How to recover a commit from GitHub's Reflog

Tags: git, github, software development November 23, 2016

Writing this blog post, suddenly and without knowing I ended up by squashing/removing the commit holding those changes.

The first thing that came to my mind was to locally check the Reflog to restore the commit, but sadly I was removed the repo from my laptop and the Reflog didn’t exist anymore. Then I went into panic as I didn’t wanted to lose those hours that took me to write the post. Then, I said… Does GitHub have Reflog? The sweet answer, yes..

So lets learn how to recover a commit from GitHub Reflog.

Relevant strings to fill:

  • <user>: The user holding the git repo.
  • <repo>: The repository name.
  • <recover-branch-name>: The remote branch that you will create.
  • <sha-goes-here>: The commit sha to be restored.

Let’s curl GitHub to get all commits in the Reflog:

$ curl https://api.github.com/repos/<user>/<repo>/events

Now let’s create a remote branch with your commit.

Choose your commit sha and run:

$ curl -i -H "Accept: application/json" -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X POST -d '{"ref":"refs/heads/<recover-branch-name>", "sha":"<sha-goes-here>"}' https://api.github.com/repos/<user>/<repo>/git/refs

You should have created a branch called in your GitHub repo. Now you can safely cherry-pick it to your master branch or fetch locally those changes and do whatever you want with them.

So yeah, I have to admit that I squashedcrashed those commits in some how…

I hope that last tips are useful if you are in a trouble like me trying to recover some lost commits from GitHub.


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