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Ignoring tracked files

From: Git Essential Training

Video: Ignoring tracked files

In this movie, we are going to learn how to tell Git to ignore tracked files, that is files that has already started tracking, we want to ignore them after the fact. When we were looking gitignore previously, we were looking mainly at ignoring new files. So a new file is out of the repo, we don't want to track it, so we tell Git that it ought to ignore it rather than continue to show it to us. But you should note that Git will not ignore a file that was already tracked before a rule was added to the gitignore file, telling it that it ought to ignore it.

Ignoring tracked files

In this movie, we are going to learn how to tell Git to ignore tracked files, that is files that has already started tracking, we want to ignore them after the fact. When we were looking gitignore previously, we were looking mainly at ignoring new files. So a new file is out of the repo, we don't want to track it, so we tell Git that it ought to ignore it rather than continue to show it to us. But you should note that Git will not ignore a file that was already tracked before a rule was added to the gitignore file, telling it that it ought to ignore it.

If that's the case Git will still try to keep track of the file and the file must first be untracked. Let me show you what I mean. Let's say that I have a new file here, tempfile2.txt, I'm going to drop this into my working directory. If I now do git status, you will see that it comes up and tells me that now this new file has been added. Now before we do a gitignore rule for it, what we want to do is commit it to our repository. So let's do git add tempfile2 and then git commit with the message, "Adding tempfile2.txt to repo before ignoring it".

Okay, so it's now been added to our repository, git status, the working directory is clean, and we look and here is the file. So we've just committed a file. That's all we have done, just a basic commit. Now that Git is tracking the file, let's tell it that we wanted to ignore changes to this file in the future. So let's open up our gitignore, so if you remember that's right here in the root of the project directory. We can open this file up and edit in a number of ways, because it has the dot in front of it, it's not visible here from this window, which makes it a little bit tricky.

So I am going to use the Command Line, and I am going to use nano which is a Unix program, that will let me edit, gitignore and just right here below tempfile.txt let's add a new line tempfile2.txt. Ctrl+X to Exit, Y for Yes to save changes and Return to keep the file name. So now it's been told that it ought to ignore it, and of course gitignore shows up now on our status list is something that has edits that needs to be committed to the repository. Let's not do that just yet.

Instead let's go over here to tempfile2, and let's make an edit. This is the second temporary file. If we come here, say git status, notice that even though we told it to ignore it, it did not ignore our changes, it's still kept track of our changes, because it's a tracked file, so it still sees it. And it doesn't matter if we were to have committed gitignore to the repository first or not, that's not why it's doing this, it's because Git still keeps track of these tracked files. Instead, what we have to do is tell Git to stop tracking it.

One way we could do that is just to remove it, right? Git remove that would do it, git remove tempfile2.txt. It would remove it from the repository, and it would remove our version, it would do both. What if we didn't want to remove our version? What if this was a log file? Of what if it's a set of images or something or Photoshop files that we want, and we want to keep on ours but we want to tell it, you know what, stop tracking it? We may even want to leave it in the repository so that it stays in the repository for other people to download.

We just want to ignore changes that happened to it after that, right? That certainly might be the case with like a log file or something. We want to have a placeholder for the log file that everyone can have, but we don't necessarily want to have changes to that log file be tracked. Well, what we want to do here instead of just remove is a remove with the cached option. So --cached, that's going to tell it to remove this file from the staging index, not from the repository, just from the staging index.

That will cause the file to stop being tracked. It will still leave the copy in the repo, it will still leave the copy in my working directory. It's just going to take it out of the index. So let's go ahead and hit Return, it will say that it removed it, I do git status now, you will see it comes up and says that it was deleted, that's the commit that it wants to make is to delete the file. However, if I come back over here, you will see that the file is still here, it has not deleted it. So let's go ahead and add our gitignore file, so now both of those are ready to go, here they are, ready to be committed.

And let's git commit -m, and we are going to say, "Remove tempfile2.txt from staging index" and then hit Return. Now if we do git status, we will see that the working directory is clean, but it is still listed here in my directory. It did not get rid of it. We make more changes to it, let's open it up, let's say These changes will not be tracked anymore.

Save it, close it up, git status, and now it's not being tracked anymore. So if you want Git to ignore files that are already being tracked, but you don't want to remove them completely, then what you need to do is not only ignore it, but tell Git that it ought to also remove them from the staging index or the cache.

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This video is part of

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Git Essential Training

89 video lessons · 29270 viewers

Kevin Skoglund
Author

 
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  1. 2m 46s
    1. Introduction
      1m 7s
    2. How to use the exercise files
      1m 39s
  2. 20m 24s
    1. Understanding version control
      4m 48s
    2. The history of Git
      7m 58s
    3. About distributed version control
      5m 4s
    4. Who should use Git?
      2m 34s
  3. 26m 12s
    1. Installing Git on a Mac
      3m 44s
    2. Installing Git on Windows
      5m 37s
    3. Installing Git on Linux
      1m 30s
    4. Configuring Git
      7m 29s
    5. Exploring Git auto-completion
      5m 35s
    6. Using Git help
      2m 17s
  4. 15m 49s
    1. Initializing a repository
      1m 58s
    2. Understanding where Git files are stored
      2m 34s
    3. Performing your first commit
      2m 4s
    4. Writing commit messages
      5m 22s
    5. Viewing the commit log
      3m 51s
  5. 17m 44s
    1. Exploring the three-trees architecture
      3m 57s
    2. The Git workflow
      3m 15s
    3. Using hash values (SHA-1)
      4m 7s
    4. Working with the HEAD pointer
      6m 25s
  6. 25m 52s
    1. Adding files
      5m 59s
    2. Editing files
      3m 56s
    3. Viewing changes with diff
      3m 35s
    4. Viewing only staged changes
      2m 28s
    5. Deleting files
      5m 29s
    6. Moving and renaming files
      4m 25s
  7. 19m 18s
    1. Introducing the Explore California web site
      2m 2s
    2. Initializing Git
      3m 48s
    3. Editing the support phone number
      6m 20s
    4. Editing the backpack file name and links
      7m 8s
  8. 38m 45s
    1. Undoing working directory changes
      3m 49s
    2. Unstaging files
      2m 37s
    3. Amending commits
      4m 50s
    4. Retrieving old versions
      4m 7s
    5. Reverting a commit
      3m 12s
    6. Using reset to undo commits
      3m 44s
    7. Demonstrating a soft reset
      4m 8s
    8. Demonstrating a mixed reset
      4m 7s
    9. Demonstrating a hard reset
      5m 8s
    10. Removing untracked files
      3m 3s
  9. 27m 22s
    1. Using .gitignore files
      8m 23s
    2. Understanding what to ignore
      4m 47s
    3. Ignoring files globally
      4m 49s
    4. Ignoring tracked files
      5m 26s
    5. Tracking empty directories
      3m 57s
  10. 26m 51s
    1. Referencing commits
      4m 52s
    2. Exploring tree listings
      3m 46s
    3. Getting more from the commit log
      7m 38s
    4. Viewing commits
      4m 4s
    5. Comparing commits
      6m 31s
  11. 39m 35s
    1. Branching overview
      4m 56s
    2. Viewing and creating branches
      2m 57s
    3. Switching branches
      2m 58s
    4. Creating and switching branches
      4m 53s
    5. Switching branches with uncommitted changes
      3m 26s
    6. Comparing branches
      4m 28s
    7. Renaming branches
      2m 28s
    8. Deleting branches
      4m 18s
    9. Configuring the command prompt to show the branch
      9m 11s
  12. 28m 32s
    1. Merging code
      3m 11s
    2. Using fast-forward merge vs. true merge
      6m 49s
    3. Merging conflicts
      7m 26s
    4. Resolving merge conflicts
      7m 5s
    5. Exploring strategies to reduce merge conflicts
      4m 1s
  13. 14m 34s
    1. Saving changes in the stash
      4m 5s
    2. Viewing stashed changes
      2m 39s
    3. Retrieving stashed changes
      4m 24s
    4. Deleting stashed changes
      3m 26s
  14. 1h 5m
    1. Using local and remote repositories
      6m 38s
    2. Setting up a GitHub account
      5m 39s
    3. Adding a remote repository
      4m 0s
    4. Creating a remote branch
      4m 3s
    5. Cloning a remote repository
      4m 26s
    6. Tracking remote branches
      4m 5s
    7. Pushing changes to a remote repository
      5m 8s
    8. Fetching changes from a remote repository
      5m 47s
    9. Merging in fetched changes
      4m 50s
    10. Checking out remote branches
      3m 22s
    11. Pushing to an updated remote branch
      2m 6s
    12. Deleting a remote branch
      3m 8s
    13. Enabling collaboration
      3m 40s
    14. A collaboration workflow
      8m 43s
  15. 16m 23s
    1. Setting up aliases for common commands
      5m 14s
    2. Using SSH keys for remote login
      2m 56s
    3. Exploring integrated development environments
      1m 4s
    4. Exploring graphical user interfaces
      4m 32s
    5. Understanding Git hosting
      2m 37s
  16. 55s
    1. Goodbye
      55s

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