Running coding standard checks before committing code can save you a lot of time triaging CI failures. This is a good use-case for using Git pre-commit hooks. Let’s take a look at how to implement checks in a Git pre-commit hook.

Installing a Hook

Hooks can installed locally or globally. The hooks are all stored in the hooks subdirectory of the Git directory. In most projects, that’s .git/hooks, but you can set a custom location by setting core.hooksPath:

mkdir ~/.githooks
git config core.hooksPath ~/.githooks

To set a global hooks path:

git config --global core.hooksPath ~/.githooks

Let’s create a hook that print “Hello world” before commits:

Create the hook script:

echo "Hello world" > ~/.githooks/pre-commit

Make sure the file is executable:

chmod 744 ~/.githooks/pre-commit

The hook is invoked by git-commit and will print “Hello world”:

$ git commit -m ":zap: KAPOW"
Hello world

Hooks can be bypassed with the --no-verify option:

git commit --no-verify

When a hook script exits with a non-zero status from this script causes the git commit command to abort before creating a commit. The Git documentation provides a list of possible hooks you can use: Git Hooks documentation.

Printing Hello world is not particularly exciting or useful. Let’s take a look at something more useful: running a php-cs-fixer check before committing.

PHP Coding Standards Fixer

The PHP Coding Standards Fixer (PHP CS Fixer) tool fixes your code to follow standards; whether you want to follow PHP coding standards as defined in the PSR-1, PSR-2, etc., or other community driven ones like the Symfony one.

Here is an out-of-the-box example of PHP-CS-FIXER pre commit hook:

PHP Coding Standards Fixer pre commit hook.

This may be overkill for your needs so copy and modify. It will run php-cs-fixer in quiet mode before commits and if there is violation it will re-run it with details such as diff of the issue. It’s easy enough to install:

Create a Git hooks directory:

mkdir ~/.githooks

Configure Git to use the hooks:

git config --global core.hooksPath ~/.githooks

Download or copy the pre-commit hook to your Git hooks location:

Make sure the file is executable:

chmod 744 ~/.githooks/pre-commit


Further reading