Resolving conflicts


Unlike some other tools that force you to resolve each conflict during the merge process, Bazaar merges as much as it can and then reports the conflicts. This can make conflict resolution easier because the contents of the whole post-merge tree are available to help you decide how things ought to be resolved. You may also wish to selectively run tests as you go to confirm each resolution or group or resolutions is good.

Listing conflicts

As well as being reported by the merge command, the list of outstanding conflicts may be displayed at any time by using the conflicts command. It is also included as part of the output from the status command.

Resolving a conflict

When a conflict is encountered, the merge command puts embedded markers in each file showing the areas it couldn’t resolve. It also creates 3 files for each file with a conflict:

  • foo.BASE
  • foo.THIS
  • foo.OTHER

where foo is the name of the conflicted file. In many cases, you can resolve conflicts by simply manually editing each file in question, fixing the relevant areas and removing the conflict markers as you go.

After fixing all the files in conflict, and removing the markers, ask Bazaar to mark them as resolved using the resolve command like this:

bzr resolve

Alternatively, after fixing each file, you can mark it as resolved like this:

bzr resolve foo

Among other things, the resolve command cleans up the BASE, THIS and OTHER files from your working tree.

Using the remerge command

In some cases, you may wish to try a different merge algorithm on a given file. To do this, use the remerge command nominating the file like this:

bzr remerge --weave foo

where foo is the file and weave is one of the available merge algorithms. This algorithm is particularly useful when a so-called criss-cross merge is detected, e.g. when two branches merge the same thing then merge each other. See the online help for criss-cross and remerge for further details.

Using external tools to resolve conflicts

If you have a GUI tool you like using to resolve conflicts, be sure to install the extmerge plugin. Once installed, it can be used like this:

bzr extmerge foo

where foo is the conflicted file. Rather than provide a list of files to resolve, you can give the --all option to implicitly specify all conflicted files.

The extmerge command uses the tool specified by the external_merge setting in your bazaar.conf file. If not set, it will look for some popular merge tools such as kdiff3 or opendiff, the latter being a command line interface to the FileMerge utility in OS X.

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