Introducing Git Confirm

24 August 2016, by

Get easy confidence on exactly what you’re committing.

Git Confirm is a git hook, which asks you to confirm when you commit a change that includes additions from a (configurable) list of risky matches. Think ‘TODO’, ‘FIXME’, ‘@Ignore’, ‘describe.skip/it.skip’ and ‘describe.only/it.only’. You can drop Git Confirm in, and effortlessly stop yourself ever committing anything like this by accident.

TODO is the easiest example. It’s really useful to sprinkle TODO comments in your code as you work, to mark things that will need fixing in future, and jot down notes as you work. It’s really terrible to end up with a codebase riddled with them though. You need to actively deal with them in the short term, either fixing them immediately as you wrap up your larger piece of work, or moving them into a proper task tracking system somewhere.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to fail to do that; to add todos as you go, skim your code later and assume you’ve to-done them, and end up slowly rotting your codebase over time.

With Git Confirm, you put ‘TODO’ on the watchlist, and any time you commit code that adds TODO, you’ll see it (in context) so you can confirm you definitely want to commit it. Demo time!

This could be you right now.

Simple, effective and ready to go. There’s other options for this, but personally they’re either too simplistic (rejecting commits to any matching files outright) or more complex and overpowered than I want by default (automatically opening TODO issues on Github, or fully synchronized tracking of TODOs with external issue trackers). All of these have their place, but there’s a big gap in the middle for a simple tool that stays out of your way and catches you if you slip up, without being too opinionated.

There’s also a lot of edge cases that these often don’t cover: changing other parts of files that do already contain TODOs, removing lines with TODOs in, or including context with failures so you can see find the issue. Deep interactions with Git like this create surprisingly fiddly edge cases, but Git Confirm has your back all the way.

In addition, as far as I can tell there’s no tools for the general case at all, where I want to match arbitrary patterns. I’d really like to never accidentally commit an ignored test, and never ever ever ever accidentally ignore all my tests but one. With Git-Confirm, that never happens.

Want to try it? In the root of your repo, run:

curl >   .git/hooks/pre-commit
chmod +x .git/hooks/pre-commit

Done! By default it’ll just match ‘TODO’, but you can override that and add any regular expressions you like with:

git config --add hooks.confirm.match "pattern-to-match"

Happy committing!

This post originally appeared on Tim Perry’s personal blog. Want to learn more? Check out Git Confirm on Github to see the full details, and reply below or tweet Tim at @pimterry with your questions.

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Categories: Technical


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