Ben Ben - 3 months ago 10
Git Question

How to track directories but not their files with Git?

I've recently started using Git and am having trouble with just one thing. How can I track directories without tracking their contents?

For example the site I'm working on allows uploads. I want to track the uploads directory so that it is created when branching, etc. but obviously not the files within it (test files whilst in develop branch or the real files in master).

In my .gitignore I have the following:

uploads/*.*


Have also tried (which ignores the whole directory):

uploads/


This directory may also contain sub directories (uploads/thumbs/ uploads/videos/) I would like to be able to track these but not their files.

Is this possible with Git? I've searched everywhere without finding an answer.

Answer

Git doesn't track directories, it tracks files, so to acheive this you need to track at least one file. So assuming your .gitignore file looks something like this:

upload/*

You can do this:

$ touch upload/.placeholder
$ git add -f upload/.placeholder

If you forget the -f you'll see:

$ git add upload/.placeholder
The following paths are ignored by one of your .gitignore files:
upload
Use -f if you really want to add them.
fatal: no files added

Then when you do git status you'll see:

# On branch master
#
# Initial commit
#
# Changes to be committed:
#   (use "git rm --cached ..." to unstage)
#
#   new file:   upload/.placeholder
#

Obviously you can then do:

$ touch upload/images/.placeholder
$ git add -f upload/images/.placeholder