SYNOPSIS

gitcli

DESCRIPTION

This manual describes the convention used throughout git CLI.

Many commands take revisions (most often "commits", but sometimes "tree-ish", depending on the context and command) and paths as their arguments. Here are the rules:

When writing a script that is expected to handle random user-input, it is a good practice to make it explicit which arguments are which by placing disambiguating \-- at appropriate places.

Here are the rules regarding the "flags" that you should follow when you are scripting git:

ENHANCED OPTION PARSER

From the git 1.5.4 series and further, many git commands (not all of them at the time of the writing though) come with an enhanced option parser.

Here is an exhaustive list of the facilities provided by this option parser.

Magic Options

Commands which have the enhanced option parser activated all understand a couple of magic command line options:

-h

gives a pretty printed usage of the command.

$ git describe -h
usage: git-describe [options] <committish>*

    --contains            find the tag that comes after the commit
    --debug               debug search strategy on stderr
    --all                 use any ref in .git/refs
    --tags                use any tag in .git/refs/tags
    --abbrev [<n>]        use <n> digits to display SHA-1s
    --candidates <n>      consider <n> most recent tags (default: 10)
--help-all

Some git commands take options that are only used for plumbing or that are deprecated, and such options are hidden from the default usage. This option gives the full list of options.

Negating options

Options with long option names can be negated by prefixing "--no-". For example, "git branch" has the option "--track" which is on by default. You can use "--no-track" to override that behaviour. The same goes for "--color" and "--no-color".

Aggregating short options

Commands that support the enhanced option parser allow you to aggregate short options. This means that you can for example use "git rm -rf" or "git clean -fdx".

Separating argument from the option

You can write the mandatory option parameter to an option as a separate word on the command line. That means that all the following uses work:

$ git foo --long-opt=Arg
$ git foo --long-opt Arg
$ git foo -oArg
$ git foo -o Arg

However, this is NOT allowed for switches with an optional value, where the sticked form must be used:

$ git describe --abbrev HEAD     # correct
$ git describe --abbrev=10 HEAD  # correct
$ git describe --abbrev 10 HEAD  # NOT WHAT YOU MEANT

NOTES ON FREQUENTLY CONFUSED OPTIONS

Many commands that can work on files in the working tree and/or in the index can take --cached and/or --index options. Sometimes people incorrectly think that, because the index was originally called cache, these two are synonyms. They are not — these two options mean very different things.

git apply command can be used with --cached and --index (but not at the same time). Usually the command only affects the files in the working tree, but with --index, it patches both the files and their index entries, and with --cached, it modifies only the index entries.

See also http://marc.info/?l=git&m=116563135620359 and http://marc.info/?l=git&m=119150393620273 for further information.

Documentation

Documentation by Pierre Habouzit and the git-list <git@vger.kernel.org>.

GIT

Part of the git(1) suite