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A Ruby Gem to keep multiple cloned Git Repositories up to date
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A Simple Gem to keep multiple locally-cloned Git Repositories up to date.

This is the conversion to a Gem of one of my standalone Ruby scripts. Still a work in progress but the required base functionality is there. The script will simply run git pull on every local clone of a git repository that it finds under the specified directory or directories.

Note: From version 0.9.0 onwards, the default mode of operation is non-verbose. If you wish the same output as previous versions then specify --verbose on the command line or verbose: true in the configuration file.



It goes without saying that at the very least a working copy of both Git (version 1.8.5 or greater, the script will not run with an older version) and Ruby (version 1.9.3 and newer) need to be installed on your machine. Also, the script has currently only been tested under Linux, not windows.

Install this from the shell prompt as you would any other Ruby Gem

$ gem install update_repo


Quick start

Create a YAML-formatted configuration file .updaterepo in your home directory that contains at least a 'location' tag pointing to the directory containing the git repositories you wish to have updated :

- /media/myuser/git-repos
- /data/RepoDir

This is the most basic example of a configuration file and there are other options that can be added to fine-tune the operation - see the description of configuration options below and the Website for more information.

This file should be located in the users home directory (~/.updaterepo).

Run the script :

$ update_repo


The below is a summary of the most common configuration options, see the Website for complete details and usage.

Configuration file

The configuration file defaults to ~/.updaterepo and is a standard YAML-formatted text file. If this configuration file is not found, the script will terminate with an error. The first line must contain the YAML frontmatter of 3 dashes (---). After that, the following sections can follow in any order. Only the location: section is compulsory, and that must contain at least one entry.

location: - at least one directory which contains the locally cloned repository(s) to update. There is no limit on how many directories can be listed :

- /media/myuser/git-repos
- /data/RepoDir

exceptions: - an (optional) list of repositories that will NOT be updated automatically. Use this for repositories that need special handling, or should only be manually updated. Note that the name specified is that of the directory holding the repository (has the .git directory inside)

- ubuntu-trusty
- update_repo

log: - Log all output to the file ./.updaterepo, defaults to FALSE (optional)

log: true

timestamp: - timestamp the output files instead of overwriting them, defaults to FALSE (optional)

timestamp: true

verbose: - display the output of the git command for each repo, defaults to FALSE (optional)

verbose: true

verbose_errors: - List all the error output from a failing command in the summary, not just the first line, defaults to FALSE (optional)

verbose_errors: true

brief: - Do not print the header, footer or summary, defaults to FALSE (optional)

brief: true

quiet: - no output at all, not even the header and footer, defaults to FALSE (optional)

quiet: true

save_errors: - Save any Git error messages from the last run for future display, defaults to FALSE (optional)

save_errors: true

Command line switches

Options are not required. If none are specified then the program will read from the standard configuration file (~/.updaterepo) and automatically update the specified Repositories. Command line options will take preference over those specified in the configuration file. Again, see the Website for complete details and usage.

Enter update_repo --help at the command prompt to get a list of available options :

  -c, --color, --no-color    Use colored output (default: true)
  -d, --dump                 Dump a list of Directories and Git URL's to STDOUT in CSV format
  -p, --prune=<i>            Number of directory levels to remove from the --dump output
                             Only valid when --dump or -d specified (Default: 0)
  -l, --log                  Create a logfile of all program output to './update_repo.log'.
                             Any older logs will be overwritten
  -t, --timestamp            Timestamp the logfile instead of overwriting. Does nothing unless the
                             --log option is also specified
  -g, --log-local            Create the logfile in the current directory instead of in the users home
  -r, --dump-remote          Create a dump to screen or log listing all the git remote URLS found in
                             the specified directories
  -V, --verbose              Display each repository and the git output to screen
  -E, --verbose-errors       List all the error output from a failing command in the summary, not just the first line
  -b, --brief                Do not print the header, footer or summary
  -q, --quiet                Run completely silent, with no output to the terminal (except fatal errors)
  -s, --save-errors          Save any Git error messages from the last run for future display
  -S, --show-errors          Show any Git error messages from the last run of the script
  -v, --version              Print version and exit
  -h, --help                 Show this message


Add functionality, not in any specific order :

  • Either add an option 'variants' or similar to allow non-standard git pull commands (eg Ubuntu kernel), or update the 'exceptions' option to do same.
  • Add command line option to specify an alternate config file.
  • Add ability to specify a new directory (containing Git repos) to search from the command line, and optionally save this to the standard configuration.
  • Add new repo from the command line that will be cloned to the default repo directory and then updated as usual. Extra flag added for "add only, clone later" for offline use.
  • Add flag for 'default' repo directory (or another specific directory - if it does not already exist it will be created and added to the standard list) which will be used for new additions.
  • Add option to only display a (text) tree of the discovered git repositories, not updating them.
  • Add ability to specify the colors used for each repository result (failure, warning, skipped, updated, default etc). This should only be done from the configuration file. The default settings will probably look pretty bad on a white background for example. Specify from the safe defined list used by the colorize gem.
  • Add Import & Export functionality :
    • ability to export a text dump of each repo location and remote as a CSV file. [DONE]
    • re-import the above dump on a different machine or after reinstall. Modify the '--prune' command to apply to this function also, removing the required number of directory levels before importing.
  • Add option to use alternative git command if required, either globally or on a case-by-case basis (see also comments on 'variants' above). Currently the script just uses a blanket git pull command on all repositories.
  • Add option to specify a completely different directory for the log file other than the 2 current options of home dir and local dir
  • Document configuration file format and options. [IN PROGRESS]
  • Add option to display the active config options, including those on command line and config file.
  • Add option to create the config file with options from existing config and command line

Internal Changes and refactoring :

  • Add testing!
  • Error checking and reporting for the git processes [IN PROGRESS]
  • Improve error-checking and recovery while parsing the configuration file
    • Ignore and report invalid or missing directories
    • Add more failure cases, there may be more git errors than "fatal:" or "error:"
  • Retry for connection issues etc (config setting).
  • Fail gracefully with warning and useful information if there are no location: entries or that tag is missing completely


Developing for the Gem

After checking out the repo, run bin/setup to install dependencies. Then, run rake spec to run the tests (or simply rake). You can also run bin/console for an interactive prompt that will allow you to experiment.

To install this gem onto your local machine, run bundle exec rake install.

Run rake to run the RSpec tests, which also runs RuboCop, Reek and inch --pedantic too.

Developing for the Website

The source for the Gem’s website is also included in this repository. In fact, there are 2 main folders related to the website :

  • /web/ folder - this is the SOURCE of the website, and all modifications should be performed here.
  • /docs/ folder - this is the GENERATED OUTPUT for the website, and this folder is served up directly and live to the web using GitHub Pages. Do not make any modifications to the files in this folder directly, your changes will be overwritten when the website is generated. Alway make changes in the /web/ folder.

There are also a few support files to configure Node and Gulp which are used for the build process.

For full details on how to update the website properly, please see the file in the root of this repository.

Any modifications that implement new functionality or user-facing API should also come with the relevant update to the website documenting the new options or modified functionality. Generally a Pull Request will not be accepted without the related additions to the website, however help can be given on that side if the process is unclear.

Using the provided Vagrant Box

To ease the setup of a consistent development environment under both Linux and Windows, we have provided a Vagrantfile with the project. This will provide a virtual machine (running Ubuntu 16.04) that is already set up with the required version of Ruby, Node.js and the associated development deps. It will already have all the needed node packages and Ruby gems installed locally. The root of this project repository will be available under the /vagrant/ directory on this VM for ease of development. This means that all the editing can be carried out on your normal system be it Windows, Linux or OSX, while the git control, testing, Gem building and Website generation (with Gulp) happens on the VM.

Setting up Vagrant and VirtalBox

The easiest VM to use for both Windows, Linux and Mac is VirtualBox which is Free and Open Source.

  • Download and install Vagrant from their download pages here. Follow the installation instructions depending on your operating system.
  • Download and install VirtualBox from their download pages here. Follow the installation instructions depending on your operating system.
  • Open a terminal (or Command Prompt in Windows) in the root directory of your checked-out copy of this project, the one containing the Vagrantfile.
  • We need to install one Vagrant plugin, otherwise the VM Guest Additions will be out of date and the /vagrant/ share will not work. for this we install the vagrant-vbguest plugin. To do this run the following at the terminal prompt : vagrant plugin install vagrant-vbguest
  • Run vagrant up at the terminal prompt. This will proceed to download, install and then provision an Ubuntu 16.04 Virtual Machine. For the first run, this will take some time but thereafter it will be quicker.
  • Run vagrant ssh at the terminal prompt to ssh into the VM. Note that for the first time, it will probably say that a reboot is required, simply type sudo reboot at the prompt - the VM will reboot and you will be disconnected. Wait a few minutes and then run vagrant ssh again.
  • Change to the /vagrant subdirectory which will contain the source for this project and then develop away as normal.
  • For the first use only, if you change to /vargrant and there are no files listed, this is generally because the VM Guest Additions have been updated when bringing the VM up, but have not properly activated. In this case simply exit the VM, run vagrant halt then vagrant up again which should fix it.

Special comments for Windows users

There is no default ssh client installed in any version of windows, so vagrant ssh will fail, giving you the settings required to use a third-party ssh client (for example my preferred windows SSH client is MobaXterm). If you prefer that vagrant ssh actually works from the command line, it is possible to install the ssh command line programs if you also install the Git for Windows software. Install this, ensuring that you choose the option 'Use Git and optional Unix tools from the Windows Command Prompt'. After this, the ssh executable will be available from any windows Command Shell and so vagrant ssh will work as expected. Please note the warning given by the installer related to this option though!


  1. Fork it

  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)

  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')

  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)

  5. Create new Pull Request

Please note - This Gem currently aims to pass 100% on RuboCop, Reek and Inch-CI (on pedantic mode), so all pull requests should do likewise. Ask for guidance if needed. Running rake will automatically test all 3 of those along with the RSpec tests.


This Gem aims to adhere to Semantic Versioning 2.0.0. Violations of this scheme should be reported as bugs. Specifically, if a minor or patch version is released that breaks backward compatibility, that version should be immediately yanked and/or a new version should be immediately released that restores compatibility. Breaking changes to the public API will only be introduced with new major versions.

Of course, currently we have not even reached version 1, so leave off the version requirement completely. Expect any and all of the API and interface to change!


The gem is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.

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