Gitting gud

James Sessford • December 26, 2019

git ubuntu

Git is now an essential part of my work flow. It's invaluable. I like knowing that even though I may have to dig to find it, I have the history of an entire project at my fingertips.

Since moving over to Ubuntu, I've made a few optimisations to my environment to help use Git.


I modified this from a Stack Overflow answer, it'll add the desired keys to SSH agent when you load a terminal/login through SSH and destroy the agent when the last thing using it is closed.

I have this at the bottom of my ~/.zshrc config file

# Start ssh-agent to keep you logged in with keys, use `ssh-add` to log in
agent=`pgrep ssh-agent -u $USER` # get only your agents
if [[ "$agent" == "" || ! -e ~/.ssh/.agent_env ]]; then
# if no agents or environment file is missing create a new one
# remove old agents / environment variable files
if [[ "$agent" != "" ]]; then
kill $agent;
rm -f ~/.ssh/.agent_env
# restart
eval `ssh-agent`
echo 'export SSH_AUTH_SOCK'=$SSH_AUTH_SOCK >> ~/.ssh/.agent_env
echo 'export SSH_AGENT_PID'=$SSH_AGENT_PID >> ~/.ssh/.agent_env
# create our own hardlink to the socket (with random name)
source ~/.ssh/.agent_env
# if we are the last holder of a hardlink, then kill the agent
nhard=`ls -l $SSH_AUTH_SOCK | awk '{print $2}'`
if [[ "$nhard" -eq 2 ]]; then
rm ~/.ssh/.agent_env
ssh-agent -k
trap end_agent EXIT
set +x

Clone via SSH

After setting up injection of my SSH keys, I went around the projects I had on my machine and changed the remote from HTTPS to SSH. Now I can interact with remote repositories without having to enter my username and password every time!


Earlier this year Dave Hemphill tweeted about the power of WIP. Essentially that's the only commit message you need. That gives us our first alias

alias wip="git add . && git commit -m 'WIP'"

I wouldn't advocate this behavoiur for team work or a situation where commit messages are necessary but for me to quickly save state and gaurantee that I'm storing project history, it more than works for me.

The second alias is nah. Nah is a git reset and clean to get your working tree back to the state of the last commit.

alias nah="git reset --hard && git clean -df"


GitLens gives VSCode super powers. I probably haven't scratched the surface of what this package can do but I can now instantly get the full commit/edit history for any project file from within the editor.

Git Config (April 2020)

I don't know how I missed this last time - an easy optimisation is to add your user to the config globally :)

git config --global "Jane Doe"
git config --global ""