Git Configuration Best Practices

This page collects best practices for configuring Git for DM development.

See also:

Learning Git

If you’re new to Git, there are many great learning resources, such as

Setup Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for GitHub

We encourage you to enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for GitHub through your account security settings. 2FA means that you’ll have to enter an authentication code when logging into from a new computer. Apps like 1Password (see their guide), Authy, and the Google Authenticator App can help you generate these authentication codes. When pushing commits with a 2FA-enabled account, you’ll use a personal access token instead of your password. You can create and revoke tokens from your GitHub settings page. To help you automatically authenticate when pushing to GitHub, we encourage you to follow the next step and enable a credential helper.

Setup a Git credential helper

Rather than entering your GitHub username and password (or 2FA access token) every time you push, you can setup a Git credential helper to manage this for you. A credential helper is especially important for working with our Git LFS-backed repositories.

Mac users can use the secure OS X keychain:

git config --global credential.helper osxkeychain

Linux users can use a credential cache to temporarily keep credentials in memory. To have your credentials cached for 1 hour (3600 seconds):

git config --global credential.helper 'cache --timeout=3600'

Linux users can alternatively have their credentials stored on disk in a ~/.git-credentials file. Only do this for machines where you can ensure some level of security.

git config --global credential.helper store

Once a credential helper is enabled, the next time you git push, you will add your credentials to the helper.

Remember that if you have 2FA enabled, you will create and use a personal access token instead of your GitHub password.

The DM Git LFS documentation has further information about authenticating with our LFS storage backend.

Tune your shell for Git

You can build an effective development environment and workflow by tuning your Git setup. Here are some ideas:

  1. Add git status to your prompt.
  2. Enable shell autocompletion
  3. Craft aliases for common workflows.
  4. Use hub to interact with GitHub features from the command line.

Setup your editor

You’ll want to configure your preferred editor (or its command line hook) as your Git editor. For example:

git config --global core.editor "vim"
git config --global core.editor "emacs"
git config --global core.editor "atom --wait"
git config --global core.editor "subl -n -w"

See GitHub’s help for setting up Atom and Sublime Text as Git editors.

Useful Git aliases and configurations

You can craft custom Git commands (aliases) in your ~/.gitconfig to refine your workflow. When you run an alias (git <alias> [arguments]) the alias’s name is effectively replaced with the alias’s content in the command line statement.

Here are some aliases try in ~/.gitconfig:

    # List things
    tags = "tag -l"
    branches = "branch -a"
    remotes = "remote -v"

    # Shorten common commands
    co = "checkout"
    st = "status"
    br = "branch"
    ci = "commit"
    d = "diff"

    # Log that shows titles of last 16 commits
    l = "log -16 --color=always --all --topo-order --pretty='%Cred%h%Creset -%C(yellow)%d%Creset %s %Cgreen(%cr) %C(bold blue)<%an>%Creset' --abbrev-commit --date=relative"

    # Log that starts a pager with titles of all the commits in your tree
    ll = log --color=always --all --topo-order --pretty='%Cred%h%Creset -%C(yellow)%d%Creset %s %Cgreen(%cr) %C(bold blue)<%an>%Creset' --abbrev-commit

    # Log that shows the last 10 commits as a graph
    lg = "log -10 --color=always --all --graph --topo-order --pretty='%Cred%h%Creset -%C(yellow)%d%Creset %s %Cgreen(%cr) %C(bold blue)<%an>%Creset' --abbrev-commit --date=relative"

    # Log that shows all commits as a graph (using a pager)
    lgl = "log --color=always --all --graph --topo-order --pretty='%Cred%h%Creset -%C(yellow)%d%Creset %s %Cgreen(%cr) %C(bold blue)<%an>%Creset' --abbrev-commit"

    # Show outgoing commits
    out = "log @{u}.."

    # Print the title of the current branch; sometimes useful for scripting
    currentbranch = "!git branch --contains HEAD | grep '*' | tr -s ' ' | cut -d ' ' -f2"

    # Better diffs for prose
    wdiff = "diff --color-words"

    # Safer pulls; don't do anything other than a fast forward on merge
    pull = "pull --ff-only"

    # Amend last commit without modifying commit message
    amend = "!git log -n 1 --pretty=tformat:%s%n%n%b | git commit -F - --amend"

    # Create a commit that will be automatically squashed as a fixup when you
    # run `git rebase --autosquash`
    fixup = "commit --fixup=HEAD"