A simple bash script to watch a git repository and pull upstream changes if needed.

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  • Updated at: 2020-06-15 19:57:44

Git Repo Watcher

A simple bash script to watch a git repository and pull upstream changes if available.


Basically, it will work anywhere you can install bash. If something doesn't work, please let me know.


To start, only the file path to your git repository is needed. This will start a watcher that looks for changes every 10 seconds:

./git-repo-watcher -d "/path/to/your/repository"

The time interval can be changed by passing it to -i:

./git-repo-watcher -d "/path/to/your/repository" -i 60 #seconds

You can add your own logic to git-repo-watcher-hooks. For example, you can start your build process in case of changes:

# $1 - Git repository name
# $2 - Branch name
# $3 - Commit details
change_pulled() {
    echo "Starting build for commit: $@"

If you have more than one repository you can pass a copy of the git-repo-watcher-hooks file like so:

./git-repo-watcher -d "/path/to/your/repository" -h "/path/to/your/hooks-file"

Make sure your local repository is tracking a remote branch, otherwise the script will fail.

Private repositories

The script works with private repositories.

First configure a password cache with git config --global credential.helper "cache --timeout=60". Make sure that the timeout is greater than the time interval given to the script. Both are given as seconds.

At startup, the program will execute git fetch and ask for your credentials.

If you want it to run in the background as a daemon process, you have to execute git fetch beforehand. For example:

cd "/path/to/your/repository"
git config --global credential.helper "cache --timeout=60"
git fetch

# Checking exit code
if [[ $? -eq 1 ]]; then
    echo "Wrong password!" >&2
    exit 1

# Disown process
./git-repo-watcher -d "/path/to/your/repository" > "/path/to/your/logfile.txt" & disown

Using on Windows 10

The easiest way is to install Git Shell, which also comes with bash. The only thing you have to consider are the file separators. The Unix format should be used here:


It is a little more difficult with WSL. This must first be installed and configured via the Windows Store. The file structure is also slightly different:


Note: In Ubuntu 20.04 LTS there is a bug that was introduced by Microsoft. The sleep command does not work. However, this is used by the git-repo-watcher. A temporary fix for this can be found in the same thread.

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS does not have this problem.


The test suite git-repo-watcher-tests is using the test framework shunit2, it will be downloaded automatically to your /tmp folder. The script doesn't need any other dependencies and doesn't need an internet connection.

The tests create several test Git repositories in the folder: /tmp/git-repo-watcher.

A git user should be configured, otherwise the tests will fail. Here you can see if this is the case:

git config --list

Otherwise you can set it as follows:

git config --global user.email "you@example.com"
git config --global user.name "Your Name"