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Using Git Hooks

 ·   ·  ☕ 2 min read

Git Hooks provide a way for you to hook into your local git installation and attach additional behavior to common git actions. For example: validating that your code builds during a commit, confirming git commit messages or running your test suite before pushing your code changes to your peers. Because git hooks run on your local machine and are not checked in with the rest of your code you can also use them to automate certain parts of your workflow that might be unique to you.

Note: Git Hooks are not a replacement for a CI/CD pipeline like GitHub Actions, CircleCI etc!

You can add a new Git Hook by adding a file to the .git/hooks directory of your project that matches one of the supported git hooks. The supported git hooks are:

  • pre-commit
  • prepare-commit-msg
  • commit-msg
  • post-commit
  • pre-push
  • applypatch-msg
  • pre-applypatch
  • post-applypatch
  • pre-rebase
  • post-checkout
  • post-merge
  • post-update
  • pre-auto-gc
  • post-rewrite

You can find more about what each of these git hooks do in the Git documentation. Some of these may not be helpful if your doing local development with an existing remote repo somewhere like GitHub or GitLab.

Files you change in the .git directory will not be checked into your git repository and therefore will not be visible to the rest of your team. If you’d like to share your pre-commit and other hooks with your team you can place the scripts somewhere inside your project and create a symlink to them in the .git/hooks directory.

Note: make sure that you make your Git Hooks executable or git will not be able to access and run them!

If you’d like to be able to edit .git files more easily inside of Visual Studio Code you’ll need to disable the automatic file exclusion. You can do this by updating your settings.json file by adding the following setting:

"files.exclude": {
    "**/.git": false

This setting prevents all .git directories in your project - regardless of where they are located - from being hidden.

You can also bypass Git Hooks using the --no-verify (shorthand -n) argument when running git commands in your CLI. This will completely bypass these hooks and prevent them from running. If you have a Git Hook that requires tests to pass before pushing running git push --no-verify would allow you to push your changes for example.

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Sam Wronski
Sam Wronski
Maker of things and professional software engineer. Lets make something awesome together!