git-symbolic-ref.txt   [plain text]


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>.

Given `--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 `ref: refs/heads/master`.


	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 `refs/heads/master` to `master`.

	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

'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.

Part of the linkgit:git[1] suite