I was juggling lots of private git branches at work and making some use
of the branch description file (see
git branch --edit-description)
to store my notes for each branch. This was good for me because the
descriptions aren't committed to the branch so they would never make it
upstream (even by accident). However managing the TODOs themselves was
And so was born
git-checklist, though in actual fact I've aliased it
git todo. Assuming it's in your path:
$ git config alias.todo=checklist
Otherwise, like this:
$ git config alias.todo=!/path/to/git-checklist
Using It Is Easy
To view your TODOs, just enter the bare command from a git repository:
$ git todo
Well, if you've not got anything to do yet, it won't have anything to
show you. Find out where to go next:
$ git todo --help
Usage: git-checklist [COMMAND]
Per-branch TODO list for Git repositories
-h,--help Show this help text
show Show current TODOs
add Add a TODO
done Mark a TODO as done.
undo Item needs redone!
remove Remove a TODO (can't be undone)
stats Summary statistics of checklist
It will give you a summary of the commands you can enter at this point.
There are no entries yet so all you can do is add them.
$ git todo add Add an informative README file
1: [ ] Add an informative README file
Each entry has a number in the left column and a box. Empty boxes mean
the item is still to be done. When you've finished a task, mark it done
using the number as a reference:
$ git todo done 1
1: [x] Add an informative README file
You can also "undo" items if you realise that the fix you made wasn't so
hot after all, or you didn't understand the issue fully, or whatever
Finally you can remove items entirely from the list. This is permanent
and can't be undone.
If you're knee deep in work on one branch and you'd like to change the
checklist for another branch, all the commands will recognise the
$ git todo add --branch newparser Make nicer error messages
If you want to start a description of your note with a hyphen you can
separate it from the rest of the command options with a double-hyphen on
$ git todo add -- -b stopped working but --branch still okay
If you want to see all your branches at once use
$ git todo show --all
Obviously you can't supply the
--all flag to any of the editing
commands --- you can only edit one branch's checklist at a time.
There is one more overview command that will take
as an option:
$ git todo stats
2 tasks to do (4 in total)
Work In Progress Commits
I've got an alias called
wip which lets me quickly save all my unsaved
work in the current branch. You can use this as a basic command:
$ git config alias.wip=commit -a -m"WIP"
But if you use git-checklist the following might be more informative
when you are trying to get the measure of your branches:
$ git config alias.wip=!git commit -a -m\""WIP $(git todo stats)"\"
Then you'll get a commit that says something like WIP 2 tasks to do (4
in total which is much nicer. For the cherry on top I also use
prepare-commit-msg to pipe the result of
git todo show to the commit
message. The summary line will contain a summary and the rest of the
message will contain the current state of the branch.
The checklists are stored in
serialised form is basically just the checklists without the number
prefix. This is similar to the checklist format used by GitHub's
extended Markdown, so you can re-use the file contents if desired.
The format is very easy to read and edit manually.
[ <mark> ] <space> <description> <newline>
The is either "x" for a completed item or a space otherwise.
(The parser will accept any non-"x" as pending but will always write a
space.) The description must not contain a newline but is otherwise
The checklist for the working directory is whatever branch name is
pointed to by
HEAD. I have not tested it with a detached head, though I
guess you'd just end up with a SHA as a branch name.
Installing It Is Fairly Easy
Assuming you've got a Haskell installation (if not, [grab the Haskell
platform] hp) you can grab the source and build with Cabal.
$ git clone http://github.com/dougalstanton/git-checklist
$ cd git-checklist
$ cabal build
$ cabal install
The data is stored in a separate directory inside
.git which isn't
versioned --- this is a local list only. I am open to suggestions to
make this versioned though it is not a priority for me. My workflow is
based around a single computer.
The read/write step bashes into the awkwardness of lazy IO.
It doesn't cope very well with not being somewhere inside a repository.
It shouldn't wreck anything but the error message isn't very refined.
If you were using a pre-1.0 version the file format has changed
incompatibly. There is a secret flag to upgrade:
$ git-checklist --upgrade
Alternatively you can do it manually before you upgrade the
application like this. The key part is to strip the first four
characters from each line, ie the number--colon--space prefix.
for b in .git/checklist/* ; do
git-checklist show --branch $(basename $b) | cut -c 5- > $b