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 * libgit2 "checkout" example - shows how to perform checkouts
 * Written by the libgit2 contributors
 * To the extent possible under law, the author(s) have dedicated all copyright
 * and related and neighboring rights to this software to the public domain
 * worldwide. This software is distributed without any warranty.
 * You should have received a copy of the CC0 Public Domain Dedication along
 * with this software. If not, see
 * <http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/>.

#include "common.h"

/* Define the printf format specifier to use for size_t output */
#if defined(_MSC_VER) || defined(__MINGW32__)
#	define PRIuZ "Iu"
#	define PRIxZ "Ix"
#	define PRIdZ "Id"
#	define PRIuZ "zu"
#	define PRIxZ "zx"
#	define PRIdZ "zd"

The following example demonstrates how to do checkouts with libgit2.

Recognized options are : --force: force the checkout to happen. --[no-]progress: show checkout progress, on by default. --perf: show performance data.

typedef struct {
  int force : 1;
  int progress : 1;
  int perf : 1;
} checkout_options;

static void print_usage(void)
  fprintf(stderr, "usage: checkout [options] <branch>\n"
    "Options are :\n"
    "  --git-dir: use the following git repository.\n"
    "  --force: force the checkout.\n"
    "  --[no-]progress: show checkout progress.\n"
    "  --perf: show performance data.\n");

static void parse_options(const char **repo_path, checkout_options *opts, struct args_info *args)
  if (args->argc <= 1)

  memset(opts, 0, sizeof(*opts));

  /* Default values */
  opts->progress = 1;

  for (args->pos = 1; args->pos < args->argc; ++args->pos) {
    const char *curr = args->argv[args->pos];
    int bool_arg;

    if (match_arg_separator(args)) {
    } else if (!strcmp(curr, "--force")) {
      opts->force = 1;
    } else if (match_bool_arg(&bool_arg, args, "--progress")) {
      opts->progress = bool_arg;
    } else if (match_bool_arg(&bool_arg, args, "--perf")) {
      opts->perf = bool_arg;
    } else if (match_str_arg(repo_path, args, "--git-dir")) {
    } else {

This function is called to report progression, ie. it's called once with a NULL path and the number of total steps, then for each subsequent path, the current completed_step value.

static void print_checkout_progress(const char *path, size_t completed_steps, size_t total_steps, void *payload)
  if (path == NULL) {
    printf("checkout started: %" PRIuZ " steps\n", total_steps);
  } else {
    printf("checkout: %s %" PRIuZ "/%" PRIuZ "\n", path, completed_steps, total_steps);

This function is called when the checkout completes, and is used to report the number of syscalls performed.

static void print_perf_data(const git_checkout_perfdata *perfdata, void *payload)
  printf("perf: stat: %" PRIuZ " mkdir: %" PRIuZ " chmod: %" PRIuZ "\n",
         perfdata->stat_calls, perfdata->mkdir_calls, perfdata->chmod_calls);

This is the main "checkout " function, responsible for performing a branch-based checkout.

static int perform_checkout_ref(git_repository *repo, git_annotated_commit *target, const char *target_ref, checkout_options *opts)
  git_checkout_options checkout_opts = GIT_CHECKOUT_OPTIONS_INIT;
  git_reference *ref = NULL, *branch = NULL;
  git_commit *target_commit = NULL;
  int err;

Setup our checkout options from the parsed options

  checkout_opts.checkout_strategy = GIT_CHECKOUT_SAFE;
  if (opts->force)
    checkout_opts.checkout_strategy = GIT_CHECKOUT_FORCE;

  if (opts->progress)
    checkout_opts.progress_cb = print_checkout_progress;

  if (opts->perf)
    checkout_opts.perfdata_cb = print_perf_data;

Grab the commit we're interested to move to

  err = git_commit_lookup(&target_commit, repo, git_annotated_commit_id(target));
  if (err != 0) {
    fprintf(stderr, "failed to lookup commit: %s\n", git_error_last()->message);
    goto cleanup;

Perform the checkout so the workdir corresponds to what target_commit contains.

Note that it's okay to pass a git_commit here, because it will be peeled to a tree.

  err = git_checkout_tree(repo, (const git_object *)target_commit, &checkout_opts);
  if (err != 0) {
    fprintf(stderr, "failed to checkout tree: %s\n", git_error_last()->message);
    goto cleanup;

Now that the checkout has completed, we have to update HEAD.

Depending on the "origin" of target (ie. it's an OID or a branch name), we might need to detach HEAD.

  if (git_annotated_commit_ref(target)) {
    const char *target_head;

    if ((err = git_reference_lookup(&ref, repo, git_annotated_commit_ref(target))) < 0)
      goto error;

    if (git_reference_is_remote(ref)) {
      if ((err = git_branch_create_from_annotated(&branch, repo, target_ref, target, 0)) < 0)
        goto error;
      target_head = git_reference_name(branch);
    } else {
      target_head = git_annotated_commit_ref(target);

    err = git_repository_set_head(repo, target_head);
  } else {
    err = git_repository_set_head_detached_from_annotated(repo, target);

  if (err != 0) {
    fprintf(stderr, "failed to update HEAD reference: %s\n", git_error_last()->message);
    goto cleanup;


  return err;

This corresponds to git switch --guess: if a given ref does not exist, git will by default try to guess the reference by seeing whether any remote has a branch called . If there is a single remote only that has it, then it is assumed to be the desired reference and a local branch is created for it.

The following is a simplified implementation. It will not try to check whether the ref is unique across all remotes.

static int guess_refish(git_annotated_commit **out, git_repository *repo, const char *ref)
  git_strarray remotes = { NULL, 0 };
  git_reference *remote_ref = NULL;
  int error;
  size_t i;

  if ((error = git_remote_list(&remotes, repo)) < 0)
    goto out;

  for (i = 0; i < remotes.count; i++) {
    char *refname = NULL;
    size_t reflen;

    reflen = snprintf(refname, 0, "refs/remotes/%s/%s", remotes.strings[i], ref);
    if ((refname = malloc(reflen + 1)) == NULL) {
      error = -1;
      goto next;
    snprintf(refname, reflen + 1, "refs/remotes/%s/%s", remotes.strings[i], ref);

    if ((error = git_reference_lookup(&remote_ref, repo, refname)) < 0)
      goto next;

    if (error < 0 && error != GIT_ENOTFOUND)

  if (!remote_ref) {
    error = GIT_ENOTFOUND;
    goto out;

  if ((error = git_annotated_commit_from_ref(out, repo, remote_ref)) < 0)
    goto out;

  return error;

That example's entry point

int lg2_checkout(git_repository *repo, int argc, char **argv)
  struct args_info args = ARGS_INFO_INIT;
  checkout_options opts;
  git_repository_state_t state;
  git_annotated_commit *checkout_target = NULL;
  int err = 0;
  const char *path = ".";

Parse our command line options

  parse_options(&path, &opts, &args);

Make sure we're not about to checkout while something else is going on

  state = git_repository_state(repo);
    fprintf(stderr, "repository is in unexpected state %d\n", state);
    goto cleanup;

  if (match_arg_separator(&args)) {

Try to checkout the given path

    fprintf(stderr, "unhandled path-based checkout\n");
    err = 1;
    goto cleanup;
  } else {

Try to resolve a "refish" argument to a target libgit2 can use

    if ((err = resolve_refish(&checkout_target, repo, args.argv[args.pos])) < 0 &&
        (err = guess_refish(&checkout_target, repo, args.argv[args.pos])) < 0) {
      fprintf(stderr, "failed to resolve %s: %s\n", args.argv[args.pos], git_error_last()->message);
      goto cleanup;
    err = perform_checkout_ref(repo, checkout_target, args.argv[args.pos], &opts);


  return err;