git is distributed, stupid

There’s no news that pretty often the popular code hosting services, like GitHub or Bitbucket, go down when you least expect it. Especially GitHub, or so it seems. From time to time I get into my feed reader yet another entry from Hacker News that “GitHub is down”.

However, being hit by this problem, I managed to work around it by simply using stuff that’s already part of git itself. No need for going in panic mode for every GitHub hiccup. git is distributed, stupid.

I’ve seen a lot of solutions or proposals, but none of them were KISS compliant (or should I say: blog post title compliant), like using a different remote for pushing to a secondary service, or using hooks. Found out that git supports multiple url entries per remote, but the functionality isn’t exposed into the interface itself. You need to actually edit the config file.

Fortunately, git exposes a config edit shortcut: “git config -e” which opens the repository configuration file “.git/config” with the default editor. Found out that “git config -e” is easier to remember, but YMMV.

A real world example from one of my projects:

[remote "origin"]
        fetch = +refs/heads/*:refs/remotes/origin/*
        url = [email protected]:SaltwaterC/aws2js.git
        url = [email protected]:SaltwaterC/aws2js.git

This means that every time I issue a “git push [--tags] [remote branch]” everything is automatically synced in multiple remote repositories, removing the single point of failure.

The ordering of the url entries is important as only the first is use for pulling the changes. If a specific url fails to accept the changes, then the rest of the url entries are ignored. Sure, some things may go out of sync for a while, but “eventually consistent” is the term you’re looking for in this scenario. You may pull changes between team members, but that’s not always applicable, therefore it doesn’t hurt to have some failover option.

I found out that Bitbucket is a little bit more stable that GitHub. It defaults to that. Used to be the other way though.

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