What Is Trunk-Based Development?

To create high-quality software, we must be able to trace any changes and, if necessary, roll them back. In trunk-based development, developers frequently merge minor updates into a shared repository, often referred to as the core or trunk (usually the main or master branch). Within trunk-based development, developers create short-lived branches with only a few commits. This approach helps ensure a smooth flow of production releases, even as the team size and codebase complexity increase.

Main branch usage – Engineers actively collaborate on the main/master branch, integrating their changes frequently
Short-lived feature branches – Goal is to complete work on these branches quickly and merge them back into the main/master branch
Frequent integration – Engineers perform multiple integrations daily
Reduced branching complexity – Maintain simple branching structures and naming conventions
Early detection of issues – Integrations aid in identifying issues and bugs during the development phase
Continuous Delivery/Deployment – Changes are always in a deployable state
Feature toggles – Feature flags used to hide incomplete or work-in-progress features
Trunk-Based Development (Image Source )

Benefits of Trunk-Based Development

Here are some benefits of trunk-based development:

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