Easy way to pull latest of all git submodules

Note: This is from 2009 and may have been good then but there are better options now.

We use this. It’s called git-pup:

# Exists to fully update the git repo that you are sitting in...

git pull && git submodule init && git submodule update && git submodule status

Just put it in a suitable bin directory (/usr/local/bin). If on Windows, you may need to modify the syntax to get it to work 🙂


In response to the comment by the original author about pulling in all of the HEADs of all of the submodules — that is a good question.

I am pretty sure that git does not have a command for this internally. In order to do so, you would need to identify what HEAD really is for a submodule. That could be as simple as saying master is the most up to date branch, etc…

Following this, create a simple script that does the following:

  1. check git submodule status for “modified” repositories. The first character of the output lines indicates this. If a sub-repo is modified, you may NOT want to proceed.
  2. for each repo listed, cd into it’s directory and run git checkout master && git pull. Check for errors.
  3. At the end, I suggest you print a display to the user to indicate the current status of the submodules — perhaps prompt them to add all and commit?

I’d like to mention that this style is not really what git submodules were designed for. Typically, you want to say “LibraryX” is at version “2.32” and will stay that way until I tell it to “upgrade”.

That is, in a sense, what you are doing with the described script, but just more automatically. Care is required!

Update 2:

If you are on a windows platform, you may want to look at using Python to implement the script as it is very capable in these areas. If you are on unix/linux, then I suggest just a bash script.

Need any clarifications? Just post a comment.


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