Keep Repos Clean with Global .gitignore and a Scratch Directory
There are times I need to write scripts, save some JSON files, or do other things in a repo that create files that shouldn’t be git-controlled. I’ll often create these files when doing exploratory work or analysis on a codebase. I know there’s
git stash and other mechanisms for tracking these files, but I don’t really need them to be tracked. I came up with a different solution that’s worked really well for me. In any repo I’m working in, I create what I call a “scratch directory” to hold these files. I happen to use the naming convention
_ray because the underscore keeps the directory at the top of directory listings and the rest makes it pretty clear that I created it 😁 I ensure these scratch directories are never checked into git by creating a global .gitignore file for the directory
_ray. The steps to do so are pretty simple.
With that, I can add any and all files I want to any directory named
_ray at the root of a git repo. Child directories named
_ray would still be included; to include all child directories, remove the
/ from the front of the ignore pattern. Also, these commands only work on Mac/Linux. They’ll have to be adjusted if you’re using Windows. Hope this was helpful!
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