git-symbolic-ref - Read, modify and delete symbolic refs
git symbolic-ref [-m <reason>] <name> <ref> git symbolic-ref [-q] [--short] <name> git symbolic-ref --delete [-q] <name>
Given one argument, reads which branch head the given symbolic ref refers to and outputs its path, relative to the
.git/ directory. Typically you would give
HEAD as the <name> argument to see which branch your working tree is on.
Given two arguments, creates or updates a symbolic ref <name> to point at the given branch <ref>.
--delete and an additional argument, deletes the given symbolic ref.
A symbolic ref is a regular file that stores a string that begins with
ref: refs/. For example, your
.git/HEAD is a regular file whose contents is
Delete the symbolic ref <name>.
Do not issue an error message if the <name> is not a symbolic ref but a detached HEAD; instead exit with non-zero status silently.
When showing the value of <name> as a symbolic ref, try to shorten the value, e.g. from
Update the reflog for <name> with <reason>. This is valid only when creating or updating a symbolic ref.
In the past,
.git/HEAD was a symbolic link pointing at
refs/heads/master. When we wanted to switch to another branch, we did
ln -sf refs/heads/newbranch .git/HEAD, and when we wanted to find out which branch we are on, we did
readlink .git/HEAD. But symbolic links are not entirely portable, so they are now deprecated and symbolic refs (as described above) are used by default.
git symbolic-ref will exit with status 0 if the contents of the symbolic ref were printed correctly, with status 1 if the requested name is not a symbolic ref, or 128 if another error occurs.
© 2012–2022 Scott Chacon and others
Licensed under the MIT License.