This article confuses long lived branches with topic branches.
1) long lived branches are the worst and I'd rather not have branches if long lived branches were unavoidable.
2) not all branches are long lived, and short, feature specific branches are a useful tool to organize developement.
Your feature toggling is the worst suggestion I've seen in a long time. Although it's common to see this, it leads to code rot and maintaining code that's not used. If you're good at organized feature branches, you can immediately toss the old function and get it back in a merge free revert with one command. Forking the code for different versions is every devs worst nightmare.
If you were talking about long lived branches (stuff that lives longer than a sprint) then I would totally agree with most of what you said.
To put this back in your painting analogy, topic branches are more like brush strokes and each time you make one, you get a chance to step back, see if that made it better and find where in the painting it makes sense to work on next.
Having a clean history, and being able to review changes on a topic by topic basis are the hallmarks of git and it's power. When you can just revert a merge commit and cleanly delete a feature the night before a deadline, you'll understand the power
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