Moving from beginner to (slightly more) advanced git with aliases.

2017 June 1st

Speed up your git workflow with git aliases, this is a brief introduction on using aliases 👌🚀👍

The more you work with Git the more familiar you become with the commands used in your every day workflow for your projects or your team's projects.

Commands like naming and creating feature branches making pull requests or pushing your changes if you have the requisite permissions.

So still used by me on a daily basis, and everyone else that uses git [I presume] is the git add . command, then git commit -m 'my awesome feature' and git push or git push origin <branch>

In my short time using Git I have always just typed out the full commands [usually with my cheatsheet close to hand] and thought nothing more of it, that is how you use the tool, right?

Well that was what I foolishly presumed until I learned about dotfiles, I learned about . files from listening to the toolsday.io podcast with Chris and Una a great channel for learning about tooling 👍 the podcast was about Git Tools give it a listen it's a great show.

This was a pretty cool learning experience for me and I now have a pretty efficient git workflow 🚀

Let's go over .gitconfig, do you remember having to enter your email address and name when first setting up Git on your computer? That information is stored in your .gitconfig file, your file will be located in your user folder on Windows C:\Users\yourusername\.gitconfig or ~/.gitconfig on Linux/Mac

If you navigate to the file in the text editor of your choice and pop it open you'll see your details under the [user] flag, here's mine:

[user]
  name = spences10
  email = spences10apps@gmail.com

I'm not sure what other configuration options you may have in yours so we're just going to concentrate on the aliases, aliases can be used so that you can shorten the commands [or make them longer if you like] but I'm all for reducing key strokes, even if it is one or two less.

So let's review the common commands I mentioned at the start:

git add .
git commit -m 'my awesome feature'
git push

So with aliases we can shorten these down a bit:

In your .gitconfig file if there's not already one there add in the [aliases] section, I have mine above my user details, then add in some aliases:

[alias]
  a = add .
  c = commit -am
  p = push

[user]
  name = spences10
  email = spences10apps@gmail.com

So now we can shorten down our workflow for adding a change to one of our repos:

git add .
git commit -m 'my awesome feature'
git push

Will become:

git a
git c 'my awesome feature'
git p

It's not a massive reduction in what you're typing but you'll be amazed at how quickly you become accustomed to it and start adding more an more.

Here's my current list of aliases:

[alias]
  a = add .
  b = branch
  c = commit -am
  cl = clone
  co = checkout
  d = diff
  f = fetch
  i = init
  o = open # see: https://github.com/paulirish/git-open ♥
  p = push
  pt = push --tags
  s = status
  t = tag

A new one I have found out whilst making this post is clone --depth 1 which clones only the HEAD of the repository instead of the whole repository, so say if you were cloning react you'd just get the master version rather than the other 38 branches included in the repository. Pretty neat 👍 so that could be aliased into something a lot shorter git cl1d?

You'll no doubt notice the link I have in there for o = open that little gem belongs to Paul Irish it's an npm package that will pop open a browser tab to the current repository you are in, pretty neat right?

I'm sure there are many, many more ways to configure Git if you take a look at Paul Irish's dotfiles repo for his .gitconfig you'll see there is a lot of ways to configure Git, I'm still learning and finding new ways to do things.

If there is anything I have missed, or if you have a better way to dom something then please let me know 👍

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