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Using Git for Mixxx Development

Mixxx uses Git for source control. Git is a distributed version control system that allows us to develop, share, and maintain code easily. Our code is hosted on GitHub.


A full guide for how to use Git is outside the scope of this article. This article aims to get you up to speed with the basics of Git and we are glossing over a lot of finer details about Git. Git is an awesome tool, but it can be confusing to learn, so we strongly suggest you have a look at one of these tutorials. They are sorted according to the time needed to complete them. The first one is the shortest.

All of these tutorials are interactive and guide you with helpful graphics. Don't worry if you don't understand everything the first time.

Installing Git

You need to install Git to work with the Mixxx Git repository.

Debian / Ubuntu

Install the git package from the software center or install it from the command-line using apt-get.

sudo apt-get install git

If you like you may install a additional GUI Tools like:

  • meld for a comparing revisions
  • gitk for viewing history
sudo apt-get install meld
sudo apt-get install gitk


Download and install git from

We recommend using TortoiseGit on Windows since using the terminal on Windows is a giant pain.


Download and install git from

Alternatively, you may install it from a package manager for OS X such as Homebrew or MacPorts.

This is typically as easy as running this in a terminal:

brew install git 

Download and install git from

IDE Plug-Ins

It is also helpful to use a IDE integrated Git GUIs.

  • eclipse has very advanced Git PlugIn EGit bundled with the C/C++ edition of Eclipse
  • qtcreator has built in support of Git (but be warned, it has is own opinion which files will be added to the Index)
  • KDevelop also has built in support of Git

Cloning the Mixxx Repository

Note: If you plan on fixing a bug or contributing a feature, you should fork the mixxx repository on GitHub first. Replace “mixxxdj” with your user name in following paragraphs.

From the commandline, simply type:

git clone

This will clone the master branch by default which is where the latest Mixxx code is developed.

If you would like to clone a specific branch, use the -b argument:

git clone -b 1.11

This clones the 1.11 branch. You can view a web summary of the available branches here on GitHub.

Once the command succeeds, you will have a new folder (typically named mixxx) in the current directory. Congrats, you've cloned the Mixxx code repository to your local machine!

Using Branches

Branches give you scratch space to work on new features and ideas without having to commit on top of an existing branch (like the master branch). This allows you to work on multiple bugs/features in parallel and independently propose them for inclusion in Mixxx whenever each one is ready.

Do not work directly on the master or beta branch. Make a branch off the the master or beta branch for every independent feature/bug fix you want to propose to be included in Mixxx.

Check what branch you are currently on

$ git branch
* master

Create a new branch

$ git checkout -b experimental
Create a new branch called 'experimental' and switch to it

$ git branch # show which branch you are on
* experimental

Every time you start fixing another bug or working on a new feature, switch back to the master or beta branch before starting your new branch. This will allow you to propose your new set of changes for inclusion in Mixxx independently of what you were working on before. If you do not do this first, when you make a pull request for inclusion in Mixxx (see below), both what you were working on before and your new changes will be included in the pull request.

Switch between branches

$ git branch
* experimental
[make some changes in your IDE of choice]
$ git stash # save uncommitted changes to git's temporary stash.
# Do this if you have made edits that you are not yet ready to commit to the branch you are switching from.
# If you have created new files, be sure to run 'git add' on them before running 'git stash'

$ git checkout master # switch to the master branch

$ git branch 
* master

$ scons install # build latest version of master branch
# see for details
$ mixxx # test new version of mixxx

$ git checkout experimental
$ git stash pop # reapply uncommitted changes from git's temporary stash
[continue working on experimental branch and make commits when you are ready]

Delete a local branch

$ git branch -d experimental  # requires the branch is fully merged
$ git branch -D experimental  # deletes the branch regardless of whether it is merged

Committing changes

Important: First you need to set your name and email address. If you don't do this then your commits will not be associated with your name (or your account on GitHub) and you won't get the glory and recognition you deserve! For your commits to be associated with your GitHub account, make sure to use an email address that is associated with your GitHub account.

git config --global "Your Name"
git config --global "[email protected]"

Reviewing your changes

Running git status will show which files have changes that have not been committed. Running git diff will show a color coded diff comparing your uncommitted changes to the last commit made on that branch. GUI clients are helpful for this.

Making the commit

Git is a little different from other version control systems you might have tried. Before committing, you first have to tell it what changes you want to “stage”. You do this using the git add command. Once you have staged your changes, you can issue a git commit (which will feel familiar to bzr and svn)

emacs src/engine/enginebuffer.cpp # Change enginebuffer.cpp
git add src/engine/enginebuffer.cpp # Tip: pressing tab will only autocomplete file names of files that have changed.
git commit -m "Bugfixes to EngineBuffer."

This commits the change locally only. In contrast to Bazaar and Subversion, there is no concept of committing and automatically pushing the changes to the remote repository in Git. If you omit the -m “COMMIT MESSAGE” at the end, git will automatically open the editor specified in your $EDITOR environment variable with a new file. Type your commit message, then save this file in the editor to make the commit.

To automatically stage all changes that have been made to the repository (i.e. every change that shows up in git diff) then you can use git commit -a:

emacs src/engine/enginebuffer.cpp # Change enginebuffer.cpp
git commit -a -m "Bugfixes to EngineBuffer."

Issuing a Pull Request

Once you are done hacking up a new feature in your clone of the Mixxx repository, it's time to get that branch merged into Mixxx. The standard way we prefer you to submit branches is via GitHub pull requests.

  1. Create an account on GitHub.
  2. Push your branch to a forked version of the Mixxx GitHub repository.
  3. Create a pull request from GitHub. If your pull request changes the GUI, please attach screenshots of your changes.
  4. A Mixxx team member will review and comment on your pull request. Work with your reviewer to address their comments.
  5. Once it receives an LGTM 1) then it will be merged into Mixxx!

NOTE: If you push new commits to a branch you have made a pull request for, those commits will be included in the pull request. To address comments of reviewers, push new commits to the same branch that you opened the pull request for. To work on a different bug or feature, checkout the master or beta branch then create another branch so your new changes are not included in the pull request that you already opened.

Keeping Track of Updates

Syncing your fork with upstream

See GitHub's Help article Syncing a fork.

Testing pull requests

Testing other developer's unmerged branches

Sometimes there may be another developer you would like to keep track of or regularly merge updates from.

Let's say I would like to keep track of ywwg, another GitHub user who is working on Mixxx. First, add the developer's Git repository as a remote to your repository.

$ git remote add ywwg

Adding a repository as a remote is a way to assign a shortcut name to an external repository you would like to pull changes from or push changes to. Adding a remote doesn't do anything but add the alias. Next, you need to fetch the latest changes from ywwg's repository.

$ git fetch ywwg 
remote: Counting objects: 1771, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (714/714), done.
remote: Total 1522 (delta 1301), reused 1014 (delta 804)
Receiving objects: 100% (1522/1522), 469.46 KiB, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (1301/1301), completed with 154 local objects.
 * [new branch]      1.11       -> ywwg/1.11
 * [new branch]      master     -> ywwg/master
 * [new branch]      master_sync -> ywwg/master_sync

Cool! Now I have all of ywwg's branches as remote heads in my repository. We can confirm this by looking at the remote branch list.

$ git branch -r

Now, if I want to merge the latest changes from ywwg's master_sync branch, I can just merge them directly into my current branch.

git merge ywwg/master_sync

Or, if I want to work on my own changes to master_sync, I can create a new local branch with remotes/ywwg/master_sync set as its “tracking branch”. This means that when you type git pull with no arguments, your local master_sync branch knows to pull changes from ywwg's master_sync branch.

To checkout a branch as a tracking branch:

git checkout -b master_sync --track ywwg/master_sync

Once you've made local changes you would like ywwg to accept, you can submit a pull request to ywwg on GitHub or just contact him in person to ask him to merge changes from your branch.

Uncommitted Changes

Creating a patch of your uncommitted changes is as simple as running the command git diff.

git diff > my_changes.patch

my_changes.patch now contains the changes you made.

Note: In git-parlance, this is actually a patch of your “unstaged” differences.

Changes relative to the remote master branch

If you have committed your changes locally either to a personal branch or to an existing branch like master, then you may be interested in creating a patch of the changes in your branch relative to the remote branch on GitHub. Doing this is also simple:

git diff origin/master > my_changes.patch

my_changes.patch is now a patch of the changes (both committed and uncommitted) in your branch relative to the master branch on GitHub.

Working on mappings and skins separately from other changes

If you are working on a mapping or skin and you want to work on other changes to Mixxx at the same time, you can have both git branches open simultaneously with git's handy worktree feature. This will let you use your mapping or skin in development while testing your other branches. If your git repository is at ~/software/mixxx, you can set this up for a controller mapping by running:

$ cd ~/software/mixxx
$ git worktree add mapping your_mapping_branch_name
$ echo mapping >> .git/info/exclude # Tell git to ignore your mapping branch when looking at ~/software/mixxx
$ ln -s ~/software/mixxx/mapping/res/controllers ~/.mixxx/controllers

Now your mapping branch is open at ~/software/mixxx/mapping. This does not have to be under ~/software/mixxx (in which case you can skip adding the directory name to .git/info/exclude). You can work on your mapping in ~/software/mixxx/mapping/res/controllers and make commits when your current directory is ~/software/mixxx/mapping or any directory under that. In ~/software/mixxx, you can work on any other changes and switch between branches without affecting your mapping branch open at ~/software/mixxx/mapping.

If you want to work on a skin, you can set up another git worktree and run mixxx with the --resourcePath option set to the res directory under that worktree.

GUI clients

Here's a list of graphical Git clients that Mixxx developers have tested:



Mac OS X


Other Resources

Here are some handy and great guides to learning how to use Git.

1) Looks Good To Me
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using_git.txt · Last modified: 2016/12/18 20:57 by