GIT Remove Tag: Options to Do This Cleanly

git remove tagVersion Control Systems  are specifically designed to help software programmers work together and maintain the complete history of their work. They allow developers to work simultaneously and not overwrite changes made by each other. The system is responsible to maintain the history of each version of everything. There are two types of Version Control System – Centralized version control system (CVCS) and Distributed version control system. GIT is a distributed system. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into GIT’s command to remove tags. We assume you’re familiar with the basics of Git, but just to recap, let’s take a quick look at the basics. (If you’re new to GIT or Version Control systems, you may want to to take this course first.)

What is  GIT?

GIT is a rapid, distributed revision control and source management system which was initially designed and developed by Linus Torvalds with the Linux kernel in mind. Today git has evolved into an extremely popular and efficient version control system which tracks content such as files and directories. BLOBs (binary large objects) are used to store the file content by git. Trees represent the folders. Note that each tree contains other trees (subfolders) and BLOBs and a simple text file which comprises of the mode, type name  and SHA (Secure Hash Algorithm) of each blob and sub-tree entry. A commit object stores the history of your program. You have to commit each modification you make. The commit file stores the author, committer, comment and any parent commits that directly precede it. Once you commit any changes, you can tag them with a label, to help you look them up easily later on, and often, use to create a manifest. Next we’ll look at how you can remove tags. If terms seem unfamiliar to you, we recommend you take this course to learn GIT basics.

Git Remove Tag

Git remove command removes file from the index or from the working tree and the index. It will not remove a file from just the working directory. The syntax of the git remove command looks like this

git rm [-f | --force] [-n] [-r] [--cached] [--ignore-unmatch] [--quiet] [--] <file>...

Lets take a closer look at the different options of git-rm command.

  • git rm <path of the file>: Removes the specified file or directory from the current working tree.
  • git rm -f : This command forces the deletion of files(S) from the hard drive. You can use the term ‘–force’ instead of ‘f’.
  • git rm -n <filename> :When you use this command,  files are actually not removed. Instead, you get a view of the index when the file(s) would be removed. you can use the term “–dry-run” for the same result.
  • git rm -r<filename> : This command permits recursive removal when a leading directory name is specified.
  • git rm —  :This command is useful to separate command options from the list of files. This way we avoid the scenario of filename being mistaken for command line options.
  • git rm –ignore-unmatch <filename> : This command results in exit from the program with a zero status even in the scenario of no file being matched.
  • git rm – q <filename> : Normally git rm command outputs one line for each file it removes. When you use this option that output is suppressed.
  • git rm –cached <filename> : Often, a file gets checked into git which isn’t supposed to be so. The examples of such files include configuration files, object files and project files generated by IDE(Integrated Development Environment) with personal settings. These files are important and needed quite often. Hence you cannot delete them entirely and it is a cumbersome process to copy them to some other location, remove them from git and finally replacing them. Also this method can result in quite a number of errors. By adding the cached option to the git rm command, the file will be removed from git control. However, the file is still on your hard drive and git will no longer track it.

The file list provided to the remove command can be exact pathnames, file glob patterns, or directory names. The remove command is restricted only to the paths that are known to git. If the name of file is given that is unknown to git, then the remove operation does not remove that file. Note that file globbing matches across directory boundaries. If there exists two directories d and d1, there is a difference between using git rm ‘d*’ and git rm’d/*’.  The former command will also remove all the content of the directory d2. You can learn more about these git commands and master them with the help of this course.

How to Remove Files that have Disappeared from the File System

No available option exists for git rm to remove from the index only paths which have disappeared from the file system. However, there are other ways by which it can be achieved.

  • git commit -a :  If you want to record all the modifications of certain files in the current directory and also record all removal of files which have been removed with the rm command, in your next commit, you have to use git commit -a. This command will automatically  record all removals. If you want to do the same without committing, use the command git add -u.
  • git add –A : To record the removal of paths, addition of new paths and also modification of existing paths. Firstly, you have to remove all tracked files from the working tree by the use of this following command.   git ls-files -z | xargs -0 rm -f . After this you have to untar the new code in the working tree. An alternative option is to rsync the changes into the current directory.  Finally use the command git add -A
  • Other ways : If your objective is to remove from the index the files that are no longer present in the current directory, you have to use the following command: git diff –name-only –diff-filter=D -z | xargs -0 git rm –cached

We hope this tutorial helped you see how you can use git commands to remove tags and other files cleanly. You can explore this further with the help of this advanced GIT course.