -u is to setup the local branch to track the remote branch, so that when you do git status, it will tell you when your local branch and the remote have some differences. For example, if you do a commit after a push, git status will tell you that your local branch is ahead of the remote branch. You only need to specify -u on the first push.

Typing the branch name can be a bit tedious. Especially if you consider that when working with feature branches, it’s recommended to give long descriptive names to branches, such as cleaner-constraints-factory. Auto-completion by pressing tab while typing a branch name helps.

An alternative way to push the current branch, whatever it’s called, is this:

git push -u origin HEAD

Interestingly, in case insensitive filesystems like Windows and OSX, git push -u origin head works too. Sometimes this can be more convenient than typing the name. For example I often search for recent commands in Bash using the Control-r shortcut which, with a keyword ori for example, typically gives me back the last git push -u origin HEAD command.

But my favorite solution for pushing the current branch is to create an alias called mr (as in Merge Request) in my ~/.gitconfig:

    mr = push -u origin HEAD

So I can do simply git mr for the same effect.

For this and other convenient aliases, see my .gitconfig file.

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