Git: Hooks run “npm install” on checkout

When working on a project you usually install various packages from npm.
Of course these packages are maintained and updated, adding more features and security fixes, and stability patches.

One person on your team should run npm outdated once per week to see what all has been updated and test if you can integrate the packages into your project.
Thus the package.json is updated and causes a grand problem for all other developers on the project. If a package has major breaking changes the code will need to be adjusted, however that code will not run on the other develoepers environment. The other developers working on the project they have to run npm update to install the missing / outdated packages in their environment.

The solution to this problem are “git hooks”, essentially git can execute code on specific events, like before commiting your code, or pre push etc.
git hooks. For my use case I would like to run npm update after a developer checks out from the git repository, this is the event “post-checkout”.

Native Git Hooks

To create a git hook you need to add a file in your project called .git/hooks/post-checkout (On linux add the executable bit with chmod +x)

You will test this and say, yes this works as intended – lets commit it to the repository. – Now you will discover that you cannot commit files in .git to the repository.
In fact git does not allow you to do this, due to security concerns as git hooks can execute any shell script.

The work around for this issue is to simply add it into a folder called git-hooks/ and tell the developers to copy the file when they set up their dev environment.


As always if there is a Problem for development with javascript there is a npm package to solve the problem.
Husky uses the package.json to define the scripts that are executed via git hooks.
Simply Install Husky
npm install husky -D

Then edit the package.json:

The Husky solution would also allow you to execute your own js file, maybe also doing some cleanup of files or running tests etc.

Aptana / Eclipse: Set up Git Repository (Github, Bitbucket)

If you code for yourself or with a team you should be using a code repository. However getting started you need a dedicated server, installation etc. or you take the more convenient route and use one of the many repository providers.

Step 1: Get a Repository

For small teams you can get free Repositories. The two most popular providers are:

  • Github.com: Allows you to host as many open source projects as you like. (private projects cost a monthly fee)
  • Bitbucket.com: Allows a small team to host private projects. (As the team gets bigger you got to pay a monthly fee)

Larger teams, hopefully have the budget to pay for these awesome services.

Step 2: Set up your SSH key

Eclipse and Aptana Studio have Git already integrated. Git uses an encrypted connection to transmit data. You need to provide a SSH keypair.

Check for existing SSH keys

  1. Go to the directory “C:\Users\<username>\.ssh”
  2. Check if the files “id_rsa” and “id_rsa.pub” exist

Generate new SSH keys

If the two files already exist, you can skip this step.

  1. Open git-bash.bat (either by using windows search or navigate to C:\Users\%USRNAME%\Documents\Aptana Studio 3 Workspace\.metadata\.plugins\com.aptana.portablegit.win32\git-bash.bat)
  2. Enter the following command using your correct email-address.
    ssh-keygen -t rsa -C "name@email.com"
  3. For the first question, just press enter.
    Generating public/private rsa key pair.
    # Enter file in which to save the key (/c/Users/you/.ssh/id_rsa):
  4. Now enter a passphrase for your key (Password Generator) and confirm the password

Add SSH key to Repository

  1. Go to the directory “C:\Users\<username>\.ssh”
  2. Open the file ‘id_rsa.pub’ in a texteditor
  3. Copy the entire contents to the Clipboard (Ctrl-C)
  4. Open a web browser and login to github.com or bitbucket.com
    • (Github) Click on the “Edit my profile” button on the top right
    • (Bitbucket) Click on your Avatar > “Manage Account”
  5. On the left side navigate to “SSH Keys”
  6. Click “Add SSH key”
  7. Give the key a title (like username with the computer name) and paste the key into the form

Test Connection

  1. Open git-bash.bat
  2. Use the command
    • (Github) ssh git@github.com
    • (Bitbucket) ssh git@bitbucket.com

If everything went well you will get a message like:

Hi username! You’ve successfully authenticated, but GitHub does not provide shell access.

Note: At first I had difficulties to establish a connection. If you are having problems, check if the keys are in the right directory and have the proper names id_rsa and id_rsa.pub.

Source/Further information: Github – https://help.github.com/articles/generating-ssh-keys

Step 3: Set up Aptana/Eclipse

The initial setup is now complete you can now use Eclipse/Aptana to access your Repository.

New/Existing Project

To start using git create or use an existing project.

  1. In the Project Manager, Right-click on the project and select Team > Share Project…Screenshot - 11_19_2013 , 8_43_54 AM
  2. Select the Project, click Create and then Finish.Screenshot - 11_19_2013 , 8_45_51 AM

You now have a local git repository. You now can “Push” the repository to github/bitbucket.

  1. First create a Repository on the website and copy the address of the repository
  2. In the Project Manager, Right-click on the project and select Team > Remotes > Add RemoteScreenshot - 11_19_2013 , 8_52_00 AM
  3. Give the remote a name and paste the address of the repository
  4. Finally push your initial commit with Team > Push

Retrieve from Repository

If you already have a Project stored in your repository and want to retrieve it.

  1. Go to File > Import 
  2. Select Git > Git Repository as New ProjectScreenshot - 11_19_2013 , 8_31_50 AM
  3. Enter the URI of your repository:
    • (Github) git@github.com:<username>/<repository>
    • (Bitbucket) git@bitbucket.com:<username>/<repository>

Use your Repository

Here are some tips on using the repository (well they are based on my experience using SVN, but the same principles apply):

Commit as often as possible

The beauty of subversioning is that you can figure out step by step what parts of your code created the error. When working in a team, always make sure that the entire code is correct and valid and still be compiled/executed.

Write proper commit messages

Always comment what you are currently committing. It helps to rollback to a specific point, and it is a documentation of your work.

Regular updates

When working in a team regularly check that you have the newest version of the code available by doing a “Pull”.

Best Practices

A lot of experts have articles on how to use git effectively in a team. Read up on them and see if they are suitable for your team.  Check out this article about Git Best practices.

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