Ignoring libraries in git

Far too often recently I've noticed people committing libraries and packages to their main application (website) repository.

If you use composer, bower, npm or any other dependency manager, then you don't need to commit the downloaded code.

For those unfamiliar, Composer is a PHP dependency manager. Think of it as Bower but for programmers. Where Bower uses the bower_components folder, Composer uses vendor as its installation directory.

For example, your project could contain a bower.json file, which lists the package dependencies - there is no need to commit the bower_packages folder. Other developers would run bower install (or whatever package manager you're using) to download the latest version of the packages within the version constraints defined in the config file.

The other culprit is the php error_log this is a reference for the developer at the time, and is not welcome in a git repository.

As a guide - this is our base .gitignore file:

# Metadata files
# Frontend
# Composer
# Misc.
# CMS assets

It includes minified files (they should be compiled and copied on deployment to avoid merge conflicts), .sass-cache (again, this is for the developer currently developing), the robots.txt file (so that the staging and live servers can have different robots files and standard mac files.

Think about what you commit and make sure you are only adding files to the repository that need to be there.

Handy Links #

If you're not sure what files and folders should be in your .gitignore file, then using this awesome .gitignore website you can build up your file based on the technologies using.

In the npm faqs, they share their opinion on committing the node_modules directory; "Should I check my node_modules folder into git?"

Composer have shared their opinion on the matter: Should I commit the dependencies in my vendor directory?

Lastly, Addy Osmani shares his opinions on checking in dependencies

Mike Street

Written by Mike Street

Mike is a front-end developer from Brighton, UK. He spends his time writing, cycling and coding. You can find Mike on Twitter.