Adages II: The Adagening [entries|reading|network|archive]
simont

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Wed 2014-07-30 09:30
Adages II: The Adagening
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[identity profile] edge-walker.livejournal.comWed 2014-07-30 16:47

Hmm. I git commit without -a all the time – I would certainly find it more annoying to have to turn it off than I do having to turn it on. But then I always do a git diff as the first thing when I intend to commit, and I follow up with git commit -a only if the diff already is exactly what I want to commit, which often is not the case.

Generally I make commits once I know I have completed a logical step in the evolution of the code, which generally means I am some way into the next step or the one after or even the one after that one before I am certain. Sometimes this is because I’m not sure what the steps even will be before I start. With trivial steps it can happen that I know beforehand exactly what the step will be, and then I do it, and then (after checking the diff!) I can just commit it – in which case I use -a. With any slightly larger task, I often find myself not knowing how to narrate the overall change as a series of patches until after completing (some part of) it. And I never make “here’s how far I got” commits – an atrocious style, as far as I am concerned (which someone once described as using the VCS as a landfill). (Well I do git commit -mwip -a at the end of a day to record my progress. Always followed by a git reset HEAD^ next time I pick up the branch, though.)

The thing that’s so wonderful about Git in all this is how the index lets me decouple the boundaries of the hacking from the boundaries of the resulting commits. If -a were a “work sensibly” option, or even just the default, that would be a constant point of friction to me.

(This is rather different from the example with find | xargs, which no one ever wants to work like they do without the -print0 | -0 switches. (Obviously the problem is that at least find has other uses than being combined with xargs, for which -print0 is wrong. (Note that find has picked up an -exec variant where the command is terminated with a plus instead of a semicolon, for accumulating multiple arguments into a single invocation. So find subsumes the core functionality of xargs, and that issue goes away… at the cost of do-one-thing-well purity. (I assume you are well aware of this – but just in case…))))

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