Code Quality Rank: L5
Programming language: JavaScript
License: MIT License
Tags: Mad Science     Git     Js-git    
Latest version: v0.7.8

js-git alternatives and similar modules

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This project is a collection of modules that helps in implementing git powered applications in JavaScript. The original purpose for this is to enable better developer tools for authoring code in restricted environments like ChromeBooks and tablets. It also enables using git as a database to replace SQL and no-SQL data stores in many applications.

This project was initially funded by two crowd-sourced fundraisers. See details in [BACKERS.md](BACKERS.md) and [BACKERS-2.md](BACKERS-2.md). Thanks to all of you who made this possible!


Detailed API docs are contained in the [doc](doc) subfolder of this repository.

In general the way you use js-git is you create a JS object and then mixin the functionality you need. Here is an example of creating an in-memory database, creating some objects, and then walking that tree using the high-level walker APIs.

Creating a repo object.

// This provides symbolic names for the octal modes used by git trees.
var modes = require('js-git/lib/modes');

// Create a repo by creating a plain object.
var repo = {};

// This provides an in-memory storage backend that provides the following APIs:
// - saveAs(type, value) => hash
// - loadAs(type, hash) => hash
// - saveRaw(hash, binary) =>
// - loadRaw(hash) => binary

// This adds a high-level API for creating multiple git objects by path.
// - createTree(entries) => hash

// This provides extra methods for dealing with packfile streams.
// It depends on
// - unpack(packStream, opts) => hashes
// - pack(hashes, opts) => packStream

// This adds in walker algorithms for quickly walking history or a tree.
// - logWalk(ref|hash) => stream<commit>
// - treeWalk(hash) => stream<object>

// This combines parallel requests for the same resource for efficiency under load.

// This makes the object interface less strict.  See its docs for details

Generators vs Callbacks

There are two control-flow styles that you can use to consume js-git APIs. All the examples here use yield style and assume the code is contained within a generator function that's yielding to a tool like gen-run.

This style requires ES6 generators. This feature is currently in stable Firefox, in stable Chrome behind a user-configurable flag, in node.js 0.11.x or greater with a command-line flag.

Also you can use generators on any ES5 platform if you use a source transform like Facebook's regenerator tool.

You read more about how generators work at Generators vs Fibers.

var run = require('gen-run');

run(function*() {
 // Blocking logic goes here.  You can use yield
 var result = yield someAction(withArgs);
 // The generator pauses at yield and resumes when the data is available.
 // The rest of your process is not blocked, just this generator body.
 // If there was an error, it will throw into this generator.

If you can't use this new feature or just plain prefer node-style callbacks, all js-git APIs also support that. The way this works is actually quite simple. If you don't pass in the callback, the function will return a partially applied version of your call expecting just the callback.

someAction(withArgs, function (err, value) {
  if (err) return handleMyError(err);
  // do something with value

// The function would be implemented to support both style like this.
function someAction(arg, callback) {
  if (!callback) return someAction.bind(this, arg);
  // We now have callback and arg

Basic Object Creation

Now we have an in-memory git repo useful for testing the network operations or just getting to know the available APIs.

In this example, we'll create a blob, create a tree containing that blob, create a commit containing that tree. This shows how to create git objects manually.

  // First we create a blob from a string.  The `formats` mixin allows us to
  // use a string directly instead of having to pass in a binary buffer.
  var blobHash = yield repo.saveAs("blob", "Hello World\n");

  // Now we create a tree that is a folder containing the blob as `greeting.txt`
  var treeHash = yield repo.saveAs("tree", {
    "greeting.txt": { mode: modes.file, hash: blobHash }

  // With that tree, we can create a commit.
  // Again the `formats` mixin allows us to omit details like committer, date,
  // and parents.  It assumes sane defaults for these.
  var commitHash = yield repo.saveAs("commit", {
    author: {
      name: "Tim Caswell",
      email: "[email protected]"
    tree: treeHash,
    message: "Test commit\n"

Basic Object Loading

We can read objects back one at a time using loadAs.

// Reading the file "greeting.txt" from a commit.

// We first read the commit.
var commit = yield repo.loadAs("commit", commitHash);
// We then read the tree using `commit.tree`.
var tree = yield repo.loadAs("tree", commit.tree);
// We then read the file using the entry hash in the tree.
var file = yield repo.loadAs("blob", tree["greeting.txt"].hash);
// file is now a binary buffer.

When using the formats mixin there are two new types for loadAs, they are "text" and "array".

// When you're sure the file contains unicode text, you can load it as text directly.
var fileAsText = yield repo.loadAs("text", blobHash);

// Also if you prefer array format, you can load a directory as an array.
var entries = yield repo.loadAs("array", treeHash);
entries.forEach(function (entry) {
  // entry contains {name, mode, hash}

Using Walkers

Now that we have a repo with some minimal data in it, we can query it. Since we included the walkers mixin, we can walk the history as a linear stream or walk the file tree as a depth-first linear stream.

// Create a log stream starting at the commit we just made.
// You could also use symbolic refs like `refs/heads/master` for repos that
// support them.
var logStream = yield repo.logWalk(commitHash);

// Looping through the stream is easy by repeatedly calling waiting on `read`.
var commit, object;
while (commit = yield logStream.read(), commit !== undefined) {


  // We can also loop through all the files of each commit version.
  var treeStream = yield repo.treeWalk(commit.tree);
  while (object = yield treeStream.read(), object !== undefined) {


Filesystem Style Interface

If you feel that creating a blob, then creating a tree, then creating the parent tree, etc is a lot of work to save just one file, I agree. While writing the tedit app, I discovered a nice high-level abstraction that you can mixin to make this much easier. This is the create-tree mixin referenced in the above config.

// We wish to create a tree that contains `www/index.html` and `README.me` files.
// This will create these two blobs, create a tree for `www` and then create a
// tree for the root containing `README.md` and the newly created `www` tree.
var treeHash = yield repo.createTree({
  "www/index.html": {
    mode: modes.file,
    content: "<h1>Hello</h1>\n<p>This is an HTML page?</p>\n"
  "README.md": {
    mode: modes.file,
    content: "# Sample repo\n\nThis is a sample\n"

This is great for creating several files at once, but it can also be used to edit existing trees by adding new files, changing existing files, or deleting existing entries.

var changes = [
    path: "www/index.html" // Leaving out mode means to delete the entry.
    path: "www/app.js", // Create a new file in the existing directory.
    mode: modes.file,
    content: "// this is a js file\n"

// We need to use array form and specify the base tree hash as `base`.
changes.base = treeHash;

treeHash = yield repo.createTree(changes);

Creating Composite Filesystems

The real fun begins when you create composite filesystems using git submodules.

The code that handles this is not packaged as a repo mixin since it spans several independent repos. Instead look to the git-tree repo for the code. It's interface is still slightly unstable and undocumented but is used in production by tedit and my node hosting service that complements tedit.

Basically this module allows you to perform high-level filesystem style commands on a virtual filesystem that consists of many js-git repos. Until there are proper docs, you can see how tedit uses it at https://github.com/creationix/tedit-app/blob/master/src/data/fs.js#L11-L21.

Mounting Github Repos

I've been asking Github to enable CORS headers to their HTTPS git servers, but they've refused to do it. This means that a browser can never clone from github because the browser will disallow XHR requests to the domain.

They do, however, offer a REST interface to the raw git data.

Using this I wrote a mixin for js-git that uses github as the backend store.

Code at https://github.com/creationix/js-github. Usage in tedit can be seen at https://github.com/creationix/tedit-app/blob/master/src/data/fs.js#L31.