HEAD and it’s importance in GIT

GIT is a distributed version control system that is generally used for project and software development, updating and sharing codes and versions of codes e.t.c However this version control system makes use of an important feature called HEAD.

What is HEAD? …this is simply said the be a reference to the tip of the current working branch. The head actually points or references the most recent commit in the branch.

As we can see from the above diagram, the head is pointing to the latest commit which is the c2. HEAD always refers to the most recent commit on the current branch. When you change branches, HEAD is updated to refer to the new branch’s latest commit. To find out the current location of the header pointer in GIT, you input the following “cat .git/HEAD”.

Also There are cases where the HEAD is not associated with any branch, such condition is referred to as Detached HEAD, this occurs when you run git checkout with an improper local branch name. At this point, HEAD is no longer a reference to anything. So, it’s a best practice not to commit on a detached branch.

Importance: From the above illustrations, we can see clearly that HEAD is a very vital component of the GIT repository because without the HEAD, making branches and commits will be a very futile attempt as there will be no benchmark as to where the execution of branches and commits will continue from.

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