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Git shallow clone for faster version control

Contributing to open-source software is great fun. The feeling of being a part of a larger community and adding to something larger than yourself. As a consequence, you work on large projects with lots of version control history.

This post is a reminder to myself to use this git clone flag to make it easier on my hard drive and make git work faster when doing day-to-day version control commands.

The key flag is the --depth flag. According to the documentation, this flag helps to

Create a shallow clone with a history truncated to the specified number of commits.

The specified number of commits is an integer that comes after the --depth flag.

For example, I worked on the freeCodeCamp main repository and it has twenty-nine thousand commits as of this writing. This is a lot.

So to clone this repository without so many of those commits that I won’t need, you can run this command.

git clone --depth 100

This will get only the last 100 commits from this repository. More on this flag here