A Good Use for global .gitignore

edit ✏️

I've never found a great use for a global .gitignore file. Mostly I fear that by adding a lot of the common things like .pyc files it will be missing from the project and inevitably be committed to the project by someone else.

Personal Tools

Within the past year I have added some tools to my personal setup that are not required to run the project, but works really well with my setup. They are direnv and pyflyby . Since these both support project level configuration, are less common, and not in most .gitignore templates they make for great candidates to add to a global .gitignore file.

create the config

Like any .gitignore it supports gits wildignore syntax. I made a ~/dotfiles/git/.global_gitignore file, and added the following to it.

.envrc
.pyflyby

Once I had this file, I stowed it into ~/.global_gitignore .

cd ~/dotfiles/
stow git

Always stow your dotfiles, don't set yourself up for wondering why your next machine is not working right.

stow note

Note, the reason that it is a ~/.global_gitignore and not a ~/.gitignore is that I was unable to stow a .gitignore file . They must be ignored by default, and I was unable to figure out how to turn it back on.

set the config

Next run this command to add the ~/.global_gitignore to your gitignore as a global excludesfile.

git config --global core.excludesfile ~/.global_gitignore

commit it

Once you have done this you should have both your ~/dotfiles/git/.gitconfig and ~/dotfiles/.global_gitignore ready to commit.

cd ~/dotfiles

git add git/.global_gitignore
git add git/.gitconfig

git commit -m "add global_gitignore"

You didn't stow your .gitconfig

the shame!

No worries, lets get it into your dotfiles repo and stow it.

cd ~/dotfiles

# if you dont have a git directory make it.
mkdir git
mv ~/.gitconfig ~/devtainer/git
# now use stow to symlink it back to where it was
# so git works as expected.
stow git

You dont have a dotfiles directory

double shame 😲

If you dont already have a dotfiles directry you should. It is important for it to be in your home directory for stow to work properly, if you really don't want it there, look up how to configure stow to account for this.

# make a dotfiles directory and go there
mkdir ~/dotfiles
cd ~/dotfiles

# make it a git repo
git init

# if you dont have a git directory make it.

mkdir git
mv ~/.gitconfig ~/devtainer/git
# now use stow to symlink it back to where it was
# so git works as expected.
stow git