For a while I’ve been looking for a better way to organize the git repos I work with. I’ve tried just dumping them into a single directory, and I’ve tried adding sub folders such as
tools. But both of these solutions had the same problems:
- Repos that I clone to play around with cause clutter alongside projects I’m actively working on.
- Cloning forked repos along with the original repos cause folder name conflicts. Meaning I would have to use a different a folder name to the project name, which might cause confusion when working on a project.
- It’s unclear who owns what without going to the cloned repo and running
git remote -v.
I figured there’s probably a better way.
I really like the way that Go organizes source code. The command
go get <git-url> installs packages to
$GOPATH defaults to
$HOME/go in Unix systems.) From there, repos are organized in directories by git host, user name, and repo name. For example,
go get github.com/pietvanzoen/pietvanzoen.com would clone the project into
$GO_PATH/src/github.com/pietvanzoen/pietvanzoen.com. This gives you several benefits:
- You avoid folder naming conflicts.
- It’s clear where a repo came from.
- Your work/personal projects are automatically grouped.
- Source code is organized in a consistent and easy-to-understand way.
But I don’t work with Go
go get command and organize my non-Go projects alongside the handful of Go projects I work with. But Go recognizes that a project isn’t Go and prints a warning message. Apart from the warning message, I didn’t feel comfortable co-opting Go functionality to organize folders unrelated to Go. It’s not what the tool is intended for and there’s no guarantee it won’t break later on.
So… I came up with
git get. It’s just a single Python script that parses the given git url, creates the directory structure, and clones the repo into the created directory. I define a
$GIT_PATH to store all my repos in (I chose
~/repos). Then I can run
git get email@example.com:pietvanzoen/dotfiles.git, which clones my dotfiles into
git get can be run from any directory.
So now my projects look a bit like this:
~/repos ├── bitbucket.org │ └── pietvanzoen │ └── wibble ├── github.com │ ├── LeidenDevs │ │ └── leidendevs │ ├── chriso │ │ └── validator.js │ ├── pietvanzoen │ │ ├── discussie │ │ ├── dotfiles │ │ ├── pietvanzoen.com │ │ └── validator.js │ └── wting │ └── autojump └── gitlab.com └── pietvanzoen └── wibble
You can see I’ve cloned
validator.js twice. One is the original project by github user chriso, and the other is my fork. With the single level folder structure I used before I would have to name the clone folder for one of those projects to something else.
But that’s a lot of directories to navigate
One drawback to this approach is that we now have a lot of directories to navigate. Depending on your patience, this may or may not be an issue to you. If it is an issue, I really like using autojump. The
autojump command (bound to
j for brevity) builds an index of commonly visited directories. After visiting a directory for the first time, you can then run
j <partial-dir-name> and you’ll be taken to the first match in the autojump index. E.g
j dot will take me to
I’ve been using this new directory structure for about a month and I love it. It feels clean and organized and I don’t worry about where I’m cloning repos into. Check out the
git-get source code and try it out. If you have ideas for improvement please let me know.