Keep your git forks updated all the time

Keep your git forks updated


Hi folks.

Today’s is a quick tip for keeping your forks updated.

If you are like me, and have at least a 100 forks in your repository because: * You would like to contribute at some point * Save it for yourself because you are afraid that it disappears * Would like to make modifications for your own benefit * Whatever the reason

…then you probably have a lot of trouble keeping them updated and making sure you always see the latest change.

Upstream can change a lot especially if it’s a busy repository.

Fret not. Help is here. This little ruby script will solve your troubles:

#!/usr/bin/env ruby

require 'octokit'
require 'logger'

@logger ="output.log")

def update_fork(repo)
  repo_name =
  # clone the repository -- octokit doesn't provide this feature as it's a github api library"cloning into #{repo.ssh_url}")
  system("git clone #{repo.ssh_url} #{repo_name}")
  # setup upstream for updating"setup upstream to #{repo.parent.ssh_url}")
  system("cd #{repo_name} && git remote add upstream #{repo.parent.ssh_url}")
  # do the update"doing the update with push")
  system("cd #{repo_name} && git fetch upstream && git rebase upstream/master && git push origin")
  # ensure that the folder is cleaned up"cleanup: removing the repository folder")
  system("rm -fr #{repo_name}")

client = => ENV['GIT_TOKEN'], per_page: 100)
repos = client.repos({}, query: {type: 'owner', sort: 'asc'})

# Go through all the pages and add them to the list of repositories.

repos ={ |r| r.fork }"going to update '#{repos.length}' repositories")

repos.each do |repo|
  # get the repositories information"updating #{}")
  r = client.repository(

This script is also available as a Gist located here.

Put this into a cron job, or a Jenkins job on a schedule and you should be good to go.

Note two things: First: ENV['GIT_TOKEN'] this should be set to a token which you can acquire by navigating to tokens. Add a token which has repo access.

Second: Obviously this script will push to your local repository. So wherever you run this, make sure git is set-up and can push to your repository via SSH. This script is using ssh_url for the repositories. It won’t ask for a username or a password.

That’s it. Enjoy and keep updating.

Thanks for reading


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