..

5 Git Aliases I Can’t Live Without

I’m a huge fan of shortcuts.

Aliases, hacks, scripts, automations, workarounds… I love unnecessary optimization, so it should come as no surprise that I’m particularly fond of the alias functionality in Git—so much so that it inspired me to contribute a similar feature to the Vagrant project several years ago.

While I am comfortable using Git in my day-to-day as a software developer, some tasks are more tedious than others—and some are simply less memorable—which is where aliases come in. Over the years, I’ve built up a pretty extensive list of aliases that I use, and rather than hoard them I thought I’d troll through my archives and share my five favorite ones.

Note: If any of these aliases interest you, drop the relevant code snippets in the [alias] section of your .gitconfig file (usually found within your home directory). For more detailed information on how to use and install aliases, I highly suggest you read the documentation.

$ git undo

I don’t know how often I’ve committed something that I didn’t intend to, but it happens more than I like. The git undo alias is probably my most-used one, as it “undoes” the last commit and gives you a bit of a do-over to make changes, unstage files, and fix a recently screwed up commit.

Alias

undo = reset --soft HEAD~1

Demo

$ git amend

In case the the previous alias didn’t tip you off, this one should make it abundantly clear that I screw up a ton. While I often over-commit files, I also tend to forget to commit files. This happens a lot when I make a commit, and then realize that I forgot to stage a new file or change. The git amend alias allows me to add any staged changes to the previous commit without having to update the commit message.

Alias

amend = !git log -n 1 --pretty=tformat:%s%n%n%b | git commit -F - --amend

Demo

$ git tree

When working with a team that uses a large number of feature branches, it can often be useful to see just how those branches come together. The git tree alias allows me to see what has been merged into the current branch, and when, which can make it significantly easier to get a larger view of the activity within a given project.

Alias

tree = log --graph --pretty=format:'%C(yellow)%h%C(cyan)%d%Creset %s %C(white)- %an, %ar%Creset'

Demo

$ git review

Just about every project I work on is hosted on GitHub, so the git review alias is particularly handy. It allows me to checkout a pull request by its ID, which I can then run through the ringer and validate without having to jump through any hoops.

Alias

review= "!f() { git fetch origin pull/$1/head:pr/$1 && git checkout pr/$1; }; f"

Demo

$ git trim

A fairly new tool in my toolbox, the git trim alias is what I use to clean up after myself. When run, it gets a list of all of the branches that have been merged into the current branch, and deletes them from your local repository. This is super useful when pulling down a large number of feature branches, as you can clean them up as they get merged without much overhead.

Alias

trim = !git branch --merged | grep -v '*' | xargs -n 1 git branch -d

Demo