Git tips for working with pull requests

I spend at least 50% of each day reviewing, amended (and occasionally merging) pull requests, adding both commits and comments. As such I often want to quickly jump from a terminal window to the pull request detail page to check previous comments or add new.

Even with the excellent hub git wrapper, there’s no easy way to do this. I can jump to the pull request list page with:

git pulls

where pulls is aliased in ~/.gitconfig as:

pulls = !hub browse -- pulls

but there’s no easy way to jump to the pull request detail page in one command1.

So we use a bash script that makes a HTTP call to the Github API and parses the response with jq. Here’s the source to which just needs to be somewhere on your path2:

# Open the Github pull request detail page for the current branch
# Requires:
# - httpie and jq.

GITHUB_ORG=$(git config --local remote.origin.url | cut -d: -f2 | cut -d/ -f1)
GITHUB_REPO=$(git config --local remote.origin.url | cut -d/ -f2 | cut -d. -f1)
BRANCH=$(git rev-parse --abbrev-ref HEAD)

fetch_pr_detail_url() {
    http$GITHUB_ORG/$GITHUB_REPO/pulls \
        head=="$GITHUB_ORG:$BRANCH" \
        Authorization:"token $GITHUB_AUTH_TOKEN" | jq -r '.[].html_url'

main() {
    if [ -z "$GITHUB_AUTH_TOKEN" ]; then
        echo "A GITHUB_AUTH_TOKEN env var is required"
        exit 1


    if [ -z "$GITHUB_PULL_URL" ]; then
        echo "No pull request found from branch $BRANCH"
        exit 1
        open "$GITHUB_PULL_URL"


For this to work, you need to create a personal API token and export it as an GITHUB_AUTH_TOKEN env var in your ~/.bashrc.

Alias this to something memorable, such as:

openpr = "!f() {; }; f"

I would use git pr but I’ve already got that aliased to create a new pull request:

pr = !git publish && hub pull-request


publish = !git push -u origin $(git branchname)
branchname = !git rev-parse --abbrev-ref HEAD

Works a treat.

  1. Although you can get there with a command and a click using the hub command:

    $ git compare

    which opens a page with a link to the pull request detail page, if one exists. ↩︎

  2. I use ~/Dropbox/bin/ for this kind of thing. ↩︎


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Tagged with: git, jq
Filed in: tips

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