Git: Putting All Submodules on Their Branches

By default, submodules are initialized in a detached-head state and not made to track specific branches, even when you specify a branch when initially adding the submodule. This means that any commits you produce will not be on a particular branch and the head commit will not be updated to point to new commits (you would not be able to push any new commits, at least not in the way you expect). This is fine where there is no active development, but, otherwise, you would likely need to intervene and individually checkout each project to the branches.

Assuming you specified a branch when you added the submodule, you can use the “git submodule foreach” subcommand to automate this:

git submodule foreach --recursive 'git checkout $(git config -f .gitmodules --get submodule.$name.branch)'

You can run this from your supermodule project or qualify the “.gitmodule” filename with its path.

If you need something more complicated, you can obviously write a script and call it from this context.


Weather Dashboard from the CLI

It will presumably fall-back to finding the geographic area of your IP if a location is not provided/searched, though it had trouble with mine.


Just when you think the adventure is over, you might decide to try it in the browser and discover that it can also serve HTML:

Weather report: 33301 - Google Chrome_693.png

Unfortunately, the search mechanism doesn’t work the same as it does at the command-prompt, if at all. So, I needed to provide a zip-code.

The same guy also produces a service to print QR-codes from the command-line using just the available resolution:


Git: Automatically Squashing at the Prompt

I do a huge amount of squashing, every day of the week. Ever the kind of engineer who wishes to optimize every single redundant operation, I wrote a simple script and then aliased it in my shell. When I do a commit that I know I will be squashing into the previous commit, I simply do a “git commit -m SQUASH -a” and then run “SQUASH_LAST” (my alias, which is autocompleted) to run the squash. The script verifies that the last commit message starts with “SQUASH” (for verification/sanity), executes the squash, and then prints the current commit, previous commit, and final commit revisions.

It is extremely convenient and saves a ton of time and annoyingly-repetitive steps.

The script (which I put in my home):

#!/bin/bash -e

HEAD_COMMIT_MESSAGE=$(git log --format=%B -1 HEAD)

# For safety. Our use-case is usually to always just squash into a commit
# that's associated with an active change. We really don't want lose our head
# and accidentally squash something that wasn't intended to be squashed.
if [[ "${HEAD_COMMIT_MESSAGE}" != SQUASH* ]]; then
    echo "SQUASH: Commit to be squashed should have 'SQUASH' as its commit-message."
    exit 1

git log --format=%B -1 HEAD~1 >"${_FILEPATH}"

echo "Initial head: $(git rev-parse HEAD)"

git reset --soft HEAD~2 >/dev/null

echo "Head after reset: $(git rev-parse HEAD)"

git commit -F $_FILEPATH >/dev/null

echo "Head after commit: $(git rev-parse HEAD)"


The alias (for completeness):

alias SQUASH_LAST='<filepath>'

It really is about the little things.

I have also put the script into a gist.

Go: Testing Against Application Binaries

Unit-testing in Go is simple and a pleasure. The minimum structure required to do unit-tests is scarcely more than that required to write any kind of code. In fact, most of the time it is so easy that you are almost, arguably, guaranteed to waste time doing any debugging at all before you have written unit-tests.

However, it may take a little more thought to test your executables. Even though you can still have a unit-testing source-file (“*_test.go”) and you can call your main() to do something, it’s non-trivial to capture your output and/or pass arguments:

  • You might end-up using os.Pipe() to hook stdout/stderr and launching a goroutine to read from the other end, but you might have issues.
  • Your test might call back into the execute in os.Args[0] (the tests run from a test-specific binary generated by the testing process), but this won’t accept the arbitrary command-line arguments required by your application.
  • You might wrap a call to “go test” and try to pass “-args ” (“-args” is like “–” for tests, where all following arguments are passed verbatim), but I have had issues with this.

Naturally, you want to avoid having to kick-off a build of your application at the top of the tests in order to have something to test against.

You can use “go run” with exec.Command (in os/exec) to easily accomplish all of this while still avoiding a manual build. You can even provide it alternative io.Writer instances in order to capture stdout/stderr output.


package main

import (


var (
    assetsPath = ""
    appFilepath = ""

func TestMain(t *testing.T) {
    imageFilepath := path.Join(assetsPath, "NDM_8901.jpg")

    cmd := exec.Command(
            "go", "run", appFilepath,
            "-filepath", imageFilepath)

    b := new(bytes.Buffer)
    cmd.Stdout = b
    cmd.Stderr = b

    err := cmd.Run()
    actual := b.String()

    if err != nil {

    expected := `IFD=[IfdIdentity] ID=(0x010f) NAME=[Make] COUNT=(6) TYPE=[ASCII] VALUE=[Canon]
IFD=[IfdIdentity] ID=(0x0110) NAME=[Model] COUNT=(22) TYPE=[ASCII] VALUE=[Canon EOS 5D Mark III]
IFD=[IfdIdentity] ID=(0x0112) NAME=[Orientation] COUNT=(1) TYPE=[SHORT] VALUE=[1]
IFD=[IfdIdentity] ID=(0x011a) NAME=[XResolution] COUNT=(1) TYPE=[RATIONAL] VALUE=[72/1]
IFD=[IfdIdentity] ID=(0x011b) NAME=[YResolution] COUNT=(1) TYPE=[RATIONAL] VALUE=[72/1]
IFD=[IfdIdentity] ID=(0x0128) NAME=[ResolutionUnit] COUNT=(1) TYPE=[SHORT] VALUE=[2]
IFD=[IfdIdentity] ID=(0x0128) NAME=[ResolutionUnit] COUNT=(1) TYPE=[SHORT] VALUE=[2]
IFD=[IfdIdentity] ID=(0x0201) NAME=[JPEGInterchangeFormat] COUNT=(1) TYPE=[LONG] VALUE=[11444]
IFD=[IfdIdentity] ID=(0x0202) NAME=[JPEGInterchangeFormatLength] COUNT=(1) TYPE=[LONG] VALUE=[21491]

    if actual != expected {
        t.Fatalf("Output not as expected:\n%s", actual)

func init() {
    goPath := os.Getenv("GOPATH")

    assetsPath = path.Join(goPath, "src", "", "dsoprea", "go-exif", "assets")
    appFilepath = path.Join(goPath, "src", "", "dsoprea", "go-exif", "exif-read-tool", "main.go")