This is a repost, since the original message seems to have been lost somehow.

I am trying to add a file to an arbitrary branch without touching the current
worktree with as little overhead as possible. This should work no matter in
which state the current worktree is in. And it should not touch the current WT
in any way.

For this, the sparse-checkout feature in conjuntion with the "shared
repository" feature seems to be perfect.

The basic idea goes like this:

   TMP=`mktemp -d /var/tmp/test-XXXXXXXXX`
   git --work-tree $WD --git-dir $GD clone -qns -n . $GD
   git --work-tree $WD --git-dir $GD config core.sparsecheckout true
   echo path/of/file/which/I/want/to/create >>$GD/info/sparse-checkout
   git --work-tree $WD --git-dir $GD checkout -b some-branch 
remotes/origin/some-branch  # !!!
   ( cd $WD
     mkdir -p path/of/file/which/I/want/to
     echo huhuh >path/of/file/which/I/want/to/create
     git --work-tree $WD --git-dir $GD add path/of/file/which/I/want/to/create
     git --work-tree $WD --git-dir $GD commit
     git --work-tree $WD --git-dir $GD push
   rm -rf $TMP

Unfortunately, the marked command errors out with

   "error: Sparse checkout leaves no entry on working directory"

and won't create/switch to the branch that is to be modified.

Why is this an error? Since there are no matching files, an empty worktree
is EXACTLY what I wanted. Why will the "git checkout -b" command error out?

Strange enough, I have some repositories at this machine where the
.git/info/sparse-checkout file contains only non-existing files and git
happily executes this "git checkout -b XXX remotes/origin/XXX" command leaving
the working tree totally empty all the time.

Someone understands this inconsistent behaviour?


Josef Wolf

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