LieAlbertTriAdrian / gitbot

programmatically make changes to many git repositories

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gitbot lets you programmatically make changes to many git repositories.


Clever has a service-oriented architecture where each service is its own git repository. This lets us quickly develop changes that are limited to a single service. However, there are some changes (see examples below) that need to be made across many services. gitbot takes the pain out of making changes across many repos.


gitbot takes in one argument: a path to a config file. The config file is YAML of the following form:

# repos is a list of repositories to examine, e.g. ""
# the format of each value here must be passable to `git clone`
# Basepath to prepend temp directories. Not including this option is okay and the program will assume ""
base_path: "path/to/prepend/tmpdir"
# change_cmds describes the programs that will be invoked on each repo.
# a change command must conform to the following rules:
# - it takes in one positional argument: the path to a repo to examine
# - it either
#   (a) makes changes to files within the repo, outputs a commit message to stdout, and exits with code 0
#   (b) exits with a nonzero exit code
  # command paths can either be absolute paths, or paths relative to the configuration file.
  - path: "/path/to/the/program"
    args: ["-a", "flag"]
# post_cmds is a list of programs to run on each repo if changes have been made.
# use post_cmds to do things like pushing branches to github, opening PRs, etc.
# post_cmds are run within the directory where a repository has been cloned.
# post_cmds are only run if the change command makes a change.
# post_cmds can assume that the change has been committed to HEAD.
# post_cmds are run with the same environment variables as `gitbot` itself.
  - path: "git"
    args: ["push", "origin", "HEAD:add-something-trivial"]
  - path: "hub"
    args: ["pull-request", "-m", "Added something trivial", "-b", "Clever:master", "-h", "Clever:add-something-trivial"]


  • Start small: run on a single repository to start.
  • Start with a single no-op post_cmd and run gitbot with GITBOT_LEAVE_TEMPDIRS=1. This lets you examine the side effects of the change command without any consequences.
  • Use git diff HEAD^ HEAD as a post_cmd to see the commit that your change generated.

Note about using hub

hub is very useful as a post_cmd, since it lets you open pull requests. However, it requires some setup.

To install hub, download a tarball from the hub releases page. After unpacking the tarball, navigate into the unpacked folder and run the install script: sudo ./install. This will copy the hub binary into /usr/local/bin/, man pages into /usr/local/share, etc. You can verify the installation by running hub -h or man hub.

In order for hub to work for private GitHub repositories, you will need to create a file ~/.config/hub that contains a GitHub oauth token:
- user: <your username>
  oauth_token: <provision one by visiting>
  protocol: https

You can verify the setup by attempting to clone a private repository: hub clone <user>/<private repo>.


gitbot can be downloaded from the releases page.

Example use cases

  • update the version of a dependency to a new version
  • run static analysis tools (e.g. linters)
  • add a license/ to many repos
  • optimize images
  • programmatically change a common configuration file present in many repos


Please view the dev-handbook for instructions.

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programmatically make changes to many git repositories

License:Apache License 2.0


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