Dr Nic

Aliases to the latest branch folder you’re working on

For my Rails and RubyGem projects I’ll run multiple branches plus a trunk. The trunk represents the live, public/production code, and the branches represent new features being developed [1]. So if I’m working on a branch for a feature, and I open a new terminal shell, THAT’s the working folder I want to go to, not the trunk, nor any other branch. Just that one.

Even for small gems and projects where I have no branches, just a trunk, I want quick ways to get to the working folder. [2] You know, the branch I was just working on two seconds ago.

So, if I have a project (rails app or gem) called wizzo, and I’ve checked out the trunk and some branches into a common folder:

  • /path/to/wizzo —trunk
  • /path/to/wizzo_feature1 —branch for feature1 (Last touched)
  • /path/to/wizzo_feature2 —branch for feature2

OR, if I checkout the trunk and all branches into one folder:

  • /path/to/wizzo/trunk —trunk
  • /path/to/wizzo/branches/feature1 —branch for feature1 (Last touched)
  • /path/to/wizzo/branches/feature2 —branch for feature2

I want an alias wizzo to take me to /path/to/wizzo/branches/feature1 if that is where I’m working at the moemnt.

If you want this too, do the following:

$ sudo gem install latest_branch

And for each folder that contains your projects, add the following to your .profile:

alias_all_projects --path=~/Documents/rails_apps/
. ~/.project_aliases

And this will generate many wonderful, dynamic aliases for you.

See the latest_branch website for the ins-and-outs, and its helper app latest_branch.

[1] At work – a non-ruby/rails, billing system on CVS – we do it differently. The trunk is for development of all new features, and production releases are tagged, and also branched for critical fixes. But the above code would be useful for both situations.

[2] Lucky zsh shell users can do fancy stuff like map folders to ~proj folders, and use autocomplete, such that cd ~p/t might go to ../proj/trunk. Neat.

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2 Responses to “Aliases to the latest branch folder you’re working on”

  1. Dr Nic says:

    BTW – it uses the location of Rakefile to determine the root folder of projects (ignoring paths with pkg/vendor/template in it).

    If you want to use this for non-Ruby project folders let me know and I could add a switch to look for alternate root files.

    Perhaps README is a better root file to look for.

    Also, its likely that this script will generate some crap aliases, but hopefully they are irrelevant and don’t affect your auto-completion for other things.

  2. Shawn42 says:

    For this type of magic directories, I love WD. It’s a small set of scripts and aliases for doing pretty much what you describe here.

    I never build a new dev machine w/o it.