Provided by: git-man_1.7.9.5-1_all bug


       gitcli - git command line interface and conventions




       This manual describes the convention used throughout git CLI.

       Many commands take revisions (most often "commits", but sometimes "tree-ish", depending on
       the context and command) and paths as their arguments. Here are the rules:

       ·   Revisions come first and then paths. E.g. in git diff v1.0 v2.0 arch/x86
           include/asm-x86, v1.0 and v2.0 are revisions and arch/x86 and include/asm-x86 are

       ·   When an argument can be misunderstood as either a revision or a path, they can be
           disambiguated by placing -- between them. E.g.  git diff -- HEAD is, "I have a file
           called HEAD in my work tree. Please show changes between the version I staged in the
           index and what I have in the work tree for that file". not "show difference between
           the HEAD commit and the work tree as a whole". You can say git diff HEAD -- to ask for
           the latter.

       ·   Without disambiguating --, git makes a reasonable guess, but errors out and asking you
           to disambiguate when ambiguous. E.g. if you have a file called HEAD in your work tree,
           git diff HEAD is ambiguous, and you have to say either git diff HEAD -- or git diff --
           HEAD to disambiguate.

       When writing a script that is expected to handle random user-input, it is a good practice
       to make it explicit which arguments are which by placing disambiguating -- at appropriate

       Here are the rules regarding the "flags" that you should follow when you are scripting

       ·   it’s preferred to use the non dashed form of git commands, which means that you should
           prefer git foo to git-foo.

       ·   splitting short options to separate words (prefer git foo -a -b to git foo -ab, the
           latter may not even work).

       ·   when a command line option takes an argument, use the sticked form. In other words,
           write git foo -oArg instead of git foo -o Arg for short options, and git foo
           --long-opt=Arg instead of git foo --long-opt Arg for long options. An option that
           takes optional option-argument must be written in the sticked form.

       ·   when you give a revision parameter to a command, make sure the parameter is not
           ambiguous with a name of a file in the work tree. E.g. do not write git log -1 HEAD
           but write git log -1 HEAD --; the former will not work if you happen to have a file
           called HEAD in the work tree.


       From the git 1.5.4 series and further, many git commands (not all of them at the time of
       the writing though) come with an enhanced option parser.

       Here is an exhaustive list of the facilities provided by this option parser.

   Magic Options
       Commands which have the enhanced option parser activated all understand a couple of magic
       command line options:

           gives a pretty printed usage of the command.

               $ git describe -h
               usage: git describe [options] <committish>*

                   --contains            find the tag that comes after the commit
                   --debug               debug search strategy on stderr
                   --all                 use any ref in .git/refs
                   --tags                use any tag in .git/refs/tags
                   --abbrev [<n>]        use <n> digits to display SHA-1s
                   --candidates <n>      consider <n> most recent tags (default: 10)

           Some git commands take options that are only used for plumbing or that are deprecated,
           and such options are hidden from the default usage. This option gives the full list of

   Negating options
       Options with long option names can be negated by prefixing --no-. For example, git branch
       has the option --track which is on by default. You can use --no-track to override that
       behaviour. The same goes for --color and --no-color.

   Aggregating short options
       Commands that support the enhanced option parser allow you to aggregate short options.
       This means that you can for example use git rm -rf or git clean -fdx.

   Separating argument from the option
       You can write the mandatory option parameter to an option as a separate word on the
       command line. That means that all the following uses work:

           $ git foo --long-opt=Arg
           $ git foo --long-opt Arg
           $ git foo -oArg
           $ git foo -o Arg

       However, this is NOT allowed for switches with an optional value, where the sticked form
       must be used:

           $ git describe --abbrev HEAD     # correct
           $ git describe --abbrev=10 HEAD  # correct
           $ git describe --abbrev 10 HEAD  # NOT WHAT YOU MEANT


       Many commands that can work on files in the working tree and/or in the index can take
       --cached and/or --index options. Sometimes people incorrectly think that, because the
       index was originally called cache, these two are synonyms. They are not — these two
       options mean very different things.

       ·   The --cached option is used to ask a command that usually works on files in the
           working tree to only work with the index. For example, git grep, when used without a
           commit to specify from which commit to look for strings in, usually works on files in
           the working tree, but with the --cached option, it looks for strings in the index.

       ·   The --index option is used to ask a command that usually works on files in the working
           tree to also affect the index. For example, git stash apply usually merges changes
           recorded in a stash to the working tree, but with the --index option, it also merges
           changes to the index as well.

       git apply command can be used with --cached and --index (but not at the same time).
       Usually the command only affects the files in the working tree, but with --index, it
       patches both the files and their index entries, and with --cached, it modifies only the
       index entries.

       See also and for further information.


       Part of the git(1) suite