How to periodically sync a git repository with its remote

· 761 words · 4 minute read · @xnacly


x-git-sync is a minimal and highly configurable tool to automatically backup a git repository at configured intervals.

Possible use cases ##

I wrote this tool to fit my need for uploading a new version of my uni documents vault every 5 minutes with my new changes while taking notes on a class.

Previously obsidian together with the obsidian-git plugin satisfied this need by doing exactly what i wanted. I am however using a think pad provided by my work which has some issues when using multiple electron based applications and i don’t really like the vim implementation in obsidian.

So i thought to myself: what a nice way to get something done for myself and learn go while I’m at it. So here it is, my small, minimal and configurable tool to sync your local changes with your git remote changes every x seconds.

Setup ##

Installation ###

The installation is simple and straightforward, either build from source or install from the latest release.

Installing from Release ####

To get the latest executable without a lot of hassle follow the following three steps

  • navigate to x-git-sync/Releases, download the xgs_... executable, rename it to xgs
  • move the executable to the $PATH: mv ./xgs /usr/bin/xgs
  • you should now be able to run xgs

Building from source ####

To get the latest and newest changes build the project from source:

Requires git and go

1git clone xgs
2cd xgs
3go build
4mv xgs /usr/bin/xgs # might require super user privileges

You should now see a xgs executable in the directory

Configuration ###


This section will probably change in the future so consult the documentation or the changelog to see if there are any breaking changes.

xgs allows the user to change a whole lot using the config file located at:

  • On Unix systems, $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/xgs.json or $HOME/.config/xgs.json
  • On Darwin, $HOME/Library/Application Support/xgs.json
  • On Windows, %AppData%/xgs.json
  • On Plan 9, $home/lib/xgs.json

Defaults ###

To view the default configuration shipped with xgs, take a look at the documentation here

Here is the default config, which (who would’ve guessed is my preferred way of using xgs):

2  "auto_commit_prefix": "backup: ",
3  "commit_title_date_format": "2006-01-02 15:04:05",
4  "add_affected_files": true,
5  "backup_interval": 300,
6  "commit_cmd": "git commit -m",
7  "debug": false,
8  "pull_on_start": true

Usage ##


xgs requires and calls to git for almost everything it does, make sure its installed and in the systems path

To use xgs you simply navigate to a directory which has a git remote configured. After that run:


You’ll see some logs and that’s it, you are now syncing your repo every 300 seconds by default.

Tips and tricks ##

This section contains some configuration tips and tricks.

Configure commit title and body ###

The commit title xgs generates is concatenated using the following format:

1{auto_commit_prefix} {commit_title_date_format}\n\n

Use the following xgs.json key value pairs to customize the format:

  • auto_commit_prefix to specify the commit title prefix, by default it’s set to "backup: ".

  • commit_title_date_format to specify the commit date and time format, the default is: "2006-01-02 15:04:05"

    • the formatting of dates in go is a little unconventional: (taken from the xgs documentation)
     1// specifies the date format which the date will be formatted as
     3//  - 2006 for the year, 06 would only be the last two integer
     4//  - 01 for the month
     5//  - 02 for the day
     6//  - 15 for the hour (24-hour format), 05 for 12-hour format
     7//  - 04 for the minute
     8//  - 05 for the second
    10// time formatting in go is weird, see docs:
    13"commit_title_date_format": "2006-01-02 15:04:05",
  • add_affected_files to specify whether or not xgs should display the changed files in its commits:

    • add_affected_files: false:

      1  backup: 2023-01-23 09:22:45
    • add_affected_files: true:

      1  backup: 2023-01-23 09:22:45
      3  Affected files:
      4  out.gif (added)
      5  xgs.tape (modified)

Configure interval between backups / commits ###

Simply set the backup_interval to any amount you desire (its in seconds)

Configure command used to make commit ###

By default xgs uses the git commit -m command to create a git commit, if you need different arguments i got your back, just set commit_cmd to something different.

Configure pulling on starting ###

If you want xgs to not pull all changes from the remote on startup set the pull_on_start setting to false.

View verbose logs ###

If you’re interested in the inner workings of xgs and want to see debug logs, either set the debug flag to true or invoke xgs like so:

1xgs --debug