Today I Learned

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Most recent branches

You can get a list of all the branches in git using the very programmatically named for-each-ref command. This command by itself isn’t very useful and needs quite a bit of tailoring for it to produce the information you want.

Just by itself it returns all refs

git for-each-ref
# returns all the references

This shows all refs (branches, tags, stashes, remote branches). To just get branches pass an argument that corresponds to the .git directory that contain branch refs.

git for-each-ref ref/heads

To reduce the number of refs it produces use --count

git for-each-ref --count=5
# returns just 5 refs

This outputs a line that looks like this:

c1973f1ae3e707668b500b0f6171db0a7c464877 commit refs/heads/feature/some-feature

Which is a bit noisy. To reduce the noise we can use --format.

git for-each-ref --format="$(refname)"
# line is just: refs/heads/feature/some-feature

Which can be shortened with :short

git for-each-ref --format="$(refname:short)"
#just: feature/some-feature

To get most recent branches we’ll need to sort. The - in front of the field name reverses the sort.

git for-each-ref --sort=-committerdate

All together:

git for-each-ref \
--format="%(refname:short)" \
--count=5 \
--sort=-committerdate \