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- Command-line interface conventions
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git-sparse-checkout - Initialize and modify the sparse-checkout configuration, which reduces the checkout to a set of paths given by a list of patterns.
Initialize and modify the sparse-checkout configuration, which reduces the checkout to a set of paths given by a list of patterns.
THIS COMMAND IS EXPERIMENTAL. ITS BEHAVIOR, AND THE BEHAVIOR OF OTHER COMMANDS IN THE PRESENCE OF SPARSE-CHECKOUTS, WILL LIKELY CHANGE IN THE FUTURE.
Describe the patterns in the sparse-checkout file.
core.sparseCheckoutsetting. If the sparse-checkout file does not exist, then populate it with patterns that match every file in the root directory and no other directories, then will remove all directories tracked by Git. Add patterns to the sparse-checkout file to repopulate the working directory.
To avoid interfering with other worktrees, it first enables the
extensions.worktreeConfigsetting and makes sure to set the
core.sparseCheckoutsetting in the worktree-specific config file.
--coneis provided, the
core.sparseCheckoutConesetting is also set, allowing for better performance with a limited set of patterns (see CONE PATTERN SET below).
Write a set of patterns to the sparse-checkout file, as given as a list of arguments following the set subcommand. Update the working directory to match the new patterns. Enable the core.sparseCheckout config setting if it is not already enabled.
--stdinoption is provided, the patterns are read from standard in as a newline-delimited list instead of from the arguments.
core.sparseCheckoutConeis enabled, the input list is considered a list of directories instead of sparse-checkout patterns. The command writes patterns to the sparse-checkout file to include all files contained in those directories (recursively) as well as files that are siblings of ancestor directories. The input format matches the output of
git ls-tree --name-only. This includes interpreting pathnames that begin with a double quote (") as C-style quoted strings.
Update the sparse-checkout file to include additional patterns. By default, these patterns are read from the command-line arguments, but they can be read from stdin using the
core.sparseCheckoutConeis enabled, the given patterns are interpreted as directory names as in the set subcommand.
Reapply the sparsity pattern rules to paths in the working tree. Commands like merge or rebase can materialize paths to do their work (e.g. in order to show you a conflict), and other sparse-checkout commands might fail to sparsify an individual file (e.g. because it has unstaged changes or conflicts). In such cases, it can make sense to run
git sparse-checkout reapplylater after cleaning up affected paths (e.g. resolving conflicts, undoing or committing changes, etc.).
core.sparseCheckoutconfig setting, and restore the working directory to include all files. Leaves the sparse-checkout file intact so a later git sparse-checkout init command may return the working directory to the same state.
"Sparse checkout" allows populating the working directory sparsely. It uses the skip-worktree bit (see git-update-index) to tell Git whether a file in the working directory is worth looking at. If the skip-worktree bit is set, then the file is ignored in the working directory. Git will not populate the contents of those files, which makes a sparse checkout helpful when working in a repository with many files, but only a few are important to the current user.
$GIT_DIR/info/sparse-checkout file is used to define the
skip-worktree reference bitmap. When Git updates the working
directory, it updates the skip-worktree bits in the index based
on this file. The files matching the patterns in the file will
appear in the working directory, and the rest will not.
To enable the sparse-checkout feature, run
git sparse-checkout init to
initialize a simple sparse-checkout file and enable the
config setting. Then, run
git sparse-checkout set to modify the patterns in
the sparse-checkout file.
To repopulate the working directory with all files, use the
git sparse-checkout disable command.
By default, the sparse-checkout file uses the same syntax as
$GIT_DIR/info/sparse-checkout is usually used to specify what
files are included, you can also specify what files are not included,
using negative patterns. For example, to remove the file
The full pattern set allows for arbitrary pattern matches and complicated
inclusion/exclusion rules. These can result in O(N*M) pattern matches when
updating the index, where N is the number of patterns and M is the number
of paths in the index. To combat this performance issue, a more restricted
pattern set is allowed when
core.sparseCheckoutCone is enabled.
The accepted patterns in the cone pattern set are:
Recursive: All paths inside a directory are included.
Parent: All files immediately inside a directory are included.
In addition to the above two patterns, we also expect that all files in the root directory are included. If a recursive pattern is added, then all leading directories are added as parent patterns.
By default, when running
git sparse-checkout init, the root directory is
added as a parent pattern. At this point, the sparse-checkout file contains
the following patterns:
This says "include everything in root, but nothing two levels below root."
When in cone mode, the
git sparse-checkout set subcommand takes a list of
directories instead of a list of sparse-checkout patterns. In this mode,
git sparse-checkout set A/B/C sets the directory
a recursive pattern, the directories
A/B are added as parent
patterns. The resulting sparse-checkout file is now
/* !/*/ /A/ !/A/*/ /A/B/ !/A/B/*/ /A/B/C/
Here, order matters, so the negative patterns are overridden by the positive patterns that appear lower in the file.
core.sparseCheckoutCone=true, then Git will parse the sparse-checkout file
expecting patterns of these types. Git will warn if the patterns do not match.
If the patterns do match the expected format, then Git will use faster hash-
based algorithms to compute inclusion in the sparse-checkout.
In the cone mode case, the
git sparse-checkout list subcommand will list the
directories that define the recursive patterns. For the example sparse-checkout
file above, the output is as follows:
$ git sparse-checkout list A/B/C
core.ignoreCase=true, then the pattern-matching algorithm will use a
case-insensitive check. This corrects for case mismatched filenames in the
git sparse-checkout set command to reflect the expected cone in the working
If your repository contains one or more submodules, then submodules
are populated based on interactions with the
git submodule command.
git submodule init -- <path> will ensure the submodule
<path> is present, while
git submodule deinit [-f] -- <path>
will remove the files for the submodule at
<path> (including any
untracked files, uncommitted changes, and unpushed history). Similar
to how sparse-checkout removes files from the working tree but still
leaves entries in the index, deinitialized submodules are removed from
the working directory but still have an entry in the index.
Since submodules may have unpushed changes or untracked files,
removing them could result in data loss. Thus, changing sparse
inclusion/exclusion rules will not cause an already checked out
submodule to be removed from the working copy. Said another way, just
checkout will not cause submodules to be automatically removed or
initialized even when switching between branches that remove or add
sparse-checkout to reduce or expand the scope of
"interesting" files will not cause submodules to be automatically
deinitialized or initialized either.
Further, the above facts mean that there are multiple reasons that
"tracked" files might not be present in the working copy: sparsity
pattern application from sparse-checkout, and submodule initialization
state. Thus, commands like
git grep that work on tracked files in
the working copy may return results that are limited by either or both
of these restrictions.
Part of the git suite