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Fast git handover with mob

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Test Workflow Contributors Downloads Downloads of latest Version Stars mob - Fast git handover for remote mob or pair programming | Product Hunt

Smooth git handover with 'mob'.

What people say about 'mob'

"Mob has allowed us to run fast-paced, engaging, and effective sessions by enabling sub-10-second handover times and otherwise getting out of the way. A simple but great tool!" — Jeff Langr, developer

"I love it, it is a quantum leap in our collaboration." — Vasiliy Sivovolov, Senior Software Engineer

"What a great tool to organise remote working." — Jennifer Gommans, IT Consultant

"I was recently introduced to for remote pairing/mobbing collaboration and I absolutely love it. The timer feature is really a selling point for me. Kudos" — Fabien Illert, IT Consultant

"Really enjoying working with Whole team added it to the "Glad" column during yesterday's retro ;-)" —

How to install

The recommended way to install mob is as a binary via the provided install script:

# works for macOS, linux, and even on windows in git bash
curl -sL | sh

On macOS via homebrew:

brew install remotemobprogramming/brew/mob

# upgrade to latest version
brew upgrade remotemobprogramming/brew/mob

On windows via Scoop:

scoop install mob

On Nix through the mob.nix expression like this mob = callPackage ./mob.nix {};. To install and configure espeak-ng for text-to-speech support, pass withSpeech = true;.

On Arch Linux via yay:

yay -S mobsh-bin

On Ubuntu there's an EXPERIMENTAL snap package with a known limitation (ssh-agent not working):

sudo snap install mob-sh
sudo snap connect mob-sh:ssh-keys

Using go tools

When you already have a working go environment with a defined GOPATH you can install latest via go install:

With go < 1.16

go get
go install

go 1.16 introduced support for package@version syntax, so you can install directly with:

go install

or pick a specific version:

go install

How to use

You only need three commands: mob start, mob next, and mob done. Switch to a separate branch with mob start and handover to the next person with mob next. Repeat. When you're done, get your changes into the staging area of the master branch with mob done and commit them.


Here's a short example on how the two developers Carola and Maria code a feature together and push it in the end.

# Carola
main $ mob start
mob/main $ echo "hello" > work.txt
mob/main $ mob next

# Maria
main $ mob start
mob/main $ cat work.txt # shows "hello"
mob/main $ echo " world" >> work.txt
mob/main $ mob next

# Carola
mob/main $ mob start
mob/main $ cat work.txt # shows "hello world"
mob/main $ echo "!" >> work.txt
mob/main $ mob done
main $ git commit -m "create greeting file"
main $ git push

And here's the man page of the tool:

mob enables a fast Git handover

Basic Commands:
  start              start mob session from base branch in wip branch
  next               handover changes in wip branch to next person
  done               squashes all changes in wip branch to index in base branch
  reset              removes local and remote wip branch

Basic Commands(Options):
  start [<minutes>]                      Start a <minutes> timer
    [--include-uncommitted-changes|-i]   Move uncommitted changes to wip branch
    [--branch|-b <branch-postfix>]       Set wip branch to 'mob/<base-branch>/<branch-postfix>'
    [--stay|-s]                          Stay on wip branch (default)
    [--return-to-base-branch|-r]         Return to base branch
    [--message|-m <commit-message>]      Override commit message
    [--no-squash]                        Do not squash commits from wip branch
    [--squash]                           Squash commits from wip branch
    [--branch|-b <branch-postfix>]       Set wip branch to 'mob/<base-branch>/<branch-postfix>'

Experimental Commands:
  squash-wip                             Combines wip commits in wip branch with subsequent manual commits to leave only manual commits.
                                         ! Works only if all wip commits have the same wip commit message !
    [--git-editor]                       Not intended for manual use. Used as a non-interactive editor (GIT_EDITOR) for git.
    [--git-sequence-editor]              Not intended for manual use. Used as a non-interactive sequence editor (GIT_SEQUENCE_EDITOR) for git.

Timer Commands:
  timer <minutes>    start a <minutes> timer
  start <minutes>    start mob session in wip branch and a timer

Get more information:
  status             show the status of the current mob session
  config             show all configuration options
  version            show the version of mob
  help               show help

  moo                moo!

Add --debug to any option to enable verbose logging

  # start 10 min session in wip branch 'mob-session'
  mob start 10

  # start session in wip branch 'mob/<base-branch>/green'
  mob start --branch green

  # handover code and return to base branch
  mob next --return-to-base-branch

  # squashes all commits and puts changes in index of base branch
  mob done

  # make a sound check
  mob moo

Best Practices

  • Say out loud
    • Whenever you key in mob next at the end of your turn or mob start at the beginning of your turn say the command out loud.
    • Why? Everybody sees and also hears whose turn is ending and whose turn has started. But even more important, the person whose turn is about to start needs to know when the previous person entered mob next so they get the latest commit via their mob start.
  • Steal the screenshare
    • After your turn, don't disable the screenshare. Let the next person steal the screenshare. (Requires a setting in Zoom)
    • Why? This provides more calm (and less diversion) for the rest of the mob as the video conference layout doesn't change, allowing the rest of the mob to keep discussing the problem and finding the best solution, even during a Git handover.
  • Share audio
    • Share your audio when you share your screen.
    • Why? Sharing audio means everybody will hear when the timer is up. So everybody will help you to rotate, even if you have missed it coincidentally or deliberately.
  • Use a timer
    • Always specify a timer when using mob start (for a 5 minute timer use mob start 5)
    • Why? Rotation is key to good pair and mob programming. Just build the habit right from the start. Try to set a timer so everybody can have a turn at least once every 30 minutes.
  • Set up a global shortcut for screensharing
  • Set your editor to autosave
    • Have your editor save your files on every keystroke automatically. IntelliJ products do this automatically. VS Code, however, needs to be configured via "File > Auto Save toggle".
    • Why? Sometimes people forget to save their files. With autosave, any change will be handed over via mob next.

Complimentary Scripts

mob-start feature1 creates a new base branch feature1 to immediately start a wip branch mob/feature1 from there.

mob-start() { git checkout -b "$@" && git push origin "$@" --set-upstream && mob start --include-uncommitted-changes; }

Useful Aliases

alias ms='mob start'
alias mn='mob next'
alias md='mob done'
alias moo='mob moo'

More on Installation

Arch Linux

There are two Arch packages in the AUR:

  • mobsh-bin: uses the binary from the upstream release.
  • mobsh: compiles sources from scratch (and runs tests) locally.

Example installation using AUR helper yay:

yay -S mobsh-bin

# OR
yay -S mobsh

Linux Timer

(This is not needed when installing via snap.)

To get the timer to play "mob next" on your speakers when your time is up, you'll need an installed speech engine. Install that on Debian/Ubuntu/Mint as follows:

sudo apt-get install espeak-ng-espeak mbrola-us1

Create a little script in your $PATH called say with the following content:

espeak -v us-mbrola-1 "$@"

If you use WSL2 on windows, install eSpeak as windows tool and Create a little script in your $PATH called say with the following content:

/mnt/c/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/eSpeak/command_line/espeak.exe "$@"

make sure that the path to the windows espeak.exefits your installation. You can avoid the long path by adding it to your windows path variable.

How to configure

Show your current configuration with mob config:

MOB_WIP_COMMIT_MESSAGE=mob next [ci-skip] [ci skip] [skip ci]
MOB_NOTIFY_COMMAND=/usr/bin/osascript -e 'display notification "%s"'

Override default value permanently via environment variables:

export MOB_NEXT_STAY=true

Override default value just for a single call:

MOB_NEXT_STAY=true mob next

How to contribute

Propose your change in an issue or directly create a pull request with your improvements.

# PROJECT_ROOT is the root of the project/repository


git version # >= 2.17
go version # >= 1.14

go build # builds 'mob'

./create-testbed    # creates test assets

go test # runs all tests
go test -run TestDetermineBranches # runs the single test named 'TestDetermineBranches'

# run tests and show test coverage in browser
go test -coverprofile=cover.out && go tool cover -html=cover.out

Design Concepts

  • mob is a thin wrapper around git.
  • mob is not interactive.
  • mob owns its wip branches. It will create wip branches, make commits, push them, but also delete them.
  • mob requires the user to do changes in non-wip branches.
  • mob provides a copy'n'paste solution if it encounters an error.
  • mob relies on information accessible via git.
  • mob provides only a few environment variables for configuration.
  • mob only uses the Go standard library and no 3rd party plugins.

Who is using 'mob'?


Developed and maintained by Dr. Simon Harrer.

Contributions and testing by Jochen Christ, Martin Huber, Franziska Dessart, Nikolas Hermann and Christoph Welcz. Thank you!

Logo designed by Sonja Scheungrab.

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