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are branches intended to be temporary?
It didn't dawn on me until the Workflow unit, that (and I'm not certain) seemingly branches are meant to be temporary. What if I want a copy of my project that is permanent, but not production, like for debugging? Is this a clone rather than a branch? I suppose the clone would be necessary as the project grows in size, is that correct?
I think they probably are designed to be temporary, as you would normally want to merge the changes back to the master branch at some point. But you can have branches that are permanent/semi-permanent - for example, if you are hosting your site using github pages, you might use a branch called gh-pages that exists for the lifetime of the project.
The problem with cloning is that there is no longer a link between the clone and the original repo. For example, if you cloned a repo and made a few changes, then updated the original repo. You can't see the updates to the original repo on the clone. You would have to clone the whole thing again (and overwrite your changes).
If you want to maintain a link with the original, use a fork instead.
Hope this helps :)