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git/Documentation/git-update-ref.txt

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git-update-ref(1)
=================
NAME
----
git-update-ref - Update the object name stored in a ref safely
SYNOPSIS
--------
[verse]
'git update-ref' [-m <reason>] [--no-deref] (-d <ref> [<oldvalue>] | [--create-reflog] <ref> <newvalue> [<oldvalue>] | --stdin [-z])
DESCRIPTION
-----------
Given two arguments, stores the <newvalue> in the <ref>, possibly
dereferencing the symbolic refs. E.g. `git update-ref HEAD
<newvalue>` updates the current branch head to the new object.
Given three arguments, stores the <newvalue> in the <ref>,
possibly dereferencing the symbolic refs, after verifying that
the current value of the <ref> matches <oldvalue>.
E.g. `git update-ref refs/heads/master <newvalue> <oldvalue>`
updates the master branch head to <newvalue> only if its current
value is <oldvalue>. You can specify 40 "0" or an empty string
as <oldvalue> to make sure that the ref you are creating does
not exist.
It also allows a "ref" file to be a symbolic pointer to another
ref file by starting with the four-byte header sequence of
"ref:".
More importantly, it allows the update of a ref file to follow
these symbolic pointers, whether they are symlinks or these
"regular file symbolic refs". It follows *real* symlinks only
if they start with "refs/": otherwise it will just try to read
them and update them as a regular file (i.e. it will allow the
filesystem to follow them, but will overwrite such a symlink to
somewhere else with a regular filename).
If --no-deref is given, <ref> itself is overwritten, rather than
the result of following the symbolic pointers.
In general, using
git update-ref HEAD "$head"
should be a _lot_ safer than doing
echo "$head" > "$GIT_DIR/HEAD"
both from a symlink following standpoint *and* an error checking
standpoint. The "refs/" rule for symlinks means that symlinks
that point to "outside" the tree are safe: they'll be followed
for reading but not for writing (so we'll never write through a
ref symlink to some other tree, if you have copied a whole
archive by creating a symlink tree).
With `-d` flag, it deletes the named <ref> after verifying it
still contains <oldvalue>.
With `--stdin`, update-ref reads instructions from standard input and
performs all modifications together. Specify commands of the form:
update SP <ref> SP <newvalue> [SP <oldvalue>] LF
create SP <ref> SP <newvalue> LF
delete SP <ref> [SP <oldvalue>] LF
verify SP <ref> [SP <oldvalue>] LF
option SP <opt> LF
start LF
prepare LF
commit LF
abort LF
With `--create-reflog`, update-ref will create a reflog for each ref
even if one would not ordinarily be created.
Quote fields containing whitespace as if they were strings in C source
code; i.e., surrounded by double-quotes and with backslash escapes.
Use 40 "0" characters or the empty string to specify a zero value. To
specify a missing value, omit the value and its preceding SP entirely.
Alternatively, use `-z` to specify in NUL-terminated format, without
quoting:
update SP <ref> NUL <newvalue> NUL [<oldvalue>] NUL
create SP <ref> NUL <newvalue> NUL
delete SP <ref> NUL [<oldvalue>] NUL
verify SP <ref> NUL [<oldvalue>] NUL
option SP <opt> NUL
start NUL
prepare NUL
commit NUL
abort NUL
In this format, use 40 "0" to specify a zero value, and use the empty
string to specify a missing value.
In either format, values can be specified in any form that Git
recognizes as an object name. Commands in any other format or a
repeated <ref> produce an error. Command meanings are:
update::
Set <ref> to <newvalue> after verifying <oldvalue>, if given.
Specify a zero <newvalue> to ensure the ref does not exist
after the update and/or a zero <oldvalue> to make sure the
ref does not exist before the update.
create::
Create <ref> with <newvalue> after verifying it does not
exist. The given <newvalue> may not be zero.
delete::
Delete <ref> after verifying it exists with <oldvalue>, if
given. If given, <oldvalue> may not be zero.
verify::
Verify <ref> against <oldvalue> but do not change it. If
<oldvalue> is zero or missing, the ref must not exist.
option::
Modify behavior of the next command naming a <ref>.
The only valid option is `no-deref` to avoid dereferencing
a symbolic ref.
start::
Start a transaction. In contrast to a non-transactional session, a
transaction will automatically abort if the session ends without an
explicit commit. This command may create a new empty transaction when
the current one has been committed or aborted already.
prepare::
Prepare to commit the transaction. This will create lock files for all
queued reference updates. If one reference could not be locked, the
transaction will be aborted.
commit::
Commit all reference updates queued for the transaction, ending the
transaction.
abort::
Abort the transaction, releasing all locks if the transaction is in
prepared state.
If all <ref>s can be locked with matching <oldvalue>s
simultaneously, all modifications are performed. Otherwise, no
modifications are performed. Note that while each individual
<ref> is updated or deleted atomically, a concurrent reader may
still see a subset of the modifications.
LOGGING UPDATES
---------------
If config parameter "core.logAllRefUpdates" is true and the ref is one
under "refs/heads/", "refs/remotes/", "refs/notes/", or a pseudoref
like HEAD or ORIG_HEAD; or the file "$GIT_DIR/logs/<ref>" exists then
`git update-ref` will append a line to the log file
"$GIT_DIR/logs/<ref>" (dereferencing all symbolic refs before creating
the log name) describing the change in ref value. Log lines are
formatted as:
oldsha1 SP newsha1 SP committer LF
Where "oldsha1" is the 40 character hexadecimal value previously
stored in <ref>, "newsha1" is the 40 character hexadecimal value of
<newvalue> and "committer" is the committer's name, email address
and date in the standard Git committer ident format.
Optionally with -m:
oldsha1 SP newsha1 SP committer TAB message LF
Where all fields are as described above and "message" is the
value supplied to the -m option.
An update will fail (without changing <ref>) if the current user is
unable to create a new log file, append to the existing log file
or does not have committer information available.
GIT
---
Part of the linkgit:git[1] suite