Git Pro Tip: Show Branch in Command Line Prompt

I am a heavy Git on command line user. Since I work a lot with branches it is important to know which branch I am currently on. Here's a nifty trick for all of you juggling many branches simultaneously. While I could type git branch every time and have a look at the result, this is pretty tedious. As there is always a command prompt visible on the command line, I was wondering what if the prompt instead of

MacDietrich:xtext-core dietrich$

would look like

MacDietrich:xtext-core[master] dietrich$

There is a solution for that: The magic PS1 environment variable that defines the prompt. We can simply change it to include the current git branch if there is one. I added following lines to my ~/.bash_profile file

parse_git_branch() {
    git branch 2> /dev/null | sed -e '/^[^*]/d' -e 's/* \(.*\)/[\1]/'
}
export PS1="\h:\W\$(parse_git_branch) \u$ "

and reloaded the ~/.bash_profile file by typing source ~/.bash_profile.

Problem solved.

About The Author

Christian is a committer for Xtext and has multiple years of experience applying Xtext in customer projects and providing community support in the Xtext forum.