Branch permissions help enforce specific workflows and prevent errors like a new team member deleting master.
With branch permissions you can:
- Closely control which users or groups can write or merge to any branch.
- Create permissions for a specific branch pattern like /PROJECT-* to limit access to all branches with names like PROJECT-1234.
Example permissions set up
So, let's say Alana (Principal Engineer), Harvey (QA lead), and another 5 engineers are working on a Teams in Space project. You want everyone to be able to do work effectively so everyone has write access to the repository. Now you need to manage access to the repositories master and develop branches. You might want to assign permissions like this:
- Allow only Alana to write directly to master.
- Allow only Alana and Harvey to merge into master.
- Allow everyone to merge to develop but only through a pull request.
Start by navigating to the repository you want to limit permissions for, click Settings, then click Branch permissions.
Add permissions to Master branch:
- Click Add a branch permission.
- Enter the following into each field, then click Save:
- Branch or pattern: master
- Write access: Alana Persona
- Merge via pull request: Harvey Persona
Now add permissions for the Develop branch:
- Click Add a branch permission.
- Enter the following into each field, then click Save.
- Branch or pattern: Develop
- Write access: Alana Persona and Harvey Persona (Alana and Harvey also get merge via pull request permissions).
- Merge via pull request: Developers
The result will look something like this:
You can also see that no one can either delete or rewrite history on either branch.
If you want even tighter control over your team's workflow, check out merge checks. Merge checks are a Premium feature for Bitbucket Cloud, but you can try them free for a limited time!
You can set permissions for a specific pattern of branch name like PROJECT- by adding a wild card character (*) to either end of the string. For example:
PROJECT-* Matches branch named PROJECT-*, even in a name space, so restrictions would apply to the following branches:
Understand the differences with Mercurial branch management
Unlike Git's single branch concept, Mercurial supports both bookmarks or named branches. For Mercurial repositories, support for branch management is slightly different. Bitbucket Cloud allows you to limit pushes for both bookmarks and named branches. You can only prevent the deletion of bookmarks; you cannot prevent deletion of named branches.
You cannot prevent history re-writes or rebasing in a Mercurial repository.
Branch permissions overlap
Branch permissions overlap usually happens:
- When you create a branch pattern which matches an existing branch but has different permissions.
- When you create a branch with different permissions which also matches an existing branch pattern with permissions.
For example creating the branch develop then creating a branch pattern develop* will cause overlapping permissions.
What this means is permissions from both the branch and the branch pattern are applied.
|Wildcard (*) branch patterns||Specific ("master") branch pattern||What's enforced for branches included in both restrictions|
|User or group restrictions (write or merge access)|
|No users or groups listed||Alana||Only Alana has access|
|All users or groups||Alana||Only Alana has access|
|Alana||Harvey||Both Alana and Harvey have access|
|Alana||No users or groups||Only Alana has access|
|Alana||All users or groups||Only Alana has access|