sageserpent-open / kineticmerge   0.2.6

MIT License GitHub

Merge a heavily refactored codebase and stay sane.

Scala versions: 3.x


Merge a heavily refactored codebase and stay sane.



  • Merge two branches of a Git repository across the entire codebase.
  • Take into account the motion of code in either branch due to refactoring.
  • Handle file renames, file splits, file concatenation.
  • Handle code being excised from one place in a file and moved elsewhere in that file or to somewhere within another file, or hived off all by itself in its own new file.
  • Work alongside the usual Git workflows, allowing ordinary Git merge to take over at the end if necessary.
  • A simple command line tool that tries to do as much as it can without supervision, and with minimal supervision when complexities are encountered.


curl -LJO --verbose<RELEASE VERSION FROM GITHUB>/kinetic-merge

chmod ug+x kinetic-merge

Put on on your path.

Alternatively, go to the releases and manually download kinetic-merge. You'll still have to execute chmod ug+x kineticMerge so you can run it.

If you're on Windows, instead of kinetic-merge use the companion download kinetic-merge.bat.

Running it

Go to your Git repository. Check your repository has a branch checked out (so not a bare repository) and that it doesn't have uncommitted work; decide what branch you want to merge from and off you go:

git status

kinetic-merge <the branch you want to merge into the current one>

If the merge goes through cleanly, Kinetic Merge will make a merge commit and advance the current branch to it, just like git merge would do.

If the merge encounters conflicts, Kinetic Merge will do as much merging as it can up-front, and stage conflicting partially merged files into the Git index along with writing the file with conflict markers in it, so you can use your usual workflow to resolve the conflicts. You can open up an editor directly on the file and resolve the conflicts by hand - mark them as resolved in the usual way with git add <resolved file> and the commit with git commit, or just git merge --continue - or use your usual IDE to resolve the conflicts; I use IntelliJ, that works nicely.

Unlike a conventional Git merge, if you use an IDE that reads the staged conflicting files, you will see that the left and right versions are already partially merged for you.

It supports fast-forwarding, plus the --no-ff and --no-commit options too. Use --help if you need a reminder.


Meet Noah Shortcut and Seymour Checks, two likely software engineers from ThreePhantasticTales, and their manager, Mr Deadline.

Some time has passed since that those tales were told, and Messrs Shortcut and Checks work with Java in some giant corporate blob these days. Noah likes to work lean and mean with Emacs or vi, or is it Atom or Sublime now? He's pumping out code straight into CI/CD as fast as possible with no tests to slow him down, and Mr Deadline is very happy. Seymour likes TDD, also spends a lot of time adding tests to the existing codebase before working on new functionality, and refactors the old codebase a lot with IntelliJ or Visual Studio Code to keep it tractable.

All this would be great, only each time a PR is raised, all hell breaks loose when Seymour's beautifully rearranged code hits Noah's latest tidal wave of new functionality that has been hacked in place.

As an example, Seymour likes to extract helper methods from overly long passages of code to make them comprehensible - so the extracted code is moved around in the file. He has method sorting switched on, so the newly extracted methods are moved far away from the original locations. In fact, every time Seymour starts working on the codebase, the method sorting rearranges all the code written in the last tidal wave by Noah, who just lays new code down fast and loose. When files get too big to read, Seymour extracts classes and puts them into other files, and if implementing classes get too weighty, some of their methods and state get hoisted up into abstract classes, or into interfaces as default methods. Classes get renamed, and IntelliJ sensibly renames the file to match.

Come the PR, Noah's changes all live in their original location, and so Git regards the merge as fusing two radically different sets of changes - other than some fairly simple file renames with perhaps a few edits, it can't follow all the code motion due to Seymour's refactoring. So the PR is either rejected as unworkable by Mr Deadline, or Seymour painstakingly and time-consumingly tries to resolve the many conflicts by pick-axeing through the code to match what went where, or Noah simply copies and pastes code from the head of one branch into the other without any idea as to whether the 'change' was really made since the shared base commit of the PR, or is simply a reversion back to old code.

Kinetic Merge's job is to augment the process of merging in Git so that the code motion due to refactoring is sensibly interpreted, taking into account all the files in the repository. If it can do a clean merge, it will and Git will see an ordinary merge commit. If it can't fully complete the merge, it writes the same staging information that Git would in a conflicted merge; it then hands over to Git and you, the user, to resolve the final conflicts - but it tries to take the code motion pain out of the process before it hands over, so that the final manual merge should feel like a simple one.


Well, that's the plan. It's no longer vapourware, there is a release, but the code motion aspect isn't supported at all yet is not fully implemented end-to-end (although a lot of the heavy lifting in the implementation is complete) - it is currently a conventional file-by-file merge tool, although the merge algorithm is I believe novel. Whether you like what is currently does is for you to judge, try it out.

For now, consider this in ALPHA release. Be brave - or run away. If you give it a spin, do raise bug tickets, see #21 for guidance.

Bear in mind you can use either --no-commit or rollback with git merge --abort or git reset --hard, but know what you're doing before you use the third technique.

Simple Use Cases

Behold the Chamber of Horrors...

Honourable Mentions

For a while, this project made heavy use of Rabin fingerprinting, which is a kind of rolling hash distinct from the rolling polynomial hash frequently used in the Rabin-Karp algorithm we all know and love.

In the end, a simpler rolling polynomial hash was good enough and a lot faster to compute, but if you're looking for a good collision resistant hash, head over to this project: rabinfingerprint. The price paid by Kinetic Merge for dropping this was the appearance of a bug due to the higher probability of collisions using rolling polynomial hashing; that has been since fixed. The fact that the bug was latent in the code for so long is a testament to the collision resistance of Rabin fingerprinting!

Do you use these libraries yet?

Direct dependencies in build.sbt and why they are used...

  • scala-logging and logback-*. Duh, of course. Lots of documentation, does what it says on the tin.
  • cats-*. For all those slightly high-church functional programming idioms that you don't want to write and test from scratch, not to mention keep maintaining. Again, documentation.
  • alleycats-core. For when you need the Devil to accompany you to mass in the high-church.
  • scopt. No-nonsense, robust command line parsing. Small and gets the job done.
  • scala-collection-contrib. MultiDict, and in the past for MapDecorator. Move on from MultiMap!
  • monocle. Try rewriting the code without lenses and you'll see why.
  • scala-parser-combinators. No-nonsense, robust tokenization in a pure functional manner.
  • os-lib. Stop using the various messy Java and Scala APIs for paths, files and processes and just use this for a well-documented, coherent, one-stop-shop experience.
  • fansi. I like underlined text in my application messages for things that vary.
  • pprint. Readable debugging output.
  • tagging. Stop your code from being both stringly-typed and looking like 1970s C with all those integers.
  • guava. Hashing, hashing and yet more hashing.
  • fingertree. A performant and robust way of dealing with interval testing, as well as nice example of a pure-functional core fingertree implementation with various front-end APIs. At time of writing, the APIs are a bit rough-and-ready, but it does the job well.
  • caffeine. If you want a well-documented, one-stop-shop Java caching API that plugs into everything and is endlessly configurable, here it is.
  • americium. Possibly the world's best parameterised test support framework. Your scribe is of course completely unbiased. If you want tests that automatically shrink down failing test cases, you're in the right place.
  • expecty. Scala's most minimal and yet most effective assertion framework. Less is more!
  • jupiter-interface. Yes, use JUnit5 for your Scala tests. Works a treat in concert with americium and expecty.