I Built a Hook

The React 16.8 alpha introduces hooks! I’ve used them, and they’re everything I’ve dreamt about for composing state and side effects.

But that’s not what I’m talking about today. I’m talking about Git hooks.

Specifically, I’m talking about using a git pre-commit hook to automatically format all my code.

Why would I want to do this? It starts with go fmt.

A few years ago, I was writing Golang (Go). One thing I loved about Go was the opinionated, automatic formatting of code with go fmt. It was baked into the language. There were no configuration options. Most importantly, it eliminated an entire category of preference motivated bike-shedding that gets in the way of shipping useful tools to people.

In more recent years the Javascript community caught wind of this idea. James Long (and a whole bunch of contributors) gave us Prettier. It wasn’t baked into the language. But it was opinionated. I was happy to embrace these opinions to reap the benefits I’d discovered in Go.

I spend most of my time in Ruby. I want the experience I’ve found in Go and Javascript in Ruby. In very recent history, Justin Searls proposed standardrb for Ruby code. With my postive experience embracing formatters, I am ready to go all in on standardrb.

I’ve run into one hurdle formatting Ruby code. It’s comparatively slow. While go fmt and prettier have been fast enough to format-on-save in VS Code, standardrb seems to be just slow enough to make the experience jarring.

So with Ruby, I decided formatting my code on commit is good enough.

I borrowed from prettier’s example pre-commit hook, and built the equivalent for standardrb. I then combined the two to make my one pre-commit hook to rule them all.

They’re all wrapped up in a gist. I’ll probably be dropping this into many of my projects going forward. So far as an individual contributor, it just works!

Published: 2019-01-18

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