19 Feb 2020

git golf continued

In the ongoing quest to type even less while using git on a day to day basis, I noticed that I sometimes need to switch back and forth between branches with similar names. To pick a completely hypothetical example, let’s call those branches update-ruby and update-rails.

When all my branches have nice, unique names I can switch between them by typing git co X<tab>, where X is the first letter of the branch name. In this case, though, I have to type git co u<tab><tab>, then read the list of autocomplete options to figure out what the next letter I need to type is, and then type u<tab> to complete the branch I actually want.

Wouldn’t it be easier to check out the branch by any unique string contained within its name, without having to tab-complete? Yes, it would.

Leveraging the magic of fzf, I have updated my previously mentioned gb alias to be even more powerful:

function gb {
  if [[ -z "$1" ]]; then
    git branch -v
    git branch | grep -v "^*" | fzf -f "$1" | head -n1 | xargs git checkout

Now, see a list of local branches with gb, and then choose a branch with gb foo, where foo is any string that allows fzf to tell which branch you mean. That could be a unique string, but it could even be a unique set of characters that appear in the same order in the target branch name. fzf is great.

Now my daily branch workflow is more like gb, gb ruby, do some work, gi, gp, gb rails, do some other work, gi. As long as we measure only in terms of buttons pushed to use git, life continues to improve!