Using git hooks to format code before commit

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This tutorial will help you format your code before you commit them. You can either use your company or project’s custom .clang-format file or use a predefined (ie: Google, Mozilla, LLVM, etc.) style.

Install clang-format

Sorry, I don’t use Windows currently so you are on your own. Post a comment on how to do it!

Ubuntu 14.04

Search for latest clang-format version

sudo apt-cache search clang-format
clang-format-3.3 - Tool to format C/C++/Obj-C code
clang-format-3.4 - Tool to format C/C++/Obj-C code
clang-format-3.5 - Tool to format C/C++/Obj-C code
clang-format-3.9 - Tool to format C/C++/Obj-C code
clang-format-3.6 - Tool to format C/C++/Obj-C code
clang-format-3.8 - Tool to format C/C++/Obj-C code


sudo apt-get install clang-format-3.9

Ubuntu will install binary with version suffix: clang-format-3.9. You need to tell git where to find clang-format

git config --global clangFormat.binary clang-format-3.9


Install clang-format (with homebrew)

brew install clang-format

Update your git hooks

Go to your repository

cd /path/to/your/repo
cd .git/hooks
touch pre-commit
chmod +x pre-commit

Put the following script into pre-commit.

  • If you will use a predefined style, check the comment in the code.
  • If you already have a .clang-format file, place it to the root of the repository.

export PATH=`git rev-parse --git-dir`/../tools/:$PATH

git clang-format --extensions cpp,hpp --style file -v
# Possible predefined styles:
# Google
# Chromium
# Mozilla
# WebKit

# Change the code with:
# git clang-format --extensions cpp,hpp -style=llvm -v

if [[ $rc == 33 ]]
 echo "Nothing needs to be reformatted!"
 exit 0

echo -e "Would you like to continue to commit (y/n): \c"

# Make sure under any mode, we can read user input.
exec < /dev/tty
read cont

if [ "$cont" == "y" ]
 exit 0

exit 1

Commit your code

When you try to commit your code, given script will run and ask you if you want to continue to commit with changes files. You can check the difference and if you think it is OK, continue commiting. Your code will be fabulous.


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