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Re: man page for "git-worktree" is a bit confusing WRT "prune"




On Mon, Nov 13, 2017 at 9:48 AM, Robert P. J. Day <rpjday@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>   once more, into the man pages ... "git worktree" seems like a fairly
> simple command, but there is some confusion about the function of
>
>   $ git worktree prune
>
> the normal meaning of "prune" (certainly with git commands) is to
> actually delete some content, and the initial impression of this
> command is that it will delete an actual worktree. however, further
> reading reveals:
>
> " ... or you can run git worktree prune in the main or any linked
> working tree to clean up any stale administrative files."
>
>   ah, so one learns that the subcommand "prune" does *not* do any
> actual pruning as people would *normally* understand it, it simply
> deletes the administrative information about an already-deleted
> worktree, do i read that correctly?

Yes. This usage is consistent with "git remote prune" which removes
administrative information about local branches which have already
been deleted on the remote side.

>   that's emphasized further down in the actual definition of "prune":
>
>     prune
>         Prune working tree information in $GIT_DIR/worktrees.
>
> but perhaps that explanation could be extended to say it only works on
> already-deleted trees, since that's certainly not clear from that
> single sentence.

As originally implemented, git-worktree would detect deleted or
relocated worktrees and prune or update the administrative information
automatically. So, "prune" was more a behind-the-scenes implementation
detail rather than an important user-facing command. However, the
implementation and semantics of that automatic behavior were not quite
robust and ended up leaving things in a slightly corrupted state (if I
recall correctly), though the corruption was easily corrected by hand.
As a consequence, the automatic behavior was retired while the general
implementation of git-worktree "cooked", with the idea that it could
be revisited later, with the result that "prune" became more
user-facing than originally intended.

The above description could be extended with more information. An
alternative would be to point the reader at the "DETAILS" section as
is done already for "prune" in "DISCUSSION".

>   finally, the prune "--expire" option is truly confusing:
>
>     --expire <time>
>         With prune, only expire unused working trees older than <time>.
>
> suddenly, we encounter the verb "expire", which means ... what? how
> does "expiring" a worktree differ from "pruning" a worktree? and what
> makes a worktree "unused"? the normal meaning of "unused" is that you
> haven't, you know, *used* it lately. in this context, though, does it
> mean deleted? and if it means deleted, what does it mean for it to be
> older than some time if it's already gone?
>
>   thoughts?

This dates back to the original behavior of automatically pruning
administrative information for deleted worktrees. As discussed
elsewhere in the document, a worktree may be placed on some removable
device (USB drive, memory stick, etc.) or network share which isn't
always mounted. The "expire time" provides such
not-necessarily-mounted worktrees a grace period before being pruned
automatically. You wouldn't want your worktree administrative
information erased automatically when invoking some git-worktree
command -- say "git worktree list" -- simply because you forgot to
plug your memory stick back into the computer; the grace period
protects against this sort of lossage. As with "prune", originally,
the grace period was more a behind-the-scenes detail than a
user-facing feature. Nevertheless, it's still useful; you might forget
to plug in your memory stick before invoking "git worktree prune"
manually.

The term "unused" is unfortunate. A better description would likely be welcome.