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g2 - the friendly git command line client

branch: master
README.md

image

Introduction

I see it every day, beginners have a hard time picking up git. Aside from the DSCM concepts, the command line is not easy: it is aimed at people who know git.. advanced nerds, not beginners.

This project is an attempt to make the git command line a friendly place: it eases the learning process by providing guidance and high level commands.

Benefits

  • g2 saves time by providing high level commands.
  • g2 is generally safer than git as it prompts before destructive actions.
  • g2 helps setup git: sshkeys, username, email and tools.
  • g2 provides two letter acronyms for most commands.
  • g2 eases the merge process by introducing three new verbs:sync, abort and continue.
  • g2 provides a reduced set of commands which give guidance on what to do next.
  • g2 enhances command line experience auto-completion and a smart prompt.
  • g2 warns when a branch history was changed on the server (forced pushed).
  • g2 checks the freshness of the branch prior to merging and warns accordingly.
  • g2 enforces a clean linear history by introducing new commands.
  • g2 requires a clean state before rebasing, checking out, branching or merging.
  • g2 provides guidance when it cannot perform an operation.
  • g2 brings a number of friendly commands such as : panic, track, freeze, wip.
  • g2 eases branch creation.
  • g2 is just easier at undoing things, see the undo command

What G2 is not

  • A replacement for git. Rather, g2 is a layer on top of git
  • A magic way to learn GIT. It will help by providing guidance but you still need to understand how git works.

Installation

PRE-REQUISITES:

  • g2 is a layer on top of git, If you are doing a manual install, a recent version of git must be pre-installed.
  • Please backup your favorite ~/.gitconfig as g2 with recreate it from scratch.
  • For now G2 only runs on bash

MacOS:

The software is now available via HomeBrew.

brew install g2

If you already have git installed outside of Brew, the following command should do

brew install --without-git https://raw.github.com/orefalo/g2/master/homebrew/g2.rb

Linux (RedHat/Ubuntu):

Please clone the repository, edit either /etc/bashrc, /etc/bash.bashrc or ~/.bashrc and add the following code:

[[ $PS1 && -f /path/to/g2-install.sh ]] && \
     . /path/to/g2-install.sh

Solaris (Partially tested):

Add the following script to /etc/bashrc or ~/.bashrc (or any other file sourcing those).

PATH=/usr/xpg4/bin:$PATH
export PATH
[[ $PS1 && -f /path/to/g2-install.sh ]] && \
     . /path/to/g2-install.sh

Windows:

Git is not a prerequisite on Windows as the installer comes bundled with it.

Please download the Windows native installer from this link.

How to use

The project overrides the g and git commands. Taken without parameters it displays the following output.

$ g
G2 Usage:
    abort - aborts any rebase/merge
    am <?-f> - amends last commit with staging area
    br <?-D> <?-M> <?branch> - list or create branches
    bs - bisect, aka bug finder
    co <branch> - switches branch (either local/remote)
    continue - resumes a conflict resolution
    cp <commit> - cherry-pick
    ci <?params...> - commit
    clone <url> - clone a remote repository
    df/dt <?params...> <file> - compares files
    fetch - gets changes sitting on the server
    freeze/unfreeze <?-m comment> <?file> - freeze/unfreeze files
    gc - garbage collects: run fsck & gc
    gp - grep
    gui - launches the GUI
    ig <file> - adds to gitignore & removes from source control
    init <folder> - init a repository
    key <?-gen> - displays/generates your ssh public key
    mg <?params...> <branch> - merge
    mt <?params...> - fixes conflicts by opening a visual merge-tool
    mv - move (rename) a file
    lg - displays commit log
    ls <?params...> - list files under source control
    panic - gets you back on HEAD, cleans all un-tracked files
    pull/push <?opts> <remote> <branch> - deals with other branches
    rb <?params...> <branch> or <upstream> - rebase
    rm <params...> - remove files
    rs <params...> - reset branch status
    rs upstream - resets branch to upstream state
    rt <?params...> - git remotes management
    rv <commit> - reverts commits
    server - starts a local git:// server on current repo
    setup - configures user, key, editor, tools
    sh <?-deep> - show commit contents
    sm <?params...> - sub-module
    ss <?params> - stash
    st <?params...> - status
    sync <?upstream> - syncs working branch: fetch, rebase & push
    tg - tag
    track <?upstream_branch> - shows/set tracking
    undo <file>|commit <hash>|merge - reverts changes
    wip/unwip - save/restore work in progress to branch

On top of providing two letters acronyms for most git commands, g2 has interesting features which enhance command line experience.

Prompt & Completion

Let's start with the "sexy" one: the g2 prompt.

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The prompt shows:

  • The current branch name and the hash of the last commit. M is used as a substitute for "master"
  • File counts: staged, changed and un-tracked filed.
  • Obviously username and host.
  • And finally the path, which smartly truncates at 40 characters.
  • The prompt colors will adjust depending of the state of the repository: clean, modified, conflict resolution... etc
  • Not visible on this screen shot is the optional error code should a shell command fail.

Note: file counters can be expensive with large repositories. You may turn off the feature by running g setup and setting "Count files in the bash prompt? (true):" to false.

Setup

So here you go, you downloaded git for the first time and I bet you are stuck on the ssh key generation. git is so lame and user unfriendly.

alright, with g2 this is how it works:

  1. type g setup and answer the questions.
  2. that's it!

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At anytime in the future, you may display your ssh public key with: g key. copy/paste it into github. You are done.

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Should you need to regenerate the key pair, the process is equally user friendly: use g key -gen

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Freeze, Unfreeze & Commit

I have some files I want to stage. Do I want git add ., git add -u, or git add -A? Which does what again? Confused. What about staging deletions?

g2 comes with simplicity in mind, rather the using some of the commands above, g2 introduces freeze and unfreeze.

image

Without arguments, g freeze literally freezes the state of the workspace into the staging area. It's convenient, one command to stage all the changes: additions and deletions. If I need to point the file to stage, I can use g freeze <path>.

Once changes are frozen, they can be committed with: g ci -m "commit description" There is also a handy one way command g freeze -m "msg", that skips the staging area and commits directly.

Ooops, I staged a change that I do not want to commit: I would then use g unfreeze <path> to get the file(s) out of the way.

Try the CheatSheet it helps visualize what commands do.

Undoing changes

Since we introduced unfreeze in the previous section, let's cover undoing: Standard git commands are very confusing when it comes to undoing things. It requires using the reset command which has a bunch of strange parameters that make writes to the git index. In fact, in order to undo changes properly, the reset command requires the user to have a clear understanding of the guts of the git index. This should not be the case for a common command, like undo.

So here comes g2 with the following undo scenarios:

  • g undo commit - undo the last commit, put changes back into the staging area.
  • g undo merge - reverts all commits up to the state before the last merge.
  • g undo myfile.txt - reverts any changes made to myfile.txt.

Reviewing the History

Working with beginners, I found that an easy way to keep them focused is to provide visuals. Now this is not the github network graph, but it's close enough to get them focused. Type g lg and enjoy the enhanced colorized commit log output.

image

Learn to read that tree, it's important: it holds the commit history for the current branch.

Panic!

It happened to all of us. You try a new command (like a rebase) and things don't work as expected: git complains on every commit attempt, the prompt shows a weird status. Suddenly, you feel the urgency to hunt an expert advise: you start hunting the closest git-master: bad luck he's not around! In fact there is no-one to help you! "Damn it ! I wish I never run that command!", you start pulling your hairs and screaming "CVS was so much bettttttter!"

Well, you are panicking... and we built a command especially for you: g panic

Use panic when you feel like getting help from your git master. It checks out the last known good state (HEAD) and removes all files not under source control, leaving a clean workspace to resume from. It's the easiest way to get you back on track and ready to work. No more cold sweats and your git-master can rest.

Branching

Displaying the list of branches is achieved with the branch command: g br. Note how it provides details not only about the local and remote branches, but also about the state of these branches when compared to the status on the server.

$ g br
  gh-pages
* master
  remotes/origin/HEAD -> origin/master
  remotes/origin/gh-pages
  remotes/origin/master
---
gh-pages (ahead 0) | (behind 0) origin/gh-pages
master (ahead 0) | (behind 0) origin/master

Given a parameter, the command creates a new branch. g2 walks you though the steps that will typically take git 3 to 4 commands.

image

Use checkout g co NEW_branch to switch to that branch.

$ g br
  NEW_branch
  gh-pages
* master
  remotes/origin/HEAD -> origin/master
  remotes/origin/gh-pages
  remotes/origin/master
---
gh-pages (ahead 0) | (behind 0) origin/gh-pages
master (ahead 0) | (behind 0) origin/master
$ g co NEW_branch 
Switched to branch 'NEW_branch'
$ 

If you are familiar with git, this is no rocket science. There is however a hidden gem which might save you headaches going forward: g2 is extremely strict when it comes to switching branches: it only works from a stable state.

By stable state I mean: no modified files, no staged files. Should you have any changes, g2 will complain with the following message:

fatal: some files were changed on this branch, either commit <ci>, <wip> or <panic>.

Merging,continue & abort

g2 enforces a simpler merge flow by introducing commands abort & continue.

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So what commands can get you into merge mode? Well the ones that merge contents: sync, pull, rebase, merge and cherry-pick to name just a few. Merging with git is a revolution compared to other source control systems, most of the time it happens automatically. But in a few instances, you will need to resolve conflicts manually.

When this happens, g2 will stop the merge flow. Let me emphasize what that means:

  • If you are merging, a conflicts will stop before the final commit.
  • If you are rebasing or syncing, a conflicts will stop on the current replay step.

You may resolve conflicts by issuing a g mt (mt=mergetool). The default visual mergetool will show up and let you resolve each conflicting file manually. Typically, you will see your file on one side, the file you are merging with on the other and the common ancestor. The common ancestor is here to quickly identify what happened in the file: you can quickly pick additions and removals.

Once conflict resolution is completed, the merge process needs to be resumed manually.
Now, If you are a git expert, you know that there are actually 3 commands to resume form the 2 scenarios above. git makes it so confusing, doesn't it?

With g2 we simplified the process: no matter what flow you are in, there is only one command to resume: g continue. That's it!

Finally I should probably mention g abort that cancels an ongoing merge/rebase and reverts back to the state prior to the merge attempt.

Tracking

The whole concept of tracking is broken in git. It's not so much the feature, it's the way it is typically explained. All beginners wonder "What the hell is a tracking branch and how is it different from a regular branch?"

Backup… let's start from the beginning, the g2 way this time:

Please type the following command: g track, you should see something as such:

image

That's the tracking table. the first sections shows how each local branch is linked to its upstream remote/branch. In other words, what you see is the mapping between your local branches and the ones on the server(s). clear?

Ok... and now what?

Well tracking is used across several commands in g2, the most common one is g sync which you will learn in the next section. But you can also issue a g reset upstream or a g diff upstream. Even when you create a branch, g2 reads to current tracking to figure where to create the remote branch.

Note that you may use g track remote/branch to set the mapping. For instance, say we are on branch test and we issue a g track origin/mytest. the local branch test will now synchronize with the server origin/mytest.

Synching

Before introducing one of the main g2 features, let me talk about what NOT to do when merging with git.

Please have a glance at these graphs taken from various projects on github. Note how the branches overlap and how these loops make the graphic extremely difficult to read as the number of committers increases.

imageimage

Looks familiar? Wouldn't it be nicer to have straight lines, with segments showing only when feature branches are merged in? As such...

image

The above graph is 30+ developers working together on about 20 active feature branches. Note how the graph is clean an easy to read.

In order to achieve this result, g2 enforces two different merging scenarios, each backed by a different command:

  1. Saving the code in the working branch, that's what we do most of the time
  2. Merging features from other branches, like merging the latest changes from production.

The matching commands are g sync and g pull, here is how to use them:

image

  • Use g sync to synchronize the current branch. The command doesn't take any parameters because it uses the tracking table to figure the remote/branch. To enforce a clean linear history, the changes are always appended to the end of the branch. Once completed, the changes are sent back to the server.

For the git expert, the command issues a fetch, a rebase and a push with a multitude of validations in between. For instance, it will block if the remote history was force updated; also it won't push a wip commit (see below).

  • Use g pull when merging contents from a feature branches.

Note: g2 also supports g sync upstream which only fetch and rebase, handy with read-only clones ;-)

Saving the Work In Progress (WIP)

Saving the work in progress is a common task: Typically, git stash comes to the rescue. The issue with stashing is that you typically loose track of which branch it was created from. Stashing is indeed a short term solution.

g2 introduces wip and unwip. Two handy commands that you will learn to love. Unlike stashing, wip commits the work in progress as a regular commit.

$ g st
## master
MM README.md
M  g2-prompt.sh
(M=000f0 +2 *1) orefalo@OLIVIERS-IMAC 
$ g wip
[master 0dcbfb3] wip
 2 files changed, 31 insertions(+), 13 deletions(-)
(M=0dcbf) orefalo@OLIVIERS-IMAC 
$ g lg
* 0dcbfb3 - (HEAD, master) wip (5 seconds ago) <Olivier Refalo>
* 000f060 - (origin/master, origin/HEAD) fix freeze and wip (5 hours ago) <Olivier Refalo>
* b44487e - adding gui & freeze -m (6 hours ago) <Olivier Refalo>
* 7acd770 - documentation, removed undo (24 hours ago) <Olivier Refalo>
* a248217 - first commit (3 days ago) <Olivier Refalo>
* 5fa2c06 - initial commit (3 days ago) <Olivier Refalo>
$ g unwip
Unstaged changes after reset:
M   README.md
M   g2-prompt.sh
$

But unlike commits, wip commits CANNOT be merged, pushed or synched. You cannot commit on top of them either.
In other words, a wip commit in meant to stay at the tip of the branch until you are ready to unwip and resume your development.

Upstream

For convenience, several commands have been enhanced to accept the "upstream" keyword. As discussed earlier, the upstream is the on the server that syncs with your local branch. To see tracking setting, just enter g track

  • g rs upstream - resets the current branch to the state of the upstream (read the state of the branch on the server)
  • g merge upstream - merge local branch from the contents from the upstream
  • g sync upstream - pull contents from the server, rebase but DON'T push

List of Commands

Please refer to the cheatsheet.

FAQ

Why "g2"?

  • g is the command and it obviously comes from git
  • 2 because most of the actions are two letters long.

Is G2 a new git-flow?

No, g2 doesn't enforce any branching policy.

Is G2 compatible with git?

  • From a source control standpoint, yes g2 is interoperable with git.
  • From a command line parameters standpoint, definitely NOT. g2 grammar is simplified and hence doesn't support all the options available in git.

Why is G2 reinstalled on every launch?

To ensure the git configuration is in a stable, known state. Beginers can screw pretty bad when editing their gitconfig file.

What if my favorite command is missing?

Please notify us via the project issue tracker. For the time being, please use $GIT_EXE to run the real git command.

Credits

Author: Olivier Refalo

  • Contains a modified version of git-prompt - Leonid Volnitsky
  • Contains a modified version of git-completion.bash - Shawn O. Pearce
  • GUM by saintsjd. Wonder why this project felt short on delivery.
  • Andrew Peterson/ NDP Software for their cool interactive Cheat sheet
  • The maintainers behind msysgit who made git on windows all possible

License

Distributed under the GNU General Public License, version 2.0.

TODO

  • g remote: when resetting origin, prompt user to override existing
  • g track origin/blabla - if origin/blabla not setup, prompt user to fetch from origin
  • g br newbranch (from a branch with no remote) -> does prompt to create the branch
  • g2-co: check if branch is local then checkout branch, if remote checkout -b branch origin/branch
  • g as - aliasing
  • g undo needs more validations

FIXED / DONE

  • g2 is an official homebrew formula
  • g server - will start a local git server
  • optimized branch identification logic
  • git-prompt: detect rebase, rather than displaying detached-branch
  • Validate that we are in a git repo before any action is run
  • Homebrew fomula is now live
  • allow g co
  • Many commands are now colorized
  • Added tips of the day
  • fix issue with --set-upstream being deprecated
  • fix warning when running: g track
  • g dt was failing when comparing with other branches. reverted.
  • non-issue: g2-windows needs a new build - on windows: get freeze .gitignore fails with path issue
  • non-issue: g2-windows needs a new build - on windows: get version fails wth git path issue \program
  • g sync won't update the local branch
  • issue with bash 3.2
  • upgrade g2-msys to 1.7.11
  • fix little issue with undo,freeze,dt,ig
  • g rv wasn't working
  • g dt upstream
  • g rb upstream
  • g df upstream
  • g mg upstream
  • g2 completion - merged with upstream git 1.7.11 completion
  • completion, rename __git to avoid conflicts -> cancelled: probably better this way
  • g version
  • add doc about, g sync upstream + completion
  • g sync upstream
  • sm - not working
  • g undo merge = reset --hard ORIG_HEAD
  • g ss/stash
  • g undo file
  • g undo commit
  • g undo commit -f
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