Git hooks are scripts that I can place in the hooks folder that resides in the hidden .git folder of a project working tree. Because I use git as my system of source control this is an option that I can use to help automate tasks. However there are other options for task automation that I prefer, so for the most part I see hooks as a way to enforce compliance with certain standards before being allowed to make a commit to a git folder.
So a simple little hello world “pre-commit” node.js hook might look something like this.
I will want to use the node.js shebang at the top of my script to make it clear that the environment i am using is node. In addition I will want to name the file “pre-commit” in the hooks folder if I want a script to run every time I make a commit.
When it comes to writing a more useful pre-commit hook, I could write something that will check if everything is up to snuff before allowing a commit to be made. The basic idea here is to call a process.exit(1) if something does not look good, therefore keeping me from making a commit until it is resolved.
For an example of this say I want a simple little script that will check if a setting in a JSON file is set to a value that it should be set to every time I make a commit. Say it is a value that I would change while developing, but would want it to always be set to a certain other value every time I make a commit that will be merged into the master branch.
So the first thing I would want to do is check if my settings.json is even there at all. Yeah that would all ready be a pretty good reason the throw an error and stop the commit if this where a real project.
So far I have a script that is somewhat useful in that it will not allow for a commit to be made if my settings.json file is not present at all. To make it even more useful I just need to add more functionality to the script such as attempting to read the data in settings.json and throwing an error if there is a problem parsing the data.
This script will only allow a commit if there is a settings.json file, that will parse without issue, and has a mode property that has a value of production. So now you should get the idea, these kinds of scripts are useful for enforcing certain kinds of rules that must be met before a commit can be made. They could also be used to set things up for the next commit as well, saving some time.