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A set of documents and an example repository to describe starting with github and a git workflow.

Our idea is that many projects may have the same workflow, more or less. Each project needs docs that have exact project-specific command lines for use with git and github.

It seems a shame to type all this out for every project, when a lot of it is the same.

Gitwash is one way of solving this problem.

  • You can build the gitwash documents directly to review your workflow.

  • The documents designed for re-use in different projects are in the gitwash subdirectory.

  • In these documents, we've encoded the various strings you will want to replace with strings in ALL CAPS. The PROJECTNAME is the name of the project as it appears in text - for example IPython. REPONAME is the name of the repository (e.g ipython), and MAIN_GH_USER is the main github user (the user for the central github repository - or the name of the github "organization"). This results in links to your project repository of the form

  • The script will checkout the gitwash repository, do a search and replace on these strings and replace them with the ones you want, and then output these into your own docs in a place that you choose. You might want a copy of this tool somewhere in your repository. You can refresh it from time time with:

    curl -O

    For IPython, PROJECTNAME is 'IPython', REPONAME is 'ipython', and the MAIN_GH_USER is also 'ipython'. An example command for ipython might then be: doc/devel IPython --repo-name=ipython --github-user=ipython \
       --project-url= \

    to dump the search / replaced docs into the doc/devel/gitwash directory.

  • In the command above you'll notice that you also have to add your project main URL with the --project-url option, and the mailing list URL with the --project-ml-url option. That is the standard way to add your own links into the documentation.

  • You might want to have a Makefile target to update gitwash automatically from the sources. For example, in the nipy docs Makefile, we have:

       python ../tools/ devel/guidelines nipy \
           --project-url= \

There's an example build of gitwash at

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