Solution Setup – .gitignore

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“How to setup a project” is a series about the basic tools and configurations that can be used into starting a new development project.

It’s crazy to think that Git has taken part in developers life for the past 15 years and that it’s still so obscure for most of us.  Experienced developers take it for granted but it is still very intimidating for new developers who are on-boarded on a project that is using it.  In this series, I’ll go into how we use git and Episerver together and the practices we use to help developers on-boarding.

In this article I will cover how we use the .gitignore on Episerver project to help us work with a leaner process.

From the Github site, here is their definition for the .gitignore file:

“You can create a .gitignore file in your repository’s root directory to tell Git which files and directories to ignore when you make a commit. To share the ignore rules with other users who clone the repository, commit the .gitignore file in to your repository.”

So, the .gitignore file is a file added to your project code base that specifies files that should not be taken into account by the source control manager.

When you start a project, there are a few ways that you can get a templated .gitignore file.  When you create a new Visual Studio project, you have a choice to create the git repository, adding a templated .gitignore file for the project.  If you omit this option, you always can add it back going to the following Github account to get a default Visual Studio ASP.NET project .gitignore

https://github.com/github/gitignore/blob/master/VisualStudio.gitignore

If you don’t want to use the Visual Studio default one, or you want to have a .gitignore customize to your programming stack, you can go to the following site:

https://www.gitignore.io/

On the site, you can choose your IDE, programming language or framework.  So for an Episerver project, we could go for a visual studio .net .gitignore file. Going thru the file, we can see that most of the files we don’t want to include into the project code base.

When you create your initial commit on a new Episerver project, you would see a few files getting included in the code base, files that we don’t necessarily want into our project.  Some examples of those files would be the App_Data folder, the packages folder, the license file and some configuration files.

Following Microsoft best practices, you should also put the \modules\_protected folder into the .gitignore file since you can restore those nuget packages.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/nuget/consume-packages/package-restore

Looking at Episerver reference implementation, Foundation, we can see how they configured their .gitignore.

Build/Logs/*.log
src/appdata/*
src/Foundation/App_Data/GeoLiteCity.dat
src/Foundation/Assets/scss/main.min.css
src/Foundation/Assets/scss/main.min.css.map
src/Foundation/Assets/js/main.min.js
src/Foundation/Assets/js/main.min.js.map
src/Foundation/License.config
src/Foundation/connectionStrings.config
src/Foundation.CommerceManager/connectionStrings.config
src/Foundation.CommerceManager/App_Data/ImportExport/*
rebuild.cmd
resetup.cmd

So they added some site specific files and folders, configuration files, and they also took out some assets files.  If you plan on having the css and js assets file processed  at compile time (minification, …), then you should also add the “compiled” assets files to the .gitignore file.

A boilerplate .gitignore file could be to start with a standard .NET .gitgnore, to which the following rules would be added:

App_Data/Index
App_Data/blobs
modulesbin
Modules/_protected
License.config

An example of an Episerver .gitignore can be downloaded from the following Gist

https://gist.github.com/espierre/752bf6e87ea33034565a118e019cee3a

By adding files that are user specific (.config) or that change a lot (App_Data) or that are part of the project build (.min.css), we can limit the noise that can appears in big project code review, and prevent a lot of useless merge conflicts.

In the next article in this series, I’ll go into configuration changes that helps a team working on the same project.

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Éric St-Pierre

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