User-level Git Exclusions

I recently adopted JetBrains IntelliJ IDEA IDE with the rapidly-improving Go plugin for working on Go code (of course using IdeaVim!). I’ll post more about using IntelliJ as an IDE for Go in future (it recently grew support for debugging using Delve), but the only downside for me so far is that it generates a directory in each project you work in to contain caches and so forth.

It is fairly commonplace for .gitignore files used by Java projects to ignore IDEA files along with other common IDE files, but this is not so for Go repositories. Fortunately, there are two ways to get around this problem without making pull requests to every project to add ignore patterns for a fairly non-standard editor!

Local ignore without .gitignore

Placing the following lines into the .git/info/exclude file will stop git tracking them in a single repository:


User-level .gitignore

I actually never want to check in IDEA files from any repository - unlike .NET the IDE is not co-mingled with the build system. IDEA will regenerate the projects for a fresh checkout of a repository without complaint for all project types that I’ve worked with (it is possible that there are others not capable of this though).

Git has a configuration setting named core.excludesfile which allows setting a global .gitignore which is additive to those in each repository. To do that, the following command is used:

git config --global core.excludesfile ~/.dotfiles/global-gitignore

And then the the contents of ~/.dotfiles/global-gitignore is simply:


For the rare occasion I actually do want to add one of the excluded files, the standard method of git add -f file.iml still works.

Adding this to my configuration management system means I should never have to think about this again, but that’s probably not true, hence this post…