Apr. 24th, 2013

Sorry for the delay in posting, there's been a post I've been trying to articulate for months, and every time I feel ready to finish it, another related event crops up, and changes (but reinforces) the point I want to make. So, I've stashed it for now to share something shiny I made.

You see, I've recently switched jobs, and I'm now working as a developer. I have to say, the benefits that switching jobs has had on my general well-being cannot be understated (sadly, I will be understating them in this post as that's possibly for another post).

However, professionally speaking my new role meant switching from my familiar use of mercurial to git. I was a bit wary at first, mostly because most blogs about git usage have a strange obsession about exposing the plumbing of the system, giving the impression that you need to understand the internals in order to simply use it, but I have to say I'm liking it now that I'm using it. That said, I've always been dabbling with git over a long period, but because I had done paid, productive work with mercurial, that got priority over my own git-dabbling. Now, part of my job is to learn how to use git productively, so I've taken some of my start-up time to go on a deep-dive into the system, and its supporting ecosystem, in order to customize my setup to a point beyond all recognition my needs.

If you google around about git and bash, you'll inevitably stumble on sites with completion recipes, prompt hacks, and other fun aliases to give you more information and insight into what you're doing and where. I have to admit, I felt a bit left out. I had to blog about something to do with git and bash.

Now, here's the thing. In my new workplace, we've got about 20 different git repos. There's apparently A Very Good Reason(tm) for this, but what it means is that when I'm flitting through the sources, I'm dealing with a forest of separate source trees, each with a roughly identical directory structure, and I'm prone to wanting to 'cd' up to the root, then switch to the next one. Now, it's quite possible that my Google-foo failed me, but I couldn't easily find something allowed me to realias 'cd' so that it that got me to the top-level directory of the repository when I just typed "cd" on its own; I'd just end up back in my home directory. So, after having a peek at the bash auto-completion code that's shipped with most git packages, I decided to make my own.

I shouldn't be as proud of this moment as I actually am. Seriously, I should not. It took some googling, and trawling StackOverflow for some of the interesting tricks I used, but overall, I had this done in about an hour or so.

After mentioning it on facebook, and how disgustingly proud I was of making this monstrosity, I was encouraged to join the trendy github hoardes and share it. So I did. I know, I'm now one of those trendy hipster GitHub folk, and I'm still disgustingly proud of this. It's like a kid running up to their parents holding a potty with a perfectly formed poo inside saying, "Look mommy, I didn't miss this time!".

With that adorable image aside, it was mentioned that if I'm blogging about this I might as well explain some of the tricks in there, so that's going under a cut. But first, a few notes:

  • You'll want to source this file after you source your bash-completion script for git, otherwise this won't work (this is kinda by design, more on that in the fine details).

  • While I've done my best to test this, there may be corner cases.

  • The idea is to get to the top-level directory of your git repo with a blank "cd" call. If you type it again, "cd" should behave normally.

Now for the finer details )

And that's my tour of the code12 done. I hope someone finds it (and the actual function) vaguely useful, and I really hope that the blog was at least fun to read, if not that informative. I welcome any comments, questions or issues on either the blog or on github (although if you mention an issue, please put the name of the function's filename in the title).

Herein lie the Footnotes )



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