Using Git hooks to check your commit code

Secure Commitment

© Photo by Rawpixel on Unsplash

© Photo by Rawpixel on Unsplash

Article from Issue 284/2024
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The pre-commit framework lets you automatically manage and maintain your Git hook scripts to deliver better Git commits.

When developing software in a public Git [1] repository, it's recommended to check for common issues in your code prior to committing your changes. Neglecting to do so could lead to your Git repository being cluttered with commits that just fix some minor syntax or style issue. To err is human. Consequently, relying solely on manual checks isn't enough to deliver quality code.

To address this issue, the Git version control system offers a way to start custom scripts when specific actions occur, such as committing changes or merging branches: Git hooks [2]. These hooks are executable (often shell) scripts, stored in the .git/hooks directory of a Git repository. When you create a new repository with the git init command, this directory is populated with several example scripts (Figure 1). Removing the .sample extension from a file name is all that's necessary to enable this hook.

You can use these Git hooks to check for code style on a snapshot that's about to be committed, to edit the default commit message before the commit author sees it, to validate a commit message before allowing a commit to go through, or even to send a notification after the commit process is completed. It's also possible to run scripts before rebasing anything, after a successful git checkout or git merge command, before pushing your commits, and more.

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