Creating a pre-push Git Hook

Oct 10, 2015 3 minute read

When it comes to developing projects on my own, I have to confess I tend to get lazy and sloppy with processes. Shame, much shame.

For example, First Aid Git is hosted on a shared web server where I usually manually sync the distribution files created by the build. This usually means pushing the changes to Github, making sure everything still works, then ssh-ing into the server to upload the files.

Some time ago I hooked up Deploybot to that repo and wired it so every push to the master branch will immediately deploy to production (I know, living dangerously every single day, that’s me). However more than once I still found myself pushing up to the master branch by default, triggering unwanted builds… so I finally took the time to learn about Git hooks.

What are git hooks?

“Git hooks are scripts that Git executes before or after events such as: commit, push, and receive. Git hooks are a built-in feature - no need to download anything. Git hooks are run locally.”

That’s from Githooks, and it’s pretty much self-explanatory. You can trigger certain actions for each one of the available hooks (there are plenty), whether to prevent mistakes from happening, warning other team members that new code is available, enforcing commit and code standards, etc.

Where are they set-up?

Inside your git project, there’s a (most likely hidden) .git folder that contains a hooks folder. It will contain a few sample bash scripts already so it’s pretty easy to get started. If you remove the .sample file name they will become active.

For myself, I simply needed something that would make me be absolutely certain I wanted to push to the master branch.

Pre-push scripts

So here’s my very simple script: it detects you’re about to push to master and asks for your input to answer the magic question about the meaning of life. If the answer is correct, the push will continue, the build will run and the world will be a happy place with seals and otters dancing by the moonlight in a beautiful harmonic dance.

Create a file called pre-push, or rename the existing pre-push.sample.

current_branch=$(git symbolic-ref HEAD | sed -e 's,.*/\(.*\),\1,')

if [ $protected_branch = $current_branch ]
read -p "You're about to push to master. What's the meaning of life? > " -n 2 -r < /dev/tty
#if echo $REPLY | grep -E '^[Yy]$' > /dev/null
if echo $REPLY | grep -E '42' > /dev/null
exit 0 # carry on
exit 1 # exit and go read a book
exit 0


First, we define the branch we want to protect in the variable. It could be master, but it can also be another one of your choice. Then we’re very simply grabbing two strokes worth of input from the user in the terminal and checking if they equal to 42, our answer to this rather simple and obvious question.

The commented if statement below it is another option if you want to skip user custom input: if you prefer, you can use that one instead to simply check for a simple Y or N prompt.

Save the file, and give it a go! There are plenty of very useful resources out there for githooks. Here’s a few:

Happy pushing!