git-archive archive example - Do a “git export” (like “svn export”)?

15 Answers

I found out what option 2 means. From a repository, you can do:

git checkout-index -a -f --prefix=/destination/path/

The slash at the end of the path is important, otherwise it will result in the files being in /destination with a prefix of 'path'.

Since in a normal situation the index contains the contents of the repository, there is nothing special to do to "read the desired tree into the index". It's already there.

The -a flag is required to check out all files in the index (I'm not sure what it means to omit this flag in this situation, since it doesn't do what I want). The -f flag forces overwriting any existing files in the output, which this command doesn't normally do.

This appears to be the sort of "git export" I was looking for.

remote repository with

I've been wondering whether there is a good "git export" solution that creates a copy of a tree without the .git repository directory. There are at least three methods I know of:

  1. git clone followed by removing the .git repository directory.
  2. git checkout-index alludes to this functionality but starts with "Just read the desired tree into the index..." which I'm not entirely sure how to do.
  3. git-export is a third party script that essentially does a git clone into a temporary location followed by rsync --exclude='.git' into the final destination.

None of these solutions really strike me as being satisfactory. The closest one to svn export might be option 1, because both those require the target directory to be empty first. But option 2 seems even better, assuming I can figure out what it means to read a tree into the index.

A special case answer if the repository is hosted on GitHub.

Just use svn export.

As far as I know Github does not allow archive --remote. Although GitHub is svn compatible and they do have all git repos svn accessible so you could just use svn export like you normally would with a few adjustments to your GitHub url.

For example to export an entire repository, notice how trunk in the URL replaces master (or whatever the project's HEAD branch is set to):

svn export

And you can export a single file or even a certain path or folder:

svn export

Example with jQuery JavaScript Library

The HEAD branch or master branch will be available using trunk:

svn ls

The non-HEAD branches will be accessible under /branches/:

svn ls

All tags under /tags/ in the same fashion:

svn ls

I've written a simple wrapper around git-checkout-index that you can use like this:

git export ~/the/destination/dir

If the destination directory already exists, you'll need to add -f or --force.

Installation is simple; just drop the script somewhere in your PATH, and make sure it's executable.

The github repository for git-export

The equivalent of

svn export . otherpath

inside an existing repo is

git archive branchname | (cd otherpath; tar x)

The equivalent of

svn export url otherpath


git archive --remote=url branchname | (cd otherpath; tar x)

If you're not excluding files with .gitattributes export-ignore then try git checkout

mkdir /path/to/checkout/
git --git-dir=/path/to/repo/.git --work-tree=/path/to/checkout/ checkout -f -q

When checking out paths from the index, do not fail upon unmerged entries; instead, unmerged entries are ignored.


Avoid verbose

Additionally you can get any Branch or Tag or from a specific Commit Revision like in SVN just adding the SHA1 (SHA1 in Git is the equivalent to the Revision Number in SVN)

mkdir /path/to/checkout/
git --git-dir=/path/to/repo/.git --work-tree=/path/to/checkout/ checkout 2ef2e1f2de5f3d4f5e87df7d8 -f -q -- ./

The /path/to/checkout/ must be empty, Git will not delete any file, but will overwrite files with the same name without any warning

UPDATE: To avoid the beheaded problem or to leave intact the working repository when using checkout for export with tags, branches or SHA1, you need to add -- ./ at the end

The double dash -- tells git that everything after the dashes are paths or files, and also in this case tells git checkout to not change the HEAD


This command will get just the libs directory and also the readme.txt file from that exactly commit

git --git-dir=/path/to/repo/.git --work-tree=/path/to/checkout/ checkout fef2e1f2de5f3d4f5e87df7d8 -f -q -- ./libs ./docs/readme.txt

This will create(overwrite) my_file_2_behind_HEAD.txt two commits behind the head HEAD^2

git --git-dir=/path/to/repo/.git --work-tree=/path/to/checkout/ checkout HEAD^2 -f -q -- ./my_file_2_behind_HEAD.txt

To get the export of another branch

git --git-dir=/path/to/repo/.git --work-tree=/path/to/checkout/ checkout myotherbranch -f -q -- ./

Notice that ./ is relative to the root of the repository

This will copy all contents, minus the .dot files. I use this to export git cloned projects into my web app's git repo without the .git stuff.

cp -R ./path-to-git-repo /path/to/destination/

Plain old bash works just great :)

I just want to point out that in the case that you are

  1. exporting a sub folder of the repository (that's how I used to use SVN export feature)
  2. are OK with copying everything from that folder to the deployment destination
  3. and since you already have a copy of the entire repository in place.

Then you can just use cp foo [destination] instead of the mentioned git-archive master foo | -x -C [destination].

You can archive a remote repo at any commit as zip file.


Bash-implementation of git-export.

I have segmented the .empty file creation and removal processes on their own function, with the purpose of re-using them in the 'git-archive' implementation (will be posted later on).

I have also added the '.gitattributes' file to the process in order to remove un-wanted files from the target export folder. Included verbosity to the process while making the 'git-export' function more efficient.


function create_empty () {
## Processing path (target-dir):
## Component(s):
echo -en "\nAdding '${EMPTY_FILE}' files to empty folder(s): ...";
    find ${TRG_PATH} -not -path "*/${EXCLUDE_DIR}/*" -type d -empty -exec touch {}/${EMPTY_FILE} \;
#echo "done.";
## Purging SRC/TRG_DIRs variable(s):
    return 0;

declare -a GIT_EXCLUDE;
function load_exclude () {
    ITEMS=0; while read LINE; do
#      echo -e "Line [${ITEMS}]: '${LINE%%\ *}'";
      GIT_EXCLUDE[((ITEMS++))]=${LINE%%\ *};
    done < ${SRC_PATH}/.gitattributes;
## Purging variable(s):
    unset SRC_PATH ITEMS;
    return 0;

function purge_empty () {
## Processing path (Source/Target-dir):
echo -e "\nPurging Git-Specific component(s): ... ";
    find ${SRC_PATH} -type f -name ${EMPTY_FILE} -exec /bin/rm '{}' \;
    for xRULE in ${GIT_EXCLUDE[@]}; do
echo -en "    '${TRG_PATH}/{${xRULE}}' files ... ";
      find ${TRG_PATH} -type f -name "${xRULE}" -exec /bin/rm -rf '{}' \;
echo "done.'";
echo -e "done.\n"
## Purging SRC/TRG_PATHs variable(s):
    unset SRC_PATH; unset TRG_PATH;
    return 0;

function git-export () {
    TRG_DIR="${1}"; SRC_DIR="${2}";
    if [ -z "${SRC_DIR}" ]; then SRC_DIR="${PWD}"; fi
    load_exclude "${SRC_DIR}";
## Dynamically added '.empty' files to the Git-Structure:
    create_empty "${SRC_DIR}";
    GIT_COMMIT="Including '${EMPTY_FILE}' files into Git-Index container."; #echo -e "\n${GIT_COMMIT}";
    git add .; git commit --quiet --all --verbose --message "${GIT_COMMIT}";
    if [ "${?}" -eq 0 ]; then echo " done."; fi
    /bin/rm -rf ${TRG_DIR} && mkdir -p "${TRG_DIR}";
echo -en "\nChecking-Out Index component(s): ... ";
    git checkout-index --prefix=${TRG_DIR}/ -q -f -a
## Reset: --mixed = reset HEAD and index:
    if [ "${?}" -eq 0 ]; then
echo "done."; echo -en "Resetting HEAD and Index: ... ";
        git reset --soft HEAD^;
        if [ "${?}" -eq 0 ]; then
echo "done.";
## Purging Git-specific components and '.empty' files from Target-Dir:
            purge_empty "${SRC_DIR}" "${TRG_DIR}"
          else echo "failed.";
## Archiving exported-content:
echo -en "Archiving Checked-Out component(s): ... ";
        if [ -f "${TRG_DIR}.tgz" ]; then /bin/rm ${TRG_DIR}.tgz; fi
        cd ${TRG_DIR} && tar -czf ${TRG_DIR}.tgz ./; cd ${SRC_DIR}
echo "done.";
## Listing *.tgz file attributes:
## Warning: Un-TAR this file to a specific directory:
        ls -al ${TRG_DIR}.tgz
      else echo "failed.";
## Purgin all references to Un-Staged File(s):
   git reset HEAD;
## Purging SRC/TRG_DIRs variable(s):
    unset SRC_DIR; unset TRG_DIR;
    echo "";
    return 0;


$ git-export /tmp/rel-1.0.0

Adding '.empty' files to empty folder(s): ... done.

Checking-Out Index component(s): ... done.

Resetting HEAD and Index: ... done.

Purging Git-Specific component(s): ...

'/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.buildpath}' files ... done.'

'/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.project}' files ... done.'

'/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.gitignore}' files ... done.'

'/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.git}' files ... done.'

'/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.gitattributes}' files ... done.'

'/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{*.mno}' files ... done.'

'/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{*~}' files ... done.'

'/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.*~}' files ... done.'

'/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{*.swp}' files ... done.'

'/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{*.swo}' files ... done.'

'/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.DS_Store}' files ... done.'

'/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.settings}' files ... done.'

'/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.empty}' files ... done.'


Archiving Checked-Out component(s): ... done.

-rw-r--r-- 1 admin wheel 25445901 3 Nov 12:57 /tmp/rel-1.0.0.tgz

I have now incorporated the 'git archive' functionality into a single process that makes use of 'create_empty' function and other features.

function git-archive () {
    PREFIX="${1}"; ## sudo mkdir -p ${PREFIX}
    REPO_PATH="`echo "${2}"|awk -F: '{print $1}'`";
    RELEASE="`echo "${2}"|awk -F: '{print $2}'`";
## Dynamically added '.empty' files to the Git-Structure:
    cd "${REPO_PATH}"; populate_empty .; echo -en "\n";
#    git archive --prefix=git-1.4.0/ -o git-1.4.0.tar.gz v1.4.0
# e.g.: git-archive /var/www/htdocs /repos/ --explode
    git archive --verbose --prefix=${PREFIX}/ -o ${OUTPUT_FILE} ${RELEASE}
    cd "${USER_PATH}";
    if [[ "${3}" =~ [--explode] ]]; then
      if [ -d "./${RELEASE}" ]; then /bin/rm -rf "./${RELEASE}"; fi
      mkdir -p ./${RELEASE}; tar -xzf "${OUTPUT_FILE}" -C ./${RELEASE}
## Purging SRC/TRG_DIRs variable(s):
    return 0;

This will copy the files in a range of commits (C to G) to a tar file. Note: this will only get the files commited. Not the entire repository. Slightly modified from Here

Example Commit History

A --> B --> C --> D --> E --> F --> G --> H --> I

git diff-tree -r --no-commit-id --name-only --diff-filter=ACMRT C~..G | xargs tar -rf myTarFile.tar

git-diff-tree Manual Page

-r --> recurse into sub-trees

--no-commit-id --> git diff-tree outputs a line with the commit ID when applicable. This flag suppressed the commit ID output.

--name-only --> Show only names of changed files.

--diff-filter=ACMRT --> Select only these files. See here for full list of files

C..G --> Files in this range of commits

C~ --> Include files from Commit C. Not just files since Commit C.

| xargs tar -rf myTarFile --> outputs to tar

I needed this for a deploy script and I couldn't use any of the above mentioned approaches. Instead I figured out a different solution:

[ $# -eq 2 ] || echo "USAGE $0 REPOSITORY DESTINATION" && exit 1
TMPNAME="/tmp/$(basename $REPOSITORY).$$"
rm -rf $TMPNAME/.git
rm -rf $TMPNAME

I think @Aredridel's post was closest, but there's a bit more to that - so I will add this here; the thing is, in svn, if you're in a subfolder of a repo, and you do:

/media/disk/repo_svn/subdir$ svn export . /media/disk2/repo_svn_B/subdir

then svn will export all files that are under revision control (they could have also freshly Added; or Modified status) - and if you have other "junk" in that directory (and I'm not counting .svn subfolders here, but visible stuff like .o files), it will not be exported; only those files registered by the SVN repo will be exported. For me, one nice thing is that this export also includes files with local changes that have not been committed yet; and another nice thing is that the timestamps of the exported files are the same as the original ones. Or, as svn help export puts it:

  1. Exports a clean directory tree from the working copy specified by PATH1, at revision REV if it is given, otherwise at WORKING, into PATH2. ... If REV is not specified, all local changes will be preserved. Files not under version control will not be copied.

To realize that git will not preserve the timestamps, compare the output of these commands (in a subfolder of a git repo of your choice):

/media/disk/git_svn/subdir$ ls -la .

... and:

/media/disk/git_svn/subdir$ git archive --format=tar --prefix=junk/ HEAD | (tar -t -v --full-time -f -)

... and I, in any case, notice that git archive causes all the timestamps of the archived file to be the same! git help archive says:

git archive behaves differently when given a tree ID versus when given a commit ID or tag ID. In the first case the current time is used as the modification time of each file in the archive. In the latter case the commit time as recorded in the referenced commit object is used instead.

... but apparently both cases set the "modification time of each file"; thereby not preserving the actual timestamps of those files!

So, in order to also preserve the timestamps, here is a bash script, which is actually a "one-liner", albeit somewhat complicated - so below it is posted in multiple lines:

/media/disk/git_svn/subdir$ git archive --format=tar master | (tar tf -) | (\
  DEST="/media/diskC/tmp/subdirB"; \
  CWD="$PWD"; \
  while read line; do \
    DN=$(dirname "$line"); BN=$(basename "$line"); \
    SRD="$CWD"; TGD="$DEST"; \
    if [ "$DN" != "." ]; then \
      SRD="$SRD/$DN" ; TGD="$TGD/$DN" ; \
      if [ ! -d "$TGD" ] ; then \
        CMD="mkdir \"$TGD\"; touch -r \"$SRD\" \"$TGD\""; \
        echo "$CMD"; \
        eval "$CMD"; \
      fi; \
    fi; \
    CMD="cp -a \"$SRD/$BN\" \"$TGD/\""; \
    echo "$CMD"; \
    eval "$CMD"; \
    done \

Note that it is assumed that you're exporting the contents in "current" directory (above, /media/disk/git_svn/subdir) - and the destination you're exporting into is somewhat inconveniently placed, but it is in DEST environment variable. Note that with this script; you must create the DEST directory manually yourself, before running the above script.

After the script is ran, you should be able to compare:

ls -la /media/disk/git_svn/subdir
ls -la /media/diskC/tmp/subdirB   # DEST

... and hopefully see the same timestamps (for those files that were under version control).

Hope this helps someone,

i have the following utility function in my .bashrc file: it creates an archive of the current branch in a git repository.

function garchive()
  if [[ "x$1" == "x-h" || "x$1" == "x" ]]; then
    cat <<EOF
Usage: garchive <archive-name>
create zip archive of the current branch into <archive-name>
    local oname=$1
    set -x
    local bname=$(git branch | grep -F "*" | sed -e 's#^*##')
    git archive --format zip --output ${oname} ${bname}
    set +x

I have another solution that works fine if you have a local copy of the repository on the machine where you would like to create the export. In this case move to this repository directory, and enter this command:

GIT_WORK_TREE=outputdirectory git checkout -f

This is particularly useful if you manage a website with a git repository and would like to checkout a clean version in /var/www/. In this case, add thiscommand in a .git/hooks/post-receive script (hooks/post-receive on a bare repository, which is more suitable in this situation)