Using Git hooks to add JIRA issue to commit message

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A short and simple guide on what are git hooks and how we can use them to prepend a JIRA issue to the commit messages.

TL;DR

Create global hooks folder

ls ~/.git-hooks || mkdir ~/.git-hooks
  1. Copy the following script to ~/.git-hooks directory, under the name prepare-commit-msg

2. Edit the ExcludedBranches and IncludedOrigins according to your project’s requirements.

3. Set the script with execution permission and configure ~./git-hooks as the global git hooks folder

chmod a+x ~/.git-hooks/prepare-commit-msg
git config --global core.hooksPath '~/.git-hooks'

The outcome is a commit message for some commit message should look like > [ISSUE-12] — some commit message

Git hooks

So, what are a git hooks ??

Hooks are programs you can place in a hooks directory to trigger actions at certain points in git’s execution.

simply saying hooks let you connect to the git execution in certain predefined points, and execute some action (script/software) that you create.

Types of hooks

The list of available hooks to use and their parameters can be found at git hooks.

Git hooks can be configure as either global or local.

  • local — will exist in the repo itself and will be applied only for that specific git repository.
  • global — will exist at a shared location on the workstation and will be applied to all git repos that are on this workstation.

Let's get started

For the editing of the commit message we will use prepare-commit-msg hook, which is triggered by a commit, and provides 3 parameters:

  • Name of the file that contains the commit log message
  • Source of the commit message(e.g: message, commit, template, merge, squash).
  • The commit’s SHA1

Important note: A non-zero exit means a failure of the hook and aborts the commit. It should not be used as replacement for pre-commit hook. (aka avoid non-zero exit in this hook)

Creating our hook

in order to create a hook for a git repository we need to check if there is a hooks folder and if not, create one

ls .git/ | grep hooks/ || mkdir .git/hooks

Next, we need to create the hooks file and edit it: (the following command will create a file and open it in xcode)

touch .git/hooks/prepare-commit-msg && open -a xcode .git/hooks/prepare-commit-msg

once the file is created, copy the content of the script, and edit the ExcludedBranches and IncludedOrigins according to your project’s requirements.

In order for the script to run we need to make sure it executable permissions, to do so run: (adds executable permissions to all uses for the hook)

chmod a+x .git/hooks/prepare-commit-msg

What happens here?

we read the file from the provided parameters

messageFile = ARGV[0]

Then, we run the following checks before apply the change:

  • Is the repo configured in the whitelisted git origins?(IncludedOrigins) - the idea is that we want to apply the hooks only for certain central repos that we work with (and not to private ones for example)
  • Is the current head branch excluded?(ExcludedBranches)- is the branch that i am commiting to is in the list of excluded branches?
  • Does the branch contains a JIRA issue?
  • Does the commit message already contains a JIRA issue?

Then we apply the change by modifying the text however we like (in this case add the jira ticket prefix)and write the modified text back to the file.

modifiedText = "[#{match.to_s}] - #{text}" 
File.write(messageFile, modifiedText)

Making the hook global

Say we don’t want this behaviour for all the of the repos from a certain origin (configurable in the script), and we do not want to set this script for every repo, as it is tedious, and the hooks folder cannot be tracked by git (more on that here), here comes in global git setting, which are applied to all repos on the workstation.

To get it going simply create a custom hooks directory, save the script we created (with the same naming) to the directory and configure it as the global hooks directory

ls ~/.git-hooks || mkdir ~/.git-hooks

Now, copy the script to the newly created `~/.git-hooks` folder and let’s configure the folder as the global git hooks folder, and provide the script with executable permissions

git config --global core.hooksPath '~/.git-hooks'
chmod a+x ~/.git-hooks/prepare-commit-msg

And that is it.

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iOS developer by day, iOS developer by night (one does not simply stop developing an app)

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