.gitconfig is for?
When you set up a new code and uses Git to manage your version control, unless you are only reading a code of a repository that you cloned, you will have to add some configuration to start interacting with Git, which is mainly to tell Git “who you are” since Git’s configurations are per-user.
For this post, let’s use the infamous John Doe as an example. I believe would be easier if we do some role play/story tell this because we will be discussing emails, directory names, company names and I’d like to avoid any situation where could lead you – the reader – to trouble (i.e. wrong filename, etc).
Say John Doe wants to set up Git and have more than one email (personal and work) and John Doe wants to make sure that the commits are being referenced properly so that other people might reach out to him directly in case of questions with changes and all. The challenge is that the company that John Doe works for requires every employee to use their work-email so John Doe needs to pay attention to his commits.
For a complete guide on how to setup Git, I’d recommend the official guide, but to summarise, running the following commands will get you ready to go:
$ git config --global user.name "John Doe" $ git config --global user.email firstname.lastname@example.org
The command above tells Git about your identity which is represented by your name and your email. This is important because every Git commit uses this information.
--global flag means that these configurations will be stored in your
system which will be placed in a file located at
NOTE: without the flag
--global, the configuration provided will only be
applied to the current directory.
Checking Your Settings
You can check your current Git settings by typing
$ git config --list user.name=John Doe email@example.com
You also can verify the
$ cat ~/.gitconfig [user] name = John Doe email = firstname.lastname@example.org
Dealing with multiple configurations
Git’s API is big so I might not cover all options here, meaning there might be other ways to achieve the same thing wich is: be able to commit code using appropriate identifications without the hassle of manually change/check them.
The approach I’d like to share is to use
does is to append a new peace of config from a different path
conditionally so that way, if the conditions are met, an addition to the
existing Git config will be considered when interacting with Git. This is based
on which directory you’re on so in order to make the most use of
is recommended to keep all repositories within a single folder. For example:
- my-workspace/ - xyz/ - repository-1/ - repository-2/ (...)
Considering John Doe works at the company xyz and his email is email@example.com, let’s create a new file containing the additional info that should only be used for work-related repositories:
1. Create a new file:
$ touch ~/my-workspace/xyz/.gitconfig-work
2. Add the work-related info to the newly created file:
[user] name = John Doe email = firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Add conditional config to the global Git config
Now we need to tell Git that, if John Doe is within the work-specific directory
~/my-workspace/xyz/ on this case), Git should use a different configuration
To make that happen, let’s change the system Git config file located on
~/.gitconfig and edit it with the following code:
[user] name = John Doe email = email@example.com [includeIf "gitdir:~/my-workspace/xyz/"] path = ~/my-workspace/xyz/.gitconfig-work
Dealing with different signature keys
Git is cryptographically secure and John Doe does not mess around, he wants to make sure that every commit is from a trusted source. Git provides a mechanism where you can sign your commits but now that John Doe has different Git configurations, we need to find a way to also setup different signatures depending on the identification (i.e. one signature for his personal email, another signature for his work’s email).
Similarly to the steps, we followed to set up different configs based on the directory, let’s start:
1. Create a new file with “personal” config:
$ touch ~/my-workspace/side-projects/.gitconfig-personal
2. Add the signature (i.e. in our case, the signature is SECRET) to the newly created file:
[user] signingkey = SECRET
3. Add your work-related signature (i.e. SECRETWORK on this case) to your the work-related Git config
[user] name = John Doe email = firstname.lastname@example.org signingkey = SECRETWORK
4. Now let’s configure our global
~/.gitconfig with the following:
[includeIf "gitdir:~/my-workspace/xyz/"] path = ~/my-workspace/.gitconfig-work" [includeIf "gitdir:~/my-workspace/side-projects/"] path = ~/my-workspace/side-projects/.gitconfig-personal
5. All set!
Now, John Doe can commit freely between personal/work-related with ease!
Thank you for reading
I hope you enjoy this post, if you have any feedback or questions, hit me up on email@example.com, I’d be happy to hear your thoughts and be better next time!