gitolite triggers

Gitolite runs trigger code at several different times. The features you enable in the rc file determine what commands to run (or functions in perl modules to call) at each trigger point. Example of trigger points are INPUT, PRE_GIT, POST_COMPILE, etc.; the full list is examined later in this page.

Quick tip: triggers are to gitolite what hooks are to git; we simply use a different name to avoid constantly having to clarify which hooks we mean! The other difference in gitolite is that each trigger runs multiple pieces of code, not just one program with the same name as the hook, like git does.

types of trigger programs

There are two types of trigger programs. Standalone scripts are placed in triggers or its subdirectories. Such scripts are quick and easy to write in any language of your choice.

Triggers written as perl modules are placed in lib/Gitolite/Triggers. Perl modules have to follow some conventions (see some of the shipped modules for ideas) but the advantage is that they can set environment variables and change the argument list of the gitolite-shell program that invokes them.

If you intend to write your own triggers, it's a good idea to examine a default install of gitolite, paying attention to:

  • the path names in various trigger lists in the rc file,
  • corresponding path names in the src/ directory in gitolite source,
  • and for perl modules, the package names and function names within.

manually firing triggers

It's easy to manually fire triggers from the server command line. For example:

gitolite trigger POST_COMPILE

However if the triggered code depends on arguments (see next section) this won't work. (The POST_COMPILE trigger programs all just happen to not require any arguments, so it works).

common arguments

Triggers receive the following arguments:

  1. Any arguments mentioned in the rc file (for an example, see the renice command).

  2. The name of the trigger as a string (example, "POST_COMPILE"), so you can call the same program from multiple triggers and it can know where it was called from.

  3. And finally, zero or more arguments specific to the trigger, as given in the next section.

trigger-specific arguments and other details

Here are the rest of the arguments for each trigger, plus a brief description of when the trigger runs. (Note that when the repo name is passed in as an argument, it is without the '.git' suffix).

  • INPUT runs before pretty much anything else. INPUT trigger scripts must be in perl, since they manipulate the arguments and the environment of the 'gitolite-shell' program itself. Most commonly they will read/change @ARGV, and/or $ENV{SSH_ORIGINAL_COMMAND}.

    There are certain conventions to adhere to; please see some of the shipped samples or ask me if you need help writing your own.

  • ACCESS_1 runs after the first access check. Extra arguments:

    • repo
    • user
    • 'R' or 'W'
    • 'any'
    • result (see notes below)

    'result' is the return value of the access() function. If it contains the uppercase word "DENIED", the access was rejected. Otherwise it is the refex that caused the access to succeed.

    Note that if access is rejected, gitolite-shell will die as soon as it returns from the trigger.

  • ACCESS_2 runs after the second access check, which is invoked by the update hook to check the ref. Extra arguments:

    • repo
    • user
    • any of W, +, C, D, WM, +M, CM, DM
    • the ref being updated (e.g., 'refs/heads/master')
    • result
    • old SHA
    • new SHA

    ACCESS_2 also runs on each VREF that gets checked. In this case the "ref" argument will start with "VREF/", and the last two arguments won't be passed.

    'result' is similar to ACCESS_1, except that it is the update hook which dies as soon as access is rejected for the ref or any of the VREFs. Control then returns to git, and then to gitolite-shell, so the POST_GIT trigger will run.

  • PRE_GIT and POST_GIT run just before and after the git command. Extra arguments:

    • repo
    • user
    • 'R' or 'W'
    • 'any'
    • the git command ('git-receive-pack', 'git-upload-pack', or 'git-upload-archive') being invoked.

    Note that the POST_GIT trigger has no way of knowing if the push succeeded, because 'git-shell' (or maybe 'git-receive-pack', I don't know) exits cleanly even if the update hook died.

  • PRE_CREATE and POST_CREATE run just before and after a new repo is created. In addition, any command that creates a repo (like 'fork') or potentially changes permissions (like 'perms') may choose to run POST_CREATE.

    Extra arguments for normal repo creation (i.e., by adding a "repo foo" line to the conf file):

    • repo

    Extra arguments for wild repo creation:

    • repo
    • user
    • invoking operation
      • 'R' for fetch/clone/ls-remote, 'W' for push
      • can also be anything set by the command running the trigger (e.g., see the perms and fork commands). This lets the trigger code know how it was invoked.
  • POST_COMPILE runs after an admin push has successfully "compiled" the config file. By default, the next thing is to update the ssh authkeys file, then all the 'git-config's, gitweb access, and daemon access.

    No extra arguments.

adding your own scripts to a trigger

Note: for gitolite v3.3 or less, adding your own scripts to a trigger list was simply a matter of finding the trigger name in the rc file and adding an entry to it. Even for gitolite v3.4 or higher, if your rc file was created before v3.4, it will continue to work, and you can continue to add triggers to it the same way as before.

The rc file (from v3.4 on) does not have trigger lists; it has a simple list of "features" within a list called "ENABLE" in the rc file. Simply comment out or uncomment appropriate entries, and gitolite will internally create the trigger lists correctly.

This is fine for triggers that are shipped with gitolite, but does present a problem when you want to add your own.

Here's how to do that: Let's say you wrote yourself a trigger script called 'foo', to be invoked from the POST_CREATE trigger list. To do that, just add the following to the rc file, just before the ENABLE section:

POST_CREATE                 =>

Since the ENABLE list pulls in the rest of the trigger entries, this will be effectively as if you had done this in a v3.3 rc file:

POST_CREATE                 =>

As you can see, the 'foo' gets added to the top of the list.

adding a perl module as a trigger

If your trigger is a perl module, as opposed to a standalone script or executable, the process is almost the same as above, except what you add to the rc file it looks like this:

POST_CREATE                 =>

Gitolite will add the Gitolite::Triggers:: prefix to the name given there.

The subroutine to be run (in this example, post_create) is looked for in the Gitolite::Triggers::Foo package, so this requires that the perl module start with a package header like this:

package Gitolite::Triggers::Foo;

displaying the resulting trigger list

You can use the 'gitolite query-rc' command to see what the trigger list actually looks like. For example:

gitolite query-rc POST_CREATE

tips and examples

  1. If you have code that latches onto more than one trigger, collecting data (such as for logging), then the outputs may be intermixed. You can record the value of the environment variable GL_TID to tie together related entries.

    The documentation on the log file format has more on this.

  2. If you look at, you'll see that it's input() function doesn't set or change anything, but does set a package variable to record the start time. Later, when the same module's post_git() function is invoked, it uses this variable to determine elapsed time.

    (This is a very nice and simple example of how you can implement features by latching onto multiple events and sharing data to do something).

  3. You can even change the reponame the user sees, behind his back. handles that.

  4. Finally, as an exercise for the reader, consider how you would create a brand new env var that contains the comment field of the ssh pubkey that was used to gain access, using the information here.