8.2 Customizing Git - Git Attributes

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Some of these settings can also be specified for a path, so that Git register binary files with git those settings only for a subdirectory or subset of files. These path-specific settings are called Git attributes and are set either register binary files with git a. Using attributes, you can do things like specify separate merge strategies for individual files or directories in your project, tell Git how to diff non-text files, or have Git filter content before you check it into or out of Git.

One cool trick for which you can use Git attributes is telling Git which files are binary in cases it otherwise may not be able to figure out and giving Git special instructions about how to handle those files. For instance, some text files may be machine generated and not diffable, whereas some binary files can be diffed. Some files look like text files but for all register binary files with git and purposes are to be treated as binary data.

For instance, Xcode projects on the Mac contain a file that ends in. The file is meant to be consumed by a machine. In essence, you want to treat it like a binary file. To tell Git to treat all pbxproj files as binary data, add the following line to your. You can also use the Git attributes functionality to effectively diff binary files. You do this by telling Git how to convert your binary data to a register binary files with git format that can be compared via the normal diff.

Everyone knows that Word is the most horrific editor around, but oddly, everyone still uses it. If you want to version-control Word documents, you can stick them in register binary files with git Git repository and commit every once in a while; but what good does that do? If you run git diff normally, you only see something like this:. It turns out you can do this fairly well using Git attributes.

Put the following line in your. This tells Git that any file that matches this pattern. You have to set it up. Finally, you can configure Git to use this script:. Now Git knows that if it tries to do a diff between two snapshots, and any of the files end in. This effectively makes nice text-based versions of your Word files before attempting to diff them.

Chapter 1 of this book was converted to Word format and committed in a Git repository. Then a new paragraph was added. Another interesting problem you can solve this way involves diffing image files. One way to do this is to run image files through a filter that extracts their EXIF information — metadata that is recorded with most image formats. If you download and install the exiftool program, you can use it to convert your images into text about the metadata, so at least the diff will show you a textual representation of any changes that happened.

If you replace an image in your project and run git diffyou see something like this:. Git attributes offers you two ways to do this. If you set this attribute on a file or set of files, then the next time you check out that branch, Git will replace that field with the SHA-1 of the blob.

However, that result is of limited use. Register binary files with git filters can be set to do all sorts of fun things. The original commit message for this feature gives a simple example of running all your C source code through the indent program before committing. You can set it up by setting the filter attribute in your. The cat program does essentially nothing: This combination effectively filters all C source code files through indent before committing. To do this properly, you need a small script that takes a filename, figures out the register binary files with git commit date for this project, and inserts the date into the file.

Here is a small Ruby script that does that:. If you commit those changes and check out the file again, you see the keyword properly substituted:. You can see how powerful this technique can be for customized applications. You have to be careful, though, because the. When you design these filters, they should be able to fail gracefully and have the project still work properly.

Git attribute data also allows you to do some interesting things when exporting an archive of your project. You can tell Git not to export certain files or directories when generating an archive. You can add the following line to your Git attributes file:. When exporting files for deployment you can apply git log 's formatting and keyword-expansion processing to selected portions of files marked with the export-subst attribute.

The substitutions can include for example the commit message and any git notesand git log can do simple word wrapping:.

You can also use Git attributes to tell Git to use different merge strategies for specific files in your project. This is helpful if a branch in your project has diverged or is specialized, but you want to be able to merge changes back in from it, and you want to ignore certain files.

Say you have a database settings file called database. You can set up an attribute like this:. If you merge in the other branch, instead of having merge conflicts with the database.

Git on the Server 4. Git and Other Systems 9. Git in Other Environments A1. Embedding Git in your Applications A2.

Binary Files One cool trick for which you can use Git attributes is telling Git which files are binary in cases it otherwise may not be able to figure out and giving Git special instructions about how to handle those files.

Identifying Binary Files Some files look like text files but for all intents and purposes register binary files with git to be treated as binary data. Diffing Binary Files You can also use the Register binary files with git attributes functionality to effectively diff binary files. If you run git diff normally, you only see something like this: Finally, you can configure Git to use this script: We will begin at the beginning by explaining some background on version control tools, then move on to how to get Git running on your system and register binary files with git how to get it setup to start working with.

At the end of this chapter you should understand why Git is around, why you should use it and you should be all setup to do so. About Version Control What is "version control", and why should you care? Version control is a system that records changes to a file or set of files over time so that you can recall specific versions later.

For the examples in this book you will use software source code as the files being version controlled, though in reality you can do this with nearly any type of file on a computer. If you are a graphic or web designer and want to keep every version of an image or layout which you would most certainly want toa Version Control System Register binary files with git is a very wise thing to use.

It allows you to revert files back to a previous state, revert register binary files with git entire project back to a previous state, compare changes over time, see who last modified something that might be causing a problem, who introduced an issue and when, and more. Using a VCS also generally means that if you screw things up or lose files, you can easily recover. In addition, you get all this for very little overhead.

Local Version Control Systems Many people's version-control method of choice is to copy files into another directory perhaps a time-stamped directory, if they're clever. This approach register binary files with git very common because it is so simple, but it is also incredibly error prone.

It register binary files with git easy to forget which directory you're in and accidentally write to the wrong file or copy over files you don't mean to. If you replace an image in your project and run git diffyou see something like this: You can easily see that the file size and image dimensions have both changed. The next time you check out this file, Git injects the SHA-1 of the blob: Here register binary files with git a small Ruby script that does that: If you commit those changes and check out the file again, you see the register binary files with git properly substituted: Tue Apr 21 Exporting Your Repository Git attribute data also allows you to do some interesting things when exporting an archive of your project.

You can add the following line to your Git attributes file: When you run git archivethe contents of the archived file will look like this: The substitutions can include for example the commit message and any git notesand git log can do simple word wrapping: Merge Strategies You can also use Git attributes to tell Git to use different merge strategies for specific files in your project.

You can set up an attribute like register binary files with git In this case, database.

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Git is a distributed source control tool, so you can commit changes to a local repository and later synchronize with other remote repositories. Git supports distributed development because every sandbox contains a complete repository. The full revision history of every file is saved locally. This enables working offline, because you do not need to contact remote repositories for every local edit and commit, only when pushing batches of changes.

In addition, you can create your own branches and commit local edits. Doing so is fast, and you do not need to merge with other changes on each commit. These capabilities do not suit every situation. If your project is not appropriate for offline working or your repository is too large for a full local revision history, for example, Git is not the ideal source control. In addition, if you need to enforce locking of files before editing, Git does not have this ability.

In that situation, SVN is the better choice. You can use other Git functionality without any additional installation. In the section on configuring the line ending conversions, choose the option Checkout as-is, commit as-is to avoid converting any line endings in files. Install Git for your distribution.

On Mac, on Mavericks For more options, see http: If you do not register the extensions, these tools can corrupt your files when you submit them by changing end-of-line characters, expanding tokens, substituting keywords, or attempting to automerge.

Also check that other file extensions are registered as binary to avoid corruption at check-in. Check and register files such as. After you install a command-line Git client, you can prevent Git from corrupting your files by inserting conflict markers. To do so, edit your gitattributes file to register binary files. If you do not already have one in your sandbox folder, create a text file with the name gitattributes.

These lines specify not to try automatic line feed, diff, and merge attempts for these types of files. Check for other file types you use that you also need to register as binary to avoid corruption at check-in. Check for files such as. Add a line to the attributes file for each file type you need.

Programming Scripts and Functions. Data Import and Export. Select or Disable Source Control System. Mark Files for Addition to Source Control. Review Changes in Source Control. Commit Modified Files to Source Control.

Resolve Source Control Conflicts. Revert Changes in Source Control. Clone from Git Repository. Set Up Git Source Control. Update Git File Status and Revision. Branch and Merge with Git. Push and Fetch with Git. Was this topic helpful?