Flow’s action decision tree

Advancement in branching models is mostly deterministic. That’s why the term ‘flow’ often appears in branching model names. Internet Guru Flow is a CLI tool for developers designed to automate that flow.

Flow moves forward (flows) on a branching model. By default, it releases the current branch into the appropriate destination. Let’s explore how Flow determines the destination and how you can influence it.

Flow key branches

Flow recognizes three key branches: development, staging, and production. These branches ‘flow’ into each other in that order. Development into staging and staging into production. The production branch can only ‘flow’ into its hotfix. The same is true for individual ‘major’ branches (e.g. prod‑1) that follow the production branch while matching its major version.

  • Command flow on the develop branch results into action ‘release development branch’.
  • Command flow on the staging branch results into action ‘release staging branch’.
  • Command flow on the production or major branch results into command flow hotfix (see below).

Running Flow with a key branch argument results into similar actions. This works regardless of the current branch.

  • Command flow develop results into action ‘release development branch’.
  • Command flow staging results into action ‘release staging branch’.
  • Command flow prod or flow prod‑1 results into command flow hotfix (see below).

Flow hotfixes and features

Any other existing branch besides key branches is considered a feature or hotfix. Flow differentiates them by their relation to key branches. Feature branches are merged into the development branch. Similarly, hotfixes are merged to the production branch and into the corresponding ‘major’ branch.

  • Command flow on a feature branch results into action ‘release feature’.
  • Command flow on a hotfix branch results into action ‘release hotfix’.

Using the ‘hotfix’ or ‘feature’ keyword results in a hotfix or feature action regardless of the current branch. The default hotfix or feature branch is either created or merged based on its existence.

  • Command flow feature results into action ‘create/release default feature’.
  • Command flow hotfix results into action ‘create/release default hotfix’.

Flow arbitrary branches

As stated above, any arbitrary branch is considered either a feature or hotfix. Therefore running Flow with an arbitrary branch name argument results in creating or releasing a feature or a hotfix of that name with the following logic.

  1. If the specified branch exists, it is merged accordingly (as a feature or hotfix).
  2. Else if on a production branch (or a ‘major’ production branch), a hotfix is created.
  3. Else a new feature is created.

Try Flow today

Flow emphasizes simplicity in its usage. No arguments are needed unless you want to specify a different or new branch. For ease of use, Flow always prompts for confirmation before proceeding.

If you’re interested, feel free to download Flow from GitHub. Check out the tutorial for an easy way to get started. Your feedback is welcome as well as suggestions and contribution.