[Home] Using git submodules

Goal

Explain how to use git to track and update submodules of a project.

For example, if I use ahr (AbstractHttpRequest) in a project, I want to track it so that I can always use the latest version of ahr with my project.

Example:

Note: The official-ish submodule tuts that come up first on Google are misleading - they're written in reverse... ish...

Note: You should first create your parent module and then add your child modules.

Note: You should add your modules by web URL, not paths!

Let's say I'm at home and adding a submodule, then I go to work and I want to pull the changes. When I go back home, the submodule has been updated again and I want the new updates.

node-mediatags is dependent on mediatags.

[Home] Clone node-mediatags

cd ~/
git clone git@github.com:coolaj86/node-mediatags.git
cd node-mediatags

[Home] Add mediatags as a git submodule

mkdir -p vendor
git submodule add git@github.com:coolaj86/mtags.git vendor/mediatags
git status
# On branch master
# Changes to be committed:
#   (use "git reset HEAD <file>..." to unstage)
#
# new file:   .gitmodules
# new file:   vendor/mediatags
#
git commit -m "added mediatags as submodule"
git push origin master

[LappyX64] Now on a box which has never had this repository

git clone git@github.com:coolaj86/node-mediatags.git
git submodule init
git submodule update

[Work] Now on another box where the repo already exists I'll pull in the changes

git pull origin master

remote: Counting objects: 5, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (3/3), done.
remote: Total 4 (delta 1), reused 0 (delta 0)
Unpacking objects: 100% (4/4), done.
From git@github.com:coolaj86/node-mediatags
 * branch            master     -> FETCH_HEAD
Updating 40f908f..2898061
Fast forward
 .gitmodules      |    3 +++
 vendor/mediatags |    1 +
 2 files changed, 4 insertions(+), 0 deletions(-)
 create mode 100644 .gitmodules
 create mode 160000 vendor/mediatags

ls vendor/mediatags
# empty
git submodule init
git submodule update

[Home] Now I'll update the submodule in its proper repository

cd ~/mediatags
git pull origin master
# edit README.md
git add README.md
git commit -m "updated README"
git push origin master

[Home] Now I'll update the module on which the submodule depends

Here's the counter-inuitive part. git submodule update doesn't update the submodule. Instead, you have to go into the To update a git submodule, you

First I update the parent module, then the child

cd ~/node-mediatags
git pull origin master
From github.com:coolaj86/node-mediatags
 * branch            master     -> FETCH_HEAD
Already up-to-date.
git submodule update
# does nothing, even though the module has changed

cd ~/node-mediatags/vendor/mediatags
git checkout master
git pull

Note: You must not using a trailing slash '/' after the submodule name

cd ~/node-mediatags
git status
git add vendor/mediatags # DO NOT using a trailing slash '/'
git commit -m "added latest mediatags"
git push origin master

[Laptop] now I'll pull the submodule changes from yet another machine

This time the remote changes in the submodule are pulled in as expected.

cd ~/node-mediatags
git pull origin master
remote: Counting objects: 5, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (2/2), done.
remote: Total 3 (delta 1), reused 0 (delta 0)
Unpacking objects: 100% (3/3), done.
From github.com:coolaj86/node-mediatags
 * branch            master     -> FETCH_HEAD
Updating 2898061..6ca455e
Fast-forward
 vendor/mediatags |    2 +-
 1 files changed, 1 insertions(+), 1 deletions(-)

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blog comments powered by Disqus Updated at 2010-12-14