scm_breeze – enhancing your git cli workflow


Streamline your SCM workflow.

SCM Breeze is a set of shell scripts (for bash and zsh) that enhance your interaction with git. It integrates with your shell to give you numbered file shortcuts,
a repository index with tab completion, and many other useful features.


Adding a range of files, and pressing Ctrl+X, C to commit:

File Shortcuts

SCM Breeze makes it really easy to work with changed files, and groups of changed files.
Whenever you view your SCM status, each modified path is stored in a numbered environment variable.
You can configure the variable prefix, which is ‘e’ by default.

Git Status Shortcuts:

‘ls’ shortcuts:

These numbers (or ranges of numbers) can be used with any SCM or system command.

For example, if ga was your alias for git add, instead of typing something like:

$ ga assets/git_breeze/config* assets/git_breeze/

You can type this instead:

But SCM Breeze aliases ga to the git_add_shortcuts function,
which is smart enough to expand integers and ranges, so all you need to type is:

And if you want to add all unstaged changes (files 1 to 10):

(Note that ga will also remove deleted files, unlike the standard git add command.
This behaviour can be turned off if you don’t like it.)

You can also diff, reset or checkout a file by typing:

You can use these shortcuts with system commands by passing your command through exec_scmb_expand_args
(default alias is ‘ge’):

$ echo $e4
# => assets/git_breeze/
$ ge echo 4
# => assets/git_breeze/
$ ge echo 1-3
# expands to echo $e1 $e2 $e3
# => assets/git_breeze/ assets/git_breeze/

Other shortcuts

SCM Breeze adds a number of aliases to your shell. Use list_aliases to view all the aliases and their corresponding commands.
You can filter aliases by adding a search string: list_aliases git log

There’s also a git_aliases command, which just shows aliases for git commands. You can also pass in additional filters, e.g. git_aliases log.

Keyboard bindings

Some of my most common git commands are git add and git commit, so I wanted these
to be as streamlined as possible. One way of speeding up commonly used commands is by binding them to
keyboard shortcuts.

Here are the default key bindings:

  • CTRL+x c => git_add_and_commit – add given files (if any), then commit staged changes
  • CTRL+x SPACE => git_commit_all – commit everything

The commit shortcuts use the git_commit_prompt function, which gives a simple prompt like this:

(When using bash, this commit prompt gives you access to your bash history via the arrow keys.)

And if you really want to speed up your workflow, you can type this:

This sends the HOME key, followed by git_add_and_commit:

Repository Index

The second feature is a repository index for all of your projects and submodules.
This gives you super-fast switching between your project directories, with tab completion,
and it can even tab-complete down to project subdirectories.
This means that you can keep your projects organized in subfolders,
but switch between them as easily as if they were all in one folder.

It’s similar to autojump, but it doesn’t need to ‘learn’ anything,
and it can do SCM-specific stuff like:

  • Running a command for all of your repos (useful if you ever need to update a lot of remote URLs)
  • Update all of your repositories via a cron task

The default alias for git_index is ‘c’, which might stand for ‘code’

You will first need to configure your repository directory, and then build the index:

$ c --rebuild
# => == Scanning /home/ndbroadbent/code for git repos & submodules...
# => ===== Indexed 64 repos in /home/ndbroadbent/code/.git_index

Then you’ll be able to switch between your projects, or show the list of indexed repos.

To switch to a project directory, you don’t need to type the full project name. For example,
to switch to the capistrano project, you could type any of the following:

$ c capistrano
$ c cap
$ c istra

Or if you wanted to go straight to a subdirectory within capistrano:

$ c cap<TAB>
$ c capistrano/<TAB>
# => bin/   lib/   test/
$ c capistrano/l<TAB>
$ c capistrano/lib/
# => cd ~/code/gems/capistrano/lib

Or if you want to go to a subdirectory within the ~/code directory, prefix the first argument with a /:

~ $ c /gems
~/code/gems $

Linking External Project Design Directories

When you’re creating logos or icons for a project that uses git,
have you ever wondered where you should store those .psd or .xcf files?
Do you commit all of your raw design files, or does it put you off that any changes to those files
will bloat your repository?

Here were my goals when I set out to find a solution:

  • I wanted a design directory for each of my projects
  • I didn’t want the design directory to be checked in to the git repository
  • The design directory needed to be synchronized across all of my machines

The simplest way for me to synchronize files was via my Dropbox account.
However, if you work with a larger team, you could set up a shared design directory on one
of your servers and synchronize it with rsync.

1) Create and configure a root design directory

I created my root design directory at ~/Dropbox/Design.

After you’ve created your root design directory, edit ~/.scmbrc and set root_design_dir
to the directory you just created.
You can also configure the design directory that’s created in each of your projects
(default: design_assets), as well as the subdirectories you would like to use.
The default base subdirectories are: Images, Backgrounds, Logos, Icons, Mockups, and Screenshots.

After you have changed these settings, remember to run source ~/.bashrc or source ~/.zshrc.

2) Initialize design directories for your projects

To set up the design directories and symlinks, go to a project’s directory and run:

If your root directory is ~/Dropbox/Design, directories will be created at
~/Dropbox/Design/projects/my_project/Backgrounds, ~/Dropbox/Design/projects/my_project/Icons, etc.

It will then symlink the project from your root design directory into your project’s design directory,
so you end up with:

  • my_project/design_assets -> ~/Dropbox/Design/projects/my_project

It also adds this directory to .git/info/exclude so that git ignores it.

If you use the git repository index,
you can run the following batch command to set up these directories for all of your git repos at once:

git_index --batch-cmd design init

If you want to remove any empty design directories, run:

And if you want to remove all of a project’s design directories, even if they contain files:

3) Link existing design directories into your projects

If you’ve set up your design directories on one machine, you’ll want them
to be synchronized across all of your other development machines.

Just run the following command on your other machines after you’ve configured the root design directory:

This uses your git index to figure out where to create the symlinks.
If you don’t use the git index, the same outcome could be achieved by running ‘design init’
for each of the projects.

Contributing tools / scripts

If you have any awesome SCM scripts lurking in your .bashrc or .zshrc,
please feel free to send me a pull request.
It would be cool to make this project into an oh-my-zsh for SCMs.

git clone git:// ~/.scm_breeze
source ~/.bashrc   # or source ~/.zshrc

The install script creates required default configs and adds the following line to your .bashrc or .zshrc:

[ -s "$HOME/.scm_breeze/" ] && source "$HOME/.scm_breeze/"

Please run update_scm_breeze to fetch the latest code. This will update SCM Breeze from Github,
and will create or patch your ~/.*.scmbrc config files if any new settings are added.


The uninstall script removes the following line from your .bashrc or .zshrc:

[ -s "$HOME/.scm_breeze/" ] && source "$HOME/.scm_breeze/"

SCM Breeze is configured via automatically installed ~/.*.scmbrc files.
To change git configuration, edit ~/.git.scmbrc.

Each feature is modular, so you are free to ignore the parts you don’t want to use.
Just comment out the relevant line in ~/.scm_breeze/

Note: After changing any settings, you will need to run source ~/.bashrc (or source ~/.zshrc)

I know we grow attached to the aliases we use every day, so I’ve made the alias system completely customizable.
You have two options when it comes to aliases:

1) Configure and use the provided SCM Breeze aliases

Just tweak the aliases in ~/.git.scmbrc. You can also change or remove any keyboard shortcuts.
These aliases also come with tab completion. For example, you can type gco to tab complete your list of branches.

2) Use your own aliases

In your git.scmbrc config file, just set the git_setup_aliases option to no.
Your existing git aliases will then be used, and you will still be able to use the numeric shortcuts feature.
SCM Breeze creates a function to wrap the ‘git’ command, which expands numeric arguments, and uses hub if available.

A few aliases will still be defined for the central SCM Breeze features, such as gs for the extended git status,
and ga for the git add function.

If you already have an alias like alias gco="git checkout",
you can now type gco 1 to checkout the first file in the output of SCM Breeze’s git status.


If you use your own aliases, SCM Breeze will not set up bash tab completion for your aliases.
You will need to set that up yourself.


You just need to set the option: setopt no_complete_aliases (oh-my-zsh sets this by default).
Zsh will then expand aliases like gb to git branch, and use the completion for that.

SCM Breeze lives on Github at

Please feel free to fork and send pull requests, especially if you would like to build these features
for Mercurial, SVN, etc.


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