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Git Ignore and .gitignore


Git Ignore

When sharing your code with others, there are often files or parts of your project, you do not want to share.

Examples

  • log files
  • temporary files
  • hidden files
  • personal files
  • etc.

Git can specify which files or parts of your project should be ignored by Git using a .gitignore file.

Git will not track files and folders specified in .gitignore. However, the .gitignore file itself IS tracked by Git.


Create .gitignore

To create a .gitignore file, go to the root of your local Git, and create it:

Example

touch .gitignore

Now open the file using a text editor.

We are just going to add two simple rules:

  • Ignore any files with the .log extension
  • Ignore everything in any directory named temp

Example

# ignore ALL .log files
*.log

# ignore ALL files in ANY directory named temp
temp/

Now all .log files and anything in temp folders will be ignored by Git.

Note: In this case, we use a single .gitignore which applies to the entire repository.

It is also possible to have additional .gitignore files in subdirectories. These only apply to files or folders within that directory.



Rules for .gitignore

Here are the general rules for matching patterns in .gitignore files: 

Pattern Explanation/Matches Examples
  Blank lines are ignored  
# text comment Lines starting with # are ignored  
name All name files, name folders, and files and folders in any name folder /name.log
/name/file.txt
/lib/name.log
name/ Ending with / specifies the pattern is for a folder. Matches all files and folders in any name folder /name/file.txt
/name/log/name.log

no match:
/name.log
name.file All files with the name.file /name.file
/lib/name.file
/name.file Starting with / specifies the pattern matches only files in the root folder /name.file

no match:
/lib/name.file
lib/name.file Patterns specifiing files in specific folders are always realative to root (even if you do not start with / ) /lib/name.file

no match:
name.file
/test/lib/name.file
**/lib/name.file Starting with ** before / specifies that it matches any folder in the repository. Not just on root. /lib/name.file
/test/lib/name.file
**/name All name folders, and files and folders in any name folder /name/log.file
/lib/name/log.file
/name/lib/log.file
/lib/**/name All name folders, and files and folders in any name folder within the lib folder. /lib/name/log.file
/lib/test/name/log.file
/lib/test/ver1/name/log.file

no match:
/name/log.file
*.file All files withe .file extention /name.file
/lib/name.file
*name/ All folders ending with name /lastname/log.file
/firstname/log.file
name?.file ? matches a single non-specific character /names.file
/name1.file

no match:
/names1.file
name[a-z].file [range] matches a single character in the specified range (in this case a character in the range of a-z, and also be numberic.) /names.file
/nameb.file

no match:
/name1.file
name[abc].file [set] matches a single character in the specified set of characters (in this case either a, b, or c) /namea.file
/nameb.file

no match:
/names.file
name[!abc].file [!set] matches a single character, except the ones spesified in the set of characters (in this case a, b, or c) /names.file
/namex.file

no match:
/namesb.file
*.file All files withe .file extention /name.file
/lib/name.file
name/
!name/secret.log
! specifies a negation or exception. Matches all files and folders in any name folder, except name/secret.log /name/file.txt
/name/log/name.log

no match:
/name/secret.log
*.file
!name.file
! specifies a negation or exception. All files withe .file extention, except name.file /log.file
/lastname.file

no match:
/name.file
*.file
!name/*.file
junk.*
Adding new patterns after a negation will re-ignore a previous negated file
All files withe .file extention, except the ones in name folder. Unless the file name is junk
/log.file
/name/log.file

no match:
/name/junk.file

Local and Personal Git Ignore Rules

It is also possible to ignore files or folders but not show it in the distubuted .gitignore file.

These kinds of ignores are specified in the .git/info/exclude file. It works the same way as .gitignore but are not shown to anyone else.


Test Yourself With Exercises

Exercise:

In .gitignore add a line to ignore all .temp files:



Start the Exercise