chris13524 chris13524 - 1 month ago 5x
Less Question

Don't automatically terminate git diff if changes are on one page

If I run

git diff
, and my changes are less than one page, the command will automatically exit. This is undesired because this is in a script and I immediately call
git commit
afterwards. This causes single page changelogs to be missed.

My first thought would be to pipe the differences into
, but this causes no differences changelogs to display an empty screen (which requires a
press to exit). Here is the command I'm using:
git diff --color=always | less

Is there some better way to do this?


Here's a script to do the job:


num_lines=$(git diff | wc -l)

if [ $num_lines -eq 0 ]
  echo "No changes"
  git diff --color=always | less --raw-control-chars

Or, here's a one-liner originally based on @Phillip's comment, with some fixes thanks to @tripleee:

git diff --color=always | (IFS=$'\n' read -r A; if [ -n "$A" ]; then (printf '%s\n' "$A"; cat) | less --raw-control-chars; else echo "No changes"; fi)

The one-liner has the advantage of only running git diff once for better performance.

Some explanation per @tripleee's comment:

You should properly use read -r to not unintentionally mangle the first line. This will still mangle leading or trailing whitespace. You can fix that with IFS=$'\n' before read -r. echo might throw an error or behave strangely if the first line starts with a dash (which looks to echo like an option argument) -- use printf '%s\n' "$A" instead to avoid that.

In both cases, the --raw-control-chars option (short version -r) passed to less will cause the colors to show up correctly.