Commit Graph

12 Commits

Author SHA1 Message Date
Elijah Newren baf889c2cd sparse-index.h: move declarations for sparse-index.c from cache.h
Note in particular that this reverses the decision made in 118a2e8bde
("cache: move ensure_full_index() to cache.h", 2021-04-01).

Signed-off-by: Elijah Newren <>
Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
2023-06-21 13:39:53 -07:00
Junio C Hamano c276c21da6 Merge branch 'ds/sparse-sparse-checkout'
"sparse-checkout" learns to work well with the sparse-index

* ds/sparse-sparse-checkout:
  sparse-checkout: integrate with sparse index
  p2000: add test for 'git sparse-checkout [add|set]'
  sparse-index: complete partial expansion
  sparse-index: partially expand directories
  sparse-checkout: --no-sparse-index needs a full index
  cache-tree: implement cache_tree_find_path()
  sparse-index: introduce partially-sparse indexes
  sparse-index: create expand_index()
  t1092: stress test 'git sparse-checkout set'
  t1092: refactor 'sparse-index contents' test
2022-06-03 14:30:35 -07:00
Derrick Stolee dce241b020 sparse-index: create expand_index()
This is the first change in a series to allow modifying the
sparse-checkout pattern set without expanding a sparse index to a full
one in the process. Here, we focus on the problem of expanding the
pattern set through a command like 'git sparse-checkout add <path>'
which needs to create new index entries for the paths now being written
to the worktree.

To achieve this, we need to be able to replace sparse directory entries
with their contained files and subdirectories. Once this is complete,
other code paths can discover those cache entries and write the
corresponding files to disk before committing the index.

We already have logic in ensure_full_index() that expands the index
entries, so we will use that as our base. Create a new method,
expand_index(), which takes a pattern list, but for now mostly ignores
it. The current implementation is only correct when the pattern list is
NULL as that does the same as ensure_full_index(). In fact,
ensure_full_index() is converted to a shim over expand_index().

A future update will actually implement expand_index() to its full
capabilities. For now, it is created and documented.

Signed-off-by: Derrick Stolee <>
Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
2022-05-23 11:08:21 -07:00
Victoria Dye cfde4cd6ff sparse-index: expose 'is_sparse_index_allowed()'
Expose 'is_sparse_index_allowed()' publicly so that it may be used by
callers outside of 'sparse-index.c'. While no such callers exist yet, it
will be used in a subsequent commit.

Signed-off-by: Victoria Dye <>
Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
2022-05-10 16:45:12 -07:00
Elijah Newren af6a51875a repo_read_index: clear SKIP_WORKTREE bit from files present in worktree
The fix is short (~30 lines), but the description is not.  Sorry.

There is a set of problems caused by files in what I'll refer to as the
"present-despite-SKIP_WORKTREE" state.  This commit aims to not just fix
these problems, but remove the entire class as a possibility -- for
those using sparse checkouts.  But first, we need to understand the
problems this class presents.  A quick outline:

   * Problems
     * User facing issues
     * Problem space complexity
     * Maintenance and code correctness challenges
   * SKIP_WORKTREE expectations in Git
   * Suggested solution
   * Pros/Cons of suggested solution
   * Notes on testcase modifications

=== User facing issues ===

There are various ways for users to get files to be present in the
working copy despite having the SKIP_WORKTREE bit set for that file in
the index.  This may come from:
  * various git commands not really supporting the SKIP_WORKTREE bit[1,2]
  * users grabbing files from elsewhere and writing them to the worktree
    (perhaps even cached in their editor)
  * users attempting to "abort" a sparse-checkout operation with a
    not-so-early Ctrl+C (updating $GIT_DIR/info/sparse-checkout and the
    working tree is not atomic)[3].

Once users have present-despite-SKIP_WORKTREE files, any modifications
users make to these files will be ignored, possibly to users' confusion.

  * these files will degrade performance for the sparse-index case due
    to requiring the index to be expanded (see commit 55dfcf9591
    ("sparse-checkout: clear tracked sparse dirs", 2021-09-08) for why
    we try to delete entire directories outside the sparse cone).
  * these files will not be updated by by standard commands
    (switch/checkout/pull/merge/rebase will leave them alone unless
    conflicts happen -- and even then, the conflicted file may be
    written somewhere else to avoid overwriting the SKIP_WORKTREE file
    that is present and in the way)
  * there is nothing in Git that users can use to discover such
    files (status, diff, grep, etc. all ignore it)
  * there is no reasonable mechanism to "recover" from such a condition
    (neither `git sparse-checkout reapply` nor `git reset --hard` will
    correct it).

So, not only are users modifications ignored, but the files get
progressively more stale over time.  At some point in the future, they
may change their sparseness specification or disable sparse-checkouts.
At that time, all present-despite-SKIP_WORKTREE files will show up as
having lots of modifications because they represent a version from a
different branch or commit.  These might include user-made local changes
from days before, but the only way to tell is to have users look through
them all closely.

If these users come to others for help, there will be no logs that
explain the issue; it's just a mysterious list of changes.  Users might
adamantly claim (correctly, as it turns out) that they didn't modify
these files, while others presume they did.


=== Problem space complexity ===

SKIP_WORKTREE has been part of Git for over a decade.  Duy did lots of
work on it initially, and several others have since come along and put
lots of work into it.  Stolee spent most of 2021 on the sparse-index,
with lots of bugfixes along the way including to non-sparse-index cases
as we are still trying to get sparse checkouts to behave reasonably.
Basically every codepath throughout the treat needs to be aware of an
additional type of file: tracked-but-not-present.  The extra type
results in lots of extra testcases and lots of extra code everywhere.

But, the sad thing is that we actually have more than one extra type.
We have tracked, tracked-but-not-present (SKIP_WORKTREE), and
(present-despite-SKIP_WORKTREE).  Two types is a monumental amount of
effort to support, and adding a third feels a bit like insanity[4].

[4] Some examples of which can be seen at

=== Maintenance and code correctness challenges ===

Matheus' patches to grep stalled for nearly a year, in part because of
complications of how to handle sparse-checkouts appropriately in all
cases[5][6] (with trying to sanely figure out how to sanely handle
present-despite-SKIP_WORKTREE files being one of the complications).
His rm/add follow-ups also took months because of those kinds of
issues[7].  The corner cases with things like submodules and
SKIP_WORKTREE with the addition of present-despite-SKIP_WORKTREE start
becoming really complex[8].

We've had to add ugly logic to merge-ort to attempt to handle
present-despite-SKIP_WORKTREE files[9], and basically just been forced
to give up in merge-recursive knowing full well that we'll sometimes
silently discard user modifications.  Despite stash essentially being a
merge, it needed extra code (beyond what was in merge-ort and
merge-recursive) to manually tweak SKIP_WORKTREE bits in order to avoid
a few different bugs that'd result in an early abort with a partial
stash application[10].

[5] See
    and the dates on the thread; also Matheus and I had several
    conversations off-list trying to resolve the issues over that time
[6] finally kind of got unstuck after
[7] See for example
    and quotes like "The core functionality of sparse-checkout has always
    been only partially implemented", a statement I still believe is true
[9] See commit 66b209b86a ("merge-ort: implement CE_SKIP_WORKTREE
    handling with conflicted entries", 2021-03-20)
[10] See commit ba359fd507 ("stash: fix stash application in
     sparse-checkouts", 2020-12-01)

=== SKIP_WORKTREE expectations in Git ===

A couple quotes:

 * From [11] (before the "sparse-checkout" command existed):

   If it needs too many special cases, hacks, and conditionals, then it
   is not worth the complexity---if it is easier to write a correct code
   by allowing Git to populate working tree files, it is perfectly fine
   to do so.

   In a sense, the sparse checkout "feature" itself is a hack by itself,
   and that is why I think this part should be "best effort" as well.

 * From the git-sparse-checkout manual (still present today):



=== Suggested solution ===

SKIP_WORKTREE was written to allow sparse-checkouts, in particular, as
the name of the option implies, to allow the file to NOT be in the
worktree but consider it to be unchanged rather than deleted.

The suggests a simple solution: present-despite-SKIP_WORKTREE files
should not exist, for those using sparse-checkouts.

Enforce this at index loading time by checking if core.sparseCheckout is
true; if so, check files in the index with the SKIP_WORKTREE bit set to
verify that they are absent from the working tree.  If they are present,
unset the bit (in memory, though any commands that write to the index
will record the update).

Users can, of course, can get the SKIP_WORKTREE bit back such as by
running `git sparse-checkout reapply` (if they have ensured the file is
unmodified and doesn't match the specified sparsity patterns).

=== Pros/Cons of suggested solution ===


  * Solves the user visible problems reported above, which I've been
    complaining about for nearly a year but couldn't find a solution to.
  * Helps prevent slow performance degradation with a sparse-index.
  * Much easier behavior in sparse-checkouts for users to reason about
  * Very simple, ~30 lines of code.
  * Significantly simplifies some ugly testcases, and obviates the need
    to test an entire class of potential issues.
  * Reduces code complexity, reasoning, and maintenance.  Avoids
    disagreements about weird corner cases[12].
  * It has been reported that some users might be (ab)using
    SKIP_WORKTREE as a let-me-modify-but-keep-the-file-in-the-worktree
    mechanism[13, and a few other similar references].  These users know
    of multiple caveats and shortcomings in doing so; perhaps not
    surprising given the "SKIP_WORKTREE expecations" section above.
    However, these users use `git update-index --skip-worktree`, and not
    `git sparse-checkout` or core.sparseCheckout=true.  As such, these
    users would be unaffected by this change and can continue abusing
    the system as before.



  * When core.sparseCheckout is enabled, this adds a performance cost to
    reading the index.  I'll defer discussion of this cost to a subsequent
    patch, since I have some optimizations to add.

=== Notes on testcase modifications ===

The good:
  * t1011: Compare to two cases above it ('read-tree will not throw away
    dirty changes, non-sparse'); since the file is present, it should
    match the non-sparse case now
  * t1092: sparse-index & sparse-checkout now match full-worktree
    behavior in more cases!  Yaay for consistency!
  * t6428, t7012: look at how much simpler the tests become!  Merge and
    stash can just fail early telling the user there's a file in the
    way, instead of not noticing until it's about to write a file and
    then have to implement sudden crash avoidance.  Hurray for sanity!
  * t7817: sparse behavior better matches full tree behavior.  Hurray
    for sanity!

The confusing:
  * t3705: These changes were ONLY needed on Windows, but they don't
    hurt other platforms.  Let's discuss each individually:

    * core.sparseCheckout should be false by default.  Nothing in this
      testcase toggles that until many, many tests later.  However,
      early tests (#5 in particular) were testing `update-index
      --skip-worktree` behavior in a non-sparse-checkout, but the
      Windows tests in CI were behaving as if core.sparseCheckout=true
      had been specified somewhere.  I do not have access to a Windows
      machine.  But I just manually did what should have been a no-op
      and turned the config off.  And it fixed the test.
    * I have no idea why the leftover .gitattributes file from this
      test was causing failures for test #18 on Windows, but only with
      these changes of mine.  Test #18 was checking for empty stderr,
      and specifically wanted to know that some error completely
      unrelated to file endings did not appear.  The leftover
      .gitattributes file thus caused some spurious stderr unrelated to
      the thing being checked.  Since other tests did not intend to
      test normalization, just proactively remove the .gitattributes
      file.  I'm certain this is cleaner and better, I'm just unsure
      why/how this didn't trigger problems before.

Signed-off-by: Elijah Newren <>
Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
2022-01-14 14:43:22 -08:00
Victoria Dye b93fea08d2 sparse-index: add ensure_correct_sparsity function
The `ensure_correct_sparsity` function is intended to provide a means of
aligning the in-core index with the sparsity required by the repository
settings and other properties of the index. The function first checks
whether a sparse index is allowed (per repository & sparse checkout pattern
settings). If the sparse index may be used, the index is converted to
sparse; otherwise, it is explicitly expanded with `ensure_full_index`.

Helped-by: Junio C Hamano <>
Signed-off-by: Victoria Dye <>
Reviewed-by: Elijah Newren <>
Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
2021-11-24 16:32:38 -08:00
Derrick Stolee ce7a9f0141 sparse-index: add SPARSE_INDEX_MEMORY_ONLY flag
The convert_to_sparse() method checks for the GIT_TEST_SPARSE_INDEX
environment variable or the "index.sparse" config setting before
converting the index to a sparse one. This is for ease of use since all
current consumers are preparing to compress the index before writing it
to disk. If these settings are not enabled, then convert_to_sparse()
silently returns without doing anything.

We will add a consumer in the next change that wants to use the sparse
index as an in-memory data structure, regardless of whether the on-disk
format should be sparse.

To that end, create the SPARSE_INDEX_MEMORY_ONLY flag that will skip
these config checks when enabled. All current consumers are modified to
pass '0' in the new 'flags' parameter.

Signed-off-by: Derrick Stolee <>
Reviewed-by: Elijah Newren <>
Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
2021-09-07 22:41:10 -07:00
Derrick Stolee 71f82d032f sparse-index: expand_to_path()
Some users of the index API have a specific path they are looking for,
but choose to use index_file_exists() to rely on the name-hash hashtable
instead of doing binary search with index_name_pos(). These users only
need to know a yes/no answer, not a position within the cache array.

When the index is sparse, the name-hash hash table does not contain the
full list of paths within sparse directories. It _does_ contain the
directory names for the sparse-directory entries.

Create a helper function, expand_to_path(), for intended use with the
name-hash hashtable functions. The integration with name-hash.c will
follow in a later change.

The solution here is to use ensure_full_index() when we determine that
the requested path is within a sparse directory entry. This will
populate the name-hash hashtable as the index is recomputed from

There may be cases where the caller is trying to find an untracked path
that is not in the index but also is not within a sparse directory
entry. We want to minimize the overhead for these requests. If we used
index_name_pos() to find the insertion order of the path, then we could
determine from that position if a sparse-directory exists. (In fact,
just calling index_name_pos() in that case would lead to expanding the
index to a full index.) However, this takes O(log N) time where N is the
number of cache entries.

To keep the performance of this call based mostly on the input string,
use index_file_exists() to look for the ancestors of the path. Using the
heuristic that a sparse directory is likely to have a small number of
parent directories, we start from the bottom and build up. Use a string
buffer to allow mutating the path name to terminate after each slash for
each hashset test.

Signed-off-by: Derrick Stolee <>
Reviewed-by: Elijah Newren <>
Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
2021-04-14 13:47:54 -07:00
Derrick Stolee 118a2e8bde cache: move ensure_full_index() to cache.h
Soon we will insert ensure_full_index() calls across the codebase.
Instead of also adding include statements for sparse-index.h, let's just
use the fact that anything that cares about the index already has
cache.h in its includes.

Signed-off-by: Derrick Stolee <>
Reviewed-by: Elijah Newren <>
Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
2021-04-14 13:46:41 -07:00
Derrick Stolee 122ba1f7b5 sparse-checkout: toggle sparse index from builtin
The sparse index extension is used to signal that index writes should be
in sparse mode. This was only updated using GIT_TEST_SPARSE_INDEX=1.

Add a '--[no-]sparse-index' option to 'git sparse-checkout init' that
specifies if the sparse index should be used. It also updates the index
to use the correct format, either way. Add a warning in the
documentation that the use of a repository extension might reduce
compatibility with third-party tools. 'git sparse-checkout init' already
sets extension.worktreeConfig, which places most sparse-checkout users
outside of the scope of most third-party tools.

Update to use this CLI instead of

Signed-off-by: Derrick Stolee <>
Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
2021-03-30 12:57:48 -07:00
Derrick Stolee 6e773527b6 sparse-index: convert from full to sparse
If we have a full index, then we can convert it to a sparse index by
replacing directories outside of the sparse cone with sparse directory
entries. The convert_to_sparse() method does this, when the situation is

For now, we avoid converting the index to a sparse index if:

 1. the index is split.
 2. the index is already sparse.
 3. sparse-checkout is disabled.
 4. sparse-checkout does not use cone mode.

Finally, we currently limit the conversion to when the
GIT_TEST_SPARSE_INDEX environment variable is enabled. A mode using Git
config will be added in a later change.

The trickiest thing about this conversion is that we might not be able
to mark a directory as a sparse directory just because it is outside the
sparse cone. There might be unmerged files within that directory, so we
need to look for those. Also, if there is some strange reason why a file
is not marked with CE_SKIP_WORKTREE, then we should give up on
converting that directory. There is still hope that some of its
subdirectories might be able to convert to sparse, so we keep looking

The conversion process is assisted by the cache-tree extension. This is
calculated from the full index if it does not already exist. We then
abandon the cache-tree as it no longer applies to the newly-sparse
index. Thus, this cache-tree will be recalculated in every
sparse-full-sparse round-trip until we integrate the cache-tree
extension with the sparse index.

Some Git commands use the index after writing it. For example, 'git add'
will update the index, then write it to disk, then read its entries to
report information. To keep the in-memory index in a full state after
writing, we re-expand it to a full one after the write. This is wasteful
for commands that only write the index and do not read from it again,
but that is only the case until we make those commands "sparse aware."

We can compare the behavior of the sparse-index in by using GIT_TEST_SPARSE_INDEX=1
when operating on the 'sparse-index' repo. We can also compare the two
sparse repos directly, such as comparing their indexes (when expanded to
full in the case of the 'sparse-index' repo). We also verify that the
index is actually populated with sparse directory entries.

The 'checkout and reset (mixed)' test is marked for failure when
comparing a sparse repo to a full repo, but we can compare the two
sparse-checkout cases directly to ensure that we are not changing the
behavior when using a sparse index.

Signed-off-by: Derrick Stolee <>
Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
2021-03-30 12:57:47 -07:00
Derrick Stolee 3964fc2aae sparse-index: add guard to ensure full index
Upcoming changes will introduce modifications to the index format that
allow sparse directories. It will be useful to have a mechanism for
converting those sparse index files into full indexes by walking the
tree at those sparse directories. Name this method ensure_full_index()
as it will guarantee that the index is fully expanded.

This method is not implemented yet, and instead we focus on the
scaffolding to declare it and call it at the appropriate time.

Add a 'command_requires_full_index' member to struct repo_settings. This
will be an indicator that we need the index in full mode to do certain
index operations. This starts as being true for every command, then we
will set it to false as some commands integrate with sparse indexes.

If 'command_requires_full_index' is true, then we will immediately
expand a sparse index to a full one upon reading from disk. This
suffices for now, but we will want to add more callers to
ensure_full_index() later.

Signed-off-by: Derrick Stolee <>
Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
2021-03-30 12:57:45 -07:00