How I organize my cloned git projects

How I organize my cloned git projects

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 personal, work, and tools. But both of these solutions had the same problems:

I figured there’s probably a better way.

Enter Go

I really like the way that Go organizes source code. The command go get <git-url> installs packages to $GOPATH/src. ($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 would clone the project into $GO_PATH/src/ This gives you several benefits:

But I don’t work with Go

I occasionally work with Go, but I mostly work with JavaScript. Initially I thought I could just co-opt the 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.

The Solution… git get

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 protected]:pietvanzoen/dotfiles.git, which clones my dotfiles into ~/repos/ Also, git get can be run from any directory.

So now my projects look a bit like this:

│   └── pietvanzoen
│       └── wibble
│   ├── LeidenDevs
│   │   └── leidendevs
│   ├── chriso
│   │   └── validator.js
│   ├── pietvanzoen
│   │   ├── discussie
│   │   ├── dotfiles
│   │   ├──
│   │   └── validator.js
│   └── wting
│       └── autojump
    └── 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 ~/repos/


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 submit an issue.

Typos? Mistakes? Please submit an issue.