What is the HEAD in Git?
In Git, “HEAD” is a special pointer or reference that points to the latest commit in the currently checked-out branch. It represents your current position within the commit history of the repository. In other words, HEAD points to the tip of the branch you are currently on.
As you make new commits, the HEAD pointer moves forward to point to the latest commit in the branch. When you switch to a different branch, the HEAD pointer moves to point to the latest commit in that branch.
It’s important to note that there can be two main states of the HEAD pointer:
- Attached HEAD: In this state, HEAD is directly pointing to a branch name. For example, if you are currently on the “master” branch, the HEAD will be attached to the “master” branch. Any new commits you make will advance the “master” branch, and HEAD will move accordingly.
- Detached HEAD: In this state, HEAD is pointing directly to a specific commit, rather than a branch. This can happen if you check out a specific commit by its hash or tag. When in a detached HEAD state, any new commits you make will not be associated with any branch. To preserve these commits, you can create a new branch from the detached HEAD state.
You can see the current position of HEAD by running the following command:
git log --oneline -n 1
The output will show the latest commit that HEAD is pointing to, along with its commit message and hash.
Understanding and being aware of the HEAD is important when working with Git, as it determines the basis for your next commit and the state of your working directory. Always ensure that you are on the correct branch before making changes and committing your work.