What is Git fork? What is difference between fork, branch and clone?

Git Fork:

In Git, a fork refers to the process of creating a copy of a repository from one user’s account (the original repository) to another user’s account (the forked repository). Forking is typically done in online Git hosting platforms like GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket.

When you fork a repository, you create an entirely new copy of the repository under your account. This allows you to freely experiment with and make changes to the codebase without affecting the original repository. Forking is commonly used for open-source projects where contributors can work on their changes independently and later propose those changes to be merged back into the original repository through pull requests.

Difference between Fork, Branch, and Clone:

  1. Fork:
    • Purpose: Forking allows you to create an independent copy of a repository under your account to freely experiment with changes.
    • Location: Forking happens on the online Git hosting platform, creating a new repository in your account.
    • Independence: Forked repositories are entirely separate from the original repository, and changes made in one do not affect the other until you explicitly propose a merge (through a pull request) or synchronize changes manually.
  2. Branch:
    • Purpose: A branch is a separate line of development within a single repository, often used to isolate changes for a specific feature or bug fix.
    • Location: Branches are part of the local and remote repository. You create branches within a repository.
    • Independence: Branches within the same repository share the same history, and changes made in one branch can be easily merged into another branch.
  3. Clone:
    • Purpose: Cloning creates a local copy of a repository on your machine, allowing you to work with the codebase and make changes offline.
    • Location: Cloning happens on your local machine, creating a complete copy of the repository, including all branches and history.
    • Independence: Cloned repositories are identical to the original repository, but changes made in one repository do not automatically affect the other. You can later push changes from your local clone to the remote repository to share them.

In summary, the key differences are:

  • Fork: Creates a separate copy of a repository under your account on the online hosting platform. Used to freely experiment and propose changes through pull requests.
  • Branch: Creates a separate line of development within a single repository. Used to isolate changes and merge them back into other branches.
  • Clone: Creates a local copy of a repository on your machine. Used to work with the codebase, make changes offline, and synchronize with the remote repository when ready.
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