My personal githooks, which help me avoid silly or obvious mistakes.
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A set of githooks designed to help prevent mistakes and enforce coding guidelines for various current (and former) projects. Many of the checks enforce optional guidelines, and can be disabled via git config.

They were originally developed for use in full-stack Ruby on Rails projects, so most of the checks are for languages in a typical RoR stack.

If you would like to add code to detect another common problem or enforce a guideline, please create an issue, or better yet, a pull request. See Advice for Committers below.


Unconditional Checks

These checks are either non-controversial, or would be reconfigured so rarely that it's best to just use --no-verify when necessary. Therefore, they're non-configurable.

  1. Catch common errors, such as checking in...
    1. git merge conflict markers
    2. Personalized debugging statements
    3. Calls to invoke the debugger, either in Ruby or in JavaScript
  2. Catch other suspicious code, such as the addition of calls to alert (very uncommon for me)
  3. Check for probable private key commits.
  4. Check for probable hard-coded references to your home directory (both Unix and MacOS standards).

Conditional Checks

Conditional checks may be controversial or inappropriate for some projects, and so can be deactivated on a project- or user-wide basis via git config.

They are always as strict as possible out-of-the-box, but include deactivation instructions.

  1. Check the syntax of Ruby files using ruby -c.
    • Warning; in some circumstances (i.e., old Mac OS X versions), an app that runs this hook may use an old version of git that can't handle newer syntax, such as the Ruby 1.9 "JavaScript-like" hash syntax. This will result in bogus syntax warnings.
    • Describing how to modify an application's .plist to force it to use a more modern Ruby installation (hint!) is outside the scope of this README, but you can either find out how to do so, or disable this check if necessary.
  2. Prevent changes to .ruby-version (and .rbenv-version).
    • In my experience, those files are committed accidentally (by developers who changed them locally with no intention of committing the changes) far more often then they are committed intentionally.
    • In my opinion, you should leave the preference for this alone and simply make a --no-verify commit when necessary. (See below.)
  3. Several "house style" issues for various projects
    1. Ensure that there are no spaces after [ and (, or before ] and ).
    2. RSpec-Related:
      1. Prefer should over
      2. Prefer allow(foo).to receive and expect(foo).to have_received over expect(foo).to receive.
      3. Prefer should eq over should ==
      4. TODO: Add MOAR


Prevents me from git pushing any commits that begin with "foo." ("foo" is my usual commit message for a commit that I intend to rebase into another commit before pushing. This prevents me from accidentally pushing without rebasing first.)

Bypassing All Checks

Pass the --no-verify flag to git commit or git push as appropriate to bypass all of the checks.

If you want to throw the --no-verify flag, you should clean up your code to the point where the only errors are the ones you feel safe ignoring, and then commit again while throwing the flag.


One-Time Configuration

  1. Clone this repository locally into some central location.
  2. Run its setup script, ./

This will set the git config variable init.templatedir. As a result...

  1. A custom, temporary set of hooks will be installed into any new repo.
  2. You should also run git init inside any previously existing projects. Doing so will install the temporary hooks. Don't worry, git init is not* nearly as destructive as it sounds!

Then, when you commit to a repo with the temporary hooks, the temporary hooks will be overwritten by symlinks to the final hooks.

Updating the Hooks

Since the hook files in your individual repos are all symbolic links into your one local copy of this repo, updating or changing your local copy of this repo will affect all repos that you set this up for, all at once. Note; this goes both ways:

  • If you pull updates from Github to your local copy, all of your repos will instantaneously get the updates.
  • If you edit your "local" copy to make a change in one of your project, you're really editing the symlink. This, in turn, effects all of your projects. Of course, you could set up multiple local copies of this repo for different "styles" of project, but read the next section for a better approach.

Advice for Committers

Add Repo-Specific Changes Conditionally

Since all of your affected repos have symlinks to one shared set of hooks, don't make project-specific changes to the hook files. Rather, make the behavior change based on an optional git configuration variable, and then set that variable for the projects where it's necessary.

See how I handle optional checks in, for example, pre_commit/checkers/rspec_is_expected_to_checker.rb

It's best to add a new checkin its "most stringent" setting, so that users will become aware of it the next time they commit, and make an informed decision to deactivate it or not.

Writing Checks to Run (or Ignore) for Some Extensions or Directories

I don't have many examples of checks that should be run (or ignored) based on extension or directory, so that code isn't really designed to scale.

If you want to add more checks like that, talk to me - we should fix that.