path: root/Documentation/gitcli.txt
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authorPierre Habouzit <>2007-12-13 10:20:01 (GMT)
committerJunio C Hamano <>2007-12-22 18:26:08 (GMT)
commit2f7ee089dff6e9225dbfca2bdd23efe93e1c0740 (patch)
tree4d45e71bfc62b671add20cd863d119f55dc9df4a /Documentation/gitcli.txt
parentc43a24834a9babd3ddd9c27ccc81174c2cb36859 (diff)
parse-options: Add a gitcli(5) man page.
This page should hold every information about the git ways to parse command lines, and best practices to be used for scripting. Signed-off-by: Pierre Habouzit <>
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+gitcli - git command line interface and conventions
+This manual describes best practice in how to use git CLI. Here are
+the rules that you should follow when you are scripting git:
+ * it's preferred to use the non dashed form of git commands, which means that
+ you should prefer `"git foo"` to `"git-foo"`.
+ * splitting short options to separate words (prefer `"git foo -a -b"`
+ to `"git foo -ab"`, the latter may not even work).
+ * when a command line option takes an argument, use the 'sticked' form. In
+ other words, write `"git foo -oArg"` instead of `"git foo -o Arg"` for short
+ options, and `"git foo --long-opt=Arg"` instead of `"git foo --long-opt Arg"`
+ for long options. An option that takes optional option-argument must be
+ written in the 'sticked' form.
+ * when you give a revision parameter to a command, make sure the parameter is
+ not ambiguous with a name of a file in the work tree. E.g. do not write
+ `"git log -1 HEAD"` but write `"git log -1 HEAD --"`; the former will not work
+ if you happen to have a file called `HEAD` in the work tree.
+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:
+ 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)
+ 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 optionnal 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
+Documentation by Pierre Habouzit.
+Part of the gitlink:git[7] suite