Ignore files without using .gitignore

Apr 24, 2017

Git

Problem

I discovered a cool aspect about git while writing some scripts today. I had written a bunch of a scripts for myself and wanted to keep. However, I didn’t want to push them, I just wanted to keep them locally. I also didn’t want to add a bunch of random personal file paths into the .gitignore file.

This is likely to happen to any developer. You could have written some test or automation scripts that you want to keep around but wouldn’t necessarily want to commit directly into a shared repository.

You also wouldn’t want to pollute your .gitignore file with paths to files only you have access to. This could end up leading to confusion among your current or future colleagues.

Solution

Thankfully git offers a simple solution to getting around this issue through the use of the .git/info/excludes file.

The .git/info/excludes file works the same exact way as your .gitignore file except it isn’t tracked by git and exists only within your local repo. This is perfect if you want to prevent git from tracking personal files/directories without changing your .gitignore file.

Final note

If you haven’t had the chance to delve into the .git directory yet, you should peak around. This is the source for all of git’s magic and if you take the time to look through this directory you’ll come out with a better understanding of Git's plumbing and how it actually works. This could save you from a bunch of wasted time and needless frustration in the future.

XKCD Git

A handsome man.

I'm Wesley. I live in Boston and work on Wonderment.

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