The merge option

The easiest option is to merge the master branch into the feature branch using something like the following:

git checkout feature
git merge master

Or, you can condense this to a one-liner:

git merge master feature

This creates a new "merge commit" in the feature branch that ties together the histories of both branches, giving you a branch structure that looks like this:


Merging is nice because it's a non-destructive operation. The existing branches are not changed in any way. This avoids all of the potential pitfalls of rebasing (discussed below).

On the other hand, this also means that the feature branch will have an extraneous merge commit every time you need to incorporate upstream changes. If master is very active, this can pollute your feature branch's history quite a bit. While it's possible to mitigate this issue with advanced git log options, it can make it hard for other developers to understand the history of the project.