Branching and merging are considered key to succeed with distributed rapid development. There are various ways to adopt CI and DevOps, but most matured organizations prefer to go with branching and merging. Let’s explore branching strategies and merging strategies types and their details.

Branching strategies
It is a software development team engaged when writing, merging, and shipping the code of a version controls system. In it, software developers work as a team on the codebase and share their changes. The main goal of a branching strategy is to solve the problem, unit the team without letting those tramples on each other, and work on the same source code.

Merging strategies
Once the development and testing are completed of any two or more branches, then they are merged in the mainline of development. When two branches are merged, they are committed at a common base. There are various methods to find out the common base commit these methods are known as merging strategies.

Types of Branching

Trunk based development
This development is completed on a single branch. When changes are tested and ready then only code is pushed towards the central repository. This reduces complexity and encourages marsh on the problem.

Release Branching
When a team starts working on a new branch it is considered as a new release where complete work done is stored till the next release. It defines the idea that a release is contained within a branch. If many members are working on the same branch release branch is hard to handle, so one must keep the release cycle for a shorter time.

Feature branching
It is used to collect the user stories that can be merged in a master which is further deployed as one complete feature. Feature merging is generally coupled with toggles and flags. This approach reduces delivery time and the testing cycle. To use feature branching strategies organizations should have a minimum viable feature set.

Story or task branching
It uses a user story connected to changes in the source code. It gives the release manager complete flexibility of connecting user stories to release as they feel suitable. This model is mainly used in an organization with mature agile development processes.

Types of Merging

Manual code review and merge
A branch is manually code reviewed and tested before merging the code into the master branch. This is the simplest merging strategy.

Minimal continuous integration
This strategy uses a built arrangement tool to compile and test the source code. Codes are automatically merged into the master branch once all the quality gates are passed.

Continuous integration pipeline with quality gates
It leverages branches that map to stages in the pipeline, quality gates, and automated merges to ensure bugs and defects are detected before merging into master.
Organizations must apply a suitable combination of branching and merge as per their requirements as there is no suitable approach to be practiced in all. Appropriate branching and merging will provide an organization with a well-functioned pipeline.