SVN Prompt Improved

March 13, 2012

The new shell prompt I created for myself is working wonderfully. However, the Subversion prompt was only effective when I was in the root directory of a Subversion project. Once I drilled down into sub-directories the prompt, which depended upon the presence of a .svn directory, lost all Subversion information.

After much fiddling around last night I came up with a simple change that allows the Subversion information to be displayed, regardless of where I am in the directory hierarchy under the root directory of a Subversion controlled project.

Here's the code:

# ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
# svn prompt
# based on: 
# with help from:
# Only the root directory holds the .svn repository. We need to test each directory in the current
# directory's path to determine if we are under Subversion control.
# ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
function svn_prompt_info {
    # Set up defaults
    local svn_branch=""
    local svn_repository=""
    local svn_version=""
    local svn_change=""

    # if `svn info` returns more than 1 line, we are under subversion control
    testsvn=`svn info > /dev/null 2>&1 | wc -l`
    if [ $testsvn -gt 1 ] ; then
        # query svn info and parse the results
        svn_branch=`svn info | grep '^URL:' | egrep -o '((tags|branches)/[^/]+|trunk).*' | sed -E -e 's/^(branches|tags)\///g'`
        svn_repository=`svn info | grep '^Repository Root:' | egrep -o '(http|https|file|svn|svn+ssh)/[^/]+' | egrep -o '[^/]+$'`
        svn_version=`svnversion -n`
        # this is the slowest test of the bunch
        change_count=`svn status | grep "?\|\!\|M\|A" | wc -l`
        if [ "$change_count" != "       0" ]; then
            svn_change=" [dirty]"
        # show the results
        echo "%{$fg[blue]%}$svn_repository/$svn_branch @ $svn_version%{$reset_color%}%{$fg[yellow]%}$svn_change%{$reset_color%}"

The testsvn variable on line 17 is set to the result of running an svn info and then counting the lines of output via wc -l. By shunting the output of the command into /dev/null it's quiet, i.e., no output leaks out into the shell. And the 2>&1 bit captures the error message produced when svn info is run in a non-Subversion controlled directory. So, if I'm in a Subversion project the line count (wc -l) will be about 12. If I'm not in a Subversion project, there will be a single line counted -- the error produced.

The if statement on line 18 determines if there count is greater than 1 and if so, builds the Subversion portion of the prompt.

Everything else stays the same as I had it before. It works beautifully.

Author's profile picture

Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.