The `git stash` command is used in Git to temporarily save changes that you have made to your working directory but are not yet ready to commit. It allows you to store your changes in a "stash" and revert your working directory to a clean state, as if you hadn't made any modifications. The purpose of the `git stash` command is to provide a way to save your work without committing it, so you can switch to a different branch, pull changes from a remote repository, or perform other operations that require a clean working directory.
Here are the main use cases and benefits of the `git stash` command:
1. Switching branches: When you have made changes to your working directory but want to switch to a different branch, Git may prevent the branch switch if your changes conflict with the branch you are trying to switch to. In such cases, you can use `git stash` to save your changes, switch branches, and then later apply the stash to the new branch.
2. Pulling changes: Before pulling changes from a remote repository, it's recommended to have a clean working directory. If you have uncommitted changes that would conflict with the incoming changes, you can stash your changes, pull the remote changes, and then reapply your stashed changes.
3. Temporary storage: The `git stash` command provides a convenient way to store changes temporarily without creating a commit. This can be useful when you want to set aside your changes temporarily to work on a different task or to test something in your codebase without affecting your current work.
4. Apply your stashed changes: You can apply back your stashed changes using command 'git stash apply'
The `git stash` command works by creating a new stash object that includes the changes in your working directory and staged changes (if any). The stash is stored separately from commits, and it doesn't affect the commit history. You can create multiple stashes, apply or drop stashes as needed, and even store untracked files in a stash.
Here are some commonly used `git stash` commands:
- `git stash save`: Creates a new stash with the changes in your working directory.
- `git stash list`: Lists all the stashes you have created.
- `git stash apply`: Applies the most recent stash to your working directory.
- `git stash pop`: Applies the most recent stash and removes it from the stash list.
- `git stash drop`: Removes a specific stash from the stash list.
- `git stash branch`: Creates a new branch and applies a stash to that branch.
Overall, `git stash` provides a flexible way to temporarily save changes, switch branches, and maintain a clean working directory without committing unfinished or experimental work.