Extending Git: add a custom command

Stu is the guy sitting next to me in the office, and besides being a top notch developer is also our release manager, that is, the one that takes care of the whole process of releasing a new version of our website every week.

I don’t recall the exact question he asked me first hour in the morning today, but it involved extending Git to make the releasing process a little bit easier. It is actually a very easy to do, so keep reading.

Let’s define a release workflow before going deep into subject. What we would like to have is a new command called validate that will push the master branch and delete a remote one, passed as a parameter. It will be executed after rebasing the target branch against master, so the idea is to go from

git checkout master
git merge target_branch
git push origin master
git push origin :target_branch


git checkout master
git validate target_branch

It might not seem like a big improvement, but when you are doing that all the time, believe me it is.

Basically, the only thing that needs to be done is to write a shell script named accordingly. Yeah, that’s it, I was as surprised as you probably are.

The rule is simple, if you want to create a validate command, the script will be called git-validate and must be placed in one of the folders present in your PATH.

Make sure that you give execution permissions to the script!


test -z $branch && echo "branch required." 1>&2 && exit 1

git checkout master
git merge $branch
git push origin master
git push origin :$branch

You are not limited to shell scripting when it comes to defining your own git commands. Actually, you can use a more powerful language (such as Ruby) if you want, therefore being only limited only by your imagination and coding skills.