link files based on name

pip install linker==0.1.0



linker is a tool for symlinking files based on the name of original file.

Python Support

linker is supported under python 2.7, 3.3, and 3.4

Thanks to lanshark for adding Python3 support!

Why use linker?

linker takes a target directory and a destination directory as arguments, and links everything from the repo into its correct location, determined by the name of the target file. This allows you to track files in git, edit them in the place you would normally find them, and deploy your config quickly to new machines by cloning. Files common to all machines can be linked at the same time as config files unique to a specific host; all in the same repo.

See Example for further detail.


Usage: [options] target destination

  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -i, --interactive     Prompt for all changes
  -v, --verbose         Print all changes
  -d, --dry-run         Print all changes, but DON'T DO THEM
  -x, --exclude-common  default is to link files in `hostname` and 'common'
                        dirs. this will only link `hostname`
  --delete-existing     delete existing files instead of moving them to
  -m, --move-first      move a file from its original location to the repo
                        first, then link it back to its original location
  -c, --common-target   only used with --move-to-target-first, this will move
                        the original file to common, instead of hostname
                        before linking back to its original location

Deterministic File Names

linker makes a few assumptions:

  • The git repo (or whatever else the target path happens to be) will have at least one folder in it, which matches the hostname of the machine linker is running on. This allows multiple machine configs to be kept in the same repo.
  • If a target file ends with ".dontlink" it should be tracked in the repo, but not linked by linker.
  • Underscores (_) in the target file should be replaced with slashes (/) in the symlink. This allows you to keep all the files for a single host in the same directory level of the repo, but be multiple levels deep where the link is made.
  • A double underscore in the target file is a literal underscore in the link name.
  • A file that starts with an underscore should be linked from /, not from the destination root.
  • If a directory named "common" exists at the same level as the hostname directory, those files should be linked, too. (This allows some files to link on all machines in the repo.)
  • If a file already exists, it should be backed up (moved to original_name.back), unless you explicity include --delete-existing.

Vanilla Example

The user "user" keeps their dot files in a repo called "dotfiles" and they want to use linker on a machine called "hostname".

- /home/user/git/dotfiles
    - hostname
        - .vimrc
        - .vim_colors_color__scheme.vim
        - crontab_backup.dontlink
        - _etc_hosts
    - common
        - .bashrc

With the command:

linker /home/user/git/dotfiles /home/user

linker would make the following symlinks:

- /home/user/.bashrc -> /home/user/git/dotfiles/common/.bashrc
- /home/user/.vimrc -> /home/user/git/dotfiles/hostname/.vimrc
- /home/user/vim/colors/color_scheme.vim -> /home/user/git/dotfiles/hostname/.vim_colors_color__scheme.vim
- /etc/hosts -> /home/user/git/dotfiles/hostname/_etc_hosts

Notice crontab_backup.dontlink wasn't linked anywhere.

Move First Example

If you already have your files named appropriately, using linker is easy. If you don't, the naming scheme can be confusing. Using linker -m [-c] will hopefully make this easier.

"User" has a repo "dotfiles" on a machine called "hostname" and wants to add /etc/hosts to the dotfiles repo:

linker -m /home/user/git/dotfiles /etc/hosts

linker will move /etc/hosts to /home/user/git/dotfiles/hostname/_etc_hosts and then link that file back to /etc/hosts:

- /etc/hosts -> /home/user/git/dotfiles/hostname/_etc_hosts

Doing the same, but adding the -c option:

linker -m -c /home/user/git/dotfiles /etc/hosts

linker will move /etc/hosts to /home/user/git/dotfiles/common/_etc_hosts instead of ../hostname/_etc_hosts:

- /etc/hosts -> /home/user/git/dotfiles/common/_etc_hosts

This option was intended to be used one file at a time, and destination must be the full file path.

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