In 2005, Linus Torvalds created Git to replace the proprietary distributed source control management solution that he had previously used to maintain the Linux kernel. Since then, Git has become a dominant version-control solution for open source and cloud-native development teams.
Even feature-rich applications like Git don't have every feature that people want or need, so they make the effort to create them. In the case of Git, that person would be TJ Holowaychuk. His Git Extras project hosts more than 60 "extras" with features that expand Git's basic functionality.
Using Git Extras
Here's how to use four of the most popular Git Extras.
git-ignore is a convenient extra that allows you to manually add file types and comments to the .git-ignore file without having to open a text editor. It works with both the global ignore file for your user account and the individual ignore file for the repository you are working in.
Executing git-ignore without a parameter will list the global ignore file first, then the local ignore files.
$ git ignore
Global gitignore: /home/alice/.gitignore
# Numerous always-ignore extensions
# OS or Editor folders
Local gitignore: .gitignore
git-info retrieves all the information you need to get your head in the context of a repo you are working with. It includes any remote URLs, remote branches, local branches, configuration info, and the last commit.
$ git info
## Remote URLs:
origin firstname.lastname@example.org:sampleAuthor/git-extras.git (fetch)
origin email@example.com:sampleAuthor/git-extras.git (push)
## Remote Branches:
origin/HEAD -> origin/master
## Local Branches:
## Most Recent Commit:
Author: Sample Author <sampleAuthor@gmail.com>
Added git-info command.
Type ´git log´ for more commits, or ´git show <commit id>´ for full commit details.
## Configuration (.git/config):
git-mr and git-pr
These extras do similar things and work in basically the same way.
- git-mr checks out a merge request from GitLab
- git-pr checks out a pull request on GitHub
In either case, you just need the merge or pull request number or the full URL, and it will fetch the remote reference, check out the branch, and adjust the config, so Git knows which branch it will replace.
$ git mr 51
* [new ref] refs/merge-requests/51/head -> mr/51
Switched to branch 'mr/51'
By combining commit, tag, and push into a single command, git-release saves a lot of keystrokes for executing three commands that often run in sequence.
To commit with a specific <tagname> and a custom message:
$ git release 0.1.0 -m <+ powerful feature added>
These are just four of the 60+ Git Extras in the repo. To access the full list of commands available in Git Extras, either review the Commands.md file in the source repository or run the following command after you install Git Extras.
$ git extras --help
Install Git Extras
The main prerequisite for Git Extras is having the command-line version of Git installed. If you plan to build from source, you also need additional utilities (e.g., make) to be available.
If you are using a recent version of macOS, Git Extras installation is best handled using Homebrew (as with most open source tools):
$ brew install git-extras
On Linux, Git Extras is available on each platform's native package manager. Sometimes, you need to enable an extra repository, like EPEL on CentOS, then run a single command:
$ sudo yum install git-extras
Full installation instructions for other Linux distributions, BSD, and other platforms are available in the Installation.md file in the repository.
Do you have a piece of functionality you think is missing from Git and have built or want to build a script to handle it? Why not share it with the world by making it part of the Git Extras distribution!
To do so, contribute the functionality to the Git Extras repository. There are more specific details in the CONTRIBUTING.md file in the repository, but the basics are easy:
- Create a Bash script that handles the functionality.
- Create a basic man file so people will know how to use it.
- Update the command list and completion scripts to let people know the functionality exists.
- Run the integrity check to make sure you didn't break anything.
- Create a pull request for your functionality.
Contributing to Git Extras will go a long way towards making life a little easier for your fellow Git users. You can learn more about it in the project's README.