Git Sample: Intend-to-Add in Git

The git add command is executed blindly, but you can control it more or less using the “—patch” option. But unfortunately, it only works well with modified or deleted files, but the untracked files will not be displayed.

$ echo "Hello, World!" > untracked
$ git status --short
?? untracked
$ git add --patch
No changes.

This is treated by the option --intend-to-add. According to the documentation, this option changes the behavior of git add as follows:

Record only the fact that the path will be added later. An entry for the path is placed in the index with no content. This is useful for, among other things, showing the unstaged content of such files with git diff and committing them with git commit -a (, 2014).

It means that after the git add --intend-to-add the untracked files will be added to the index tree, but without the content. Now, when you run git add –patch it will show differences in all previously indexed untracked files even with a list of changes. This allows you to view the entire file, line by line, before the indexing. You can even cancel the indexing of any lines by simply removing them from the patch.

$ echo "Hello, World!" > untracked
$ git status --short
?? untracked
$ git add --intent-to-add untracked
$ git status --short
AM untracked
$ git add --patch
diff --git a/untracked b/untracked
index e69de29..8ab686e 100644
--- a/untracked
+++ b/untracked
@@ -0,0 +1 @@
+Hello, World!
Stage this hunk [y,n,q,a,d,/,e,?]?

For convenience, it is possible to designate add --all --intent-to-add in .gitconfig as, for example, aa and add –patchap. And in this case it will be enough to write such a thing for the majority of commits:

$ git aa
$ git ap
Or in the gitsh:
& aa
& ap

Thanks for your attention!


“Intent to Add.” Intent to Add. N.p., 12 Aug. 2014. Web. 10 Aug. 2016.

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