xltrail client is a free, open-source Git command line extension for managing Excel workbook files in Git. The xltrail client makes
git diff and
git merge work for Excel workbooks file formats. It works directly on the workbook file and does not require Excel.
In this post, you’ll learn how you can make Git branching work with with your Excel Add-ins. You’ll learn step-by-step how to use Git to compare and merge branches and to resolve merge conflicts. We have also recorded a 3-min video which you can watch if you scroll down to the bottom of this post.
Before you start, make sure you have Git and xltrail client version 0.2.0 (or newer) installed. The xltrail client installer and docs are available at https://github.com/ZoomerAnalytics/git-xltrail. To confirm it all works, head over to the command line:
C:\Developer>git xltrail version git-xltrail/0.2.0 (windows; Python 3.6.5); git 2857222
If it shows
git-xltrail/0.2.0 or a newer version, you are all set.
To hit the ground running, I have prepared a simple example repository, available at: https://github.com/ZoomerAnalytics/xltrail-client-example-addin. Clone the repository:
C:\Developer>git clone https://github.com/ZoomerAnalytics/xltrail-client-example-addin.git C:\Developer>cd xltrail-client-example-addin
And let’s have a look at what’s going on here:
C:\Developer\xltrail-client-example-addin>git branch -a * master remotes/origin/HEAD -> origin/master remotes/origin/dev remotes/origin/master
There are two branches on remote (GitHub):
dev. Let’s inspect the differences between
C:\Developer\xltrail-client-example-addin>git checkout dev Branch dev set up to track remote branch dev from origin. Switched to a new branch 'dev' C:\Developer\xltrail-client-example-addin>git diff master..dev diff --xltrail a/Addin.xlam b/Addin.xlam --- a/Addin.xlam/VBA/Module/Functions +++ b/Addin.xlam/VBA/Module/Functions @@ -1,5 +1,5 @@ Option Explicit Public Function GetVersion() As String - GetVersion = "0.1.0" + GetVersion = "0.2.0" End Function --- a/Addin.xlam/VBA/Module/Subs +++ b/Addin.xlam/VBA/Module/Subs @@ -1,5 +1,5 @@ Option Explicit Public Sub ShowMessageBox() - MsgBox "Hello world from Add-in" + MsgBox "Hello world from Add-in. Current version " + GetVersion() End Sub
Subs have been modified in both branches. Let’s
dev is your colleague’s feature branch which you know want
to merge in
It is quite likely that, while your colleague was working on the
master was also modified (maybe another feature branch was
merged into master in the meantime). For example, if your colleague changed the
GetVersion result in the
Functions VBA module
and it was also changed on the master branch, you have a version conflict. Git is not able
to tell which of the two options you want to keep so you have to do it manually.
Let’s do the merge (remember we want to merge
master so we need to make
sure what we are on the master branch before doing anything else):
C:\Developer\xltrail-client-example-addin>git checkout master C:\Developer\xltrail-client-example-addin>git merge dev C:\Users\Bjoern\Developer\xltrail-client-example-addin>git merge dev CONFLICT (VBA content): Merge conflict in Addin.xlam/VBA/Module/Functions --- a/Addin.xlam/VBA/Module/Subs +++ b/Addin.xlam/VBA/Module/Subs Auto-merging Addin.xlam CONFLICT (content): Merge conflict in Addin.xlam Automatic merge failed; fix conflicts and then commit the result.```
Ouch. So, Git was able to merge the changes in the
automatically but stumbled across a merge conflict in the
git status highlights that we need to sort out this merge conflict
before we can move on.
C:\Developer\xltrail-client-example-addin>git status On branch master Your branch is up-to-date with 'origin/master'. You have unmerged paths. (fix conflicts and run "git commit") Unmerged paths: (use "git add <file>..." to mark resolution) both modified: Addin.xlam no changes added to commit (use "git add" and/or "git commit -a")
One way of dealing with it is to simply roll back via
git merge --abort to restore
the pre-merge state. Or, we sort it out by opening
Addin.xlam in Excel and editing
the offending module in the VBA editor, which looks like this:
Option Explicit Public Function GetVersion() As String <<<<<<< Functions:ours GetVersion = "0.1.0" ======= GetVersion = "0.2.0" >>>>>>> Functions:theirs End Function
In this instance we just need to choose between our change (
master) and the incoming change (
dev branch). When you are ready, save
Addin.xlam and tell Git you are done:
C:\Developer\xltrail-client-example-addin>git add . C:\Developer\xltrail-client-example-addin>git commit -m "Resolved merge conflict"
And that’s all there’s to it, merge conflict resolved!
I hope this is helpful for your Excel/VBA work. Right now (as of version 0.2.0), the xltrail client supports diffing and merging of VBA code only but we are working on supporting sheets as well. If you have any questions or ideas, please comment below!
And here’s the 3-min screencast running you through the above example. Feel free to share ;-)