Tag Archives: command

Three tips for creating the “best ever” git command line!

As a recovering CVS user turned svn master, and now an aspiring git ninja, I am sharing some of the tips and tricks to make my git environment as enjoyable and effective as possible.  First a little tough love: if you are not using the git command line, then just move along… these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.  But seriously, if you want to learn how to use git better you MUST MUST MUST use the command line. But if you are going to use a GUI, then PLEASE do us all a favor and avoid Github for Mac and instead get a tool like Tower.

So if you are still reading you are in the right place! 🙂

Tip #1:  If you are not using bash-completion, start now! Seriously! Stop reading this post and go install bash-completion immediately! This is the single biggest time saver; period. It provides completions via a deep knowledge of common tools such as git, ssh, jar, java, man, etc. For example:

  1. cd <your favorite git project>
  2. git checkout origin/<TAB><TAB>
  3. You will see all of the branches from the remote repo appear like magic!
  4. The git bash-completion knows about git commands, tags, branches, repositories, etc. So cool!
  5. Now try: git log –<TAB><TAB>
  6. It shows you all of the command line options for git log. With each git command having a wealth of options, this is a huge sanity saver.

Tip #2: Now that you have bash completing your git commands for you, how about we add some color to the results of git commands? Yes, seeing the output of a “git diff” colorized with additions in green and subtractions in red is, well after you get used to it, simply required.

Edit your ~/.gitconfig and add the following section:

  diff = auto
  status = auto
  branch = auto
  interactive = auto
  ui = auto

And while you are in there add this section to automatically run garbage collection for you!

  auto = 1

Tip #3: Tired of typing “git status” to figure out if your branch is clean or dirty? Or if you need to push or pull to get caught up with a remote repo? The next git trick will really knock your socks off! Via the bash prompt, it displays the git branch you are currently on. If the branch is dirty the name of the branch is displayed in red. If the branch is clean the name is displayed in green. For example:


    [develop] /Develop/k2/rsmart/nakamura


    [develop] /Develop/k2/rsmart/nakamura


    [develop↑] /Develop/k2/rsmart/nakamura


    [develop↓] /Develop/k2/rsmart/nakamura

…branches have diverged…

    [develop↕] /Develop/k2/rsmart/nakamura

Curious yet? Here are the arcane .bash_profile incantations to make this a reality:

c_cyan=`tput setaf 6`
c_red=`tput setaf 1`
c_green=`tput setaf 2`
c_sgr0=`tput sgr0`
parse_git_branch ()
    if git rev-parse --git-dir >/dev/null 2>&1
        git_status="$(git status 2> /dev/null)"
        branch_pattern="^# On branch ([^${IFS}]*)"
        remote_pattern="# Your branch is (.*) of"
        diverge_pattern="# Your branch and (.*) have diverged"
        # add an else if or two here if you want to get more specific
        if [[ ${git_status} =~ ${remote_pattern} ]]; then
          if [[ ${BASH_REMATCH[1]} == "ahead" ]]; then
          elif [ ${BASH_REMATCH[1]} == "behind" ]]; then
        if [[ ${git_status} =~ ${diverge_pattern} ]]; then
        if [[ ${git_status} =~ ${branch_pattern} ]]; then
          echo "${branch}${remote}"
        return 0
branch_color ()
    if git rev-parse --git-dir >/dev/null 2>&1
        git_status="$(git status 2> /dev/null)"
        if [[ ${git_status} =~ "working directory clean" ]]; then
        return 0
    echo -ne $color
export PS1='[\[$(branch_color)\]$(parse_git_branch)\[${c_sgr0}\]] \w\[${c_sgr0}\]$ '

With this information in hand, you should be well on your way to leveling-up your git ninja (ginja?) skills… 🙂


Filed under Technology, Tools