Sync GitHub repository with existing R project

Many of the R projects I start don’t pan out and end up in a scrap directory somewhere, but once in awhile I make enough progress to get worried that I’ll lose track of it. That’s when I know it’s time to get it up on GitHub. This post is mostly just a way for me to remember how to get an existing R project on GitHub. I’m sure there are better ways of doing this in the command line, but I’m still pretty new to Git so I’m sticking with what I know works. Perhaps I’ll add a command line version later.

This is loosely based on the combination of this and this tutorial.

Step 1: create a GitHub repository

Easy. Go to your github account and click the button to create a new repo. I typically do not initialize with the .gitignore,, or files, but add them myself manually after the project is up and running.

Step 2: enable git in Rstudio

  1. Open your project in Rstudio and navigate to Tools -> Version Control -> Project Setup

  2. Click SVN/Git tab and select git as the version control system. It will ask you to initialize a new git repo and restart Rstudio

  3. After Rstudio reopens, confirm that there is a Git tab in the environment pane (which for me, and I think by default, is in the upper right of the IDE)

Step 3: synchronize with the github repo

Open a terminal and do the following:

# move to the project directory
cd Projects/website

# initiate the upstream tracking of the project on the GitHub repo
git remote add origin

# pull all files from the GitHub repo (typically just readme, license, gitignore)
git pull origin master

# set up GitHub repo to track changes on local machine
git push -u origin master

Step 4: push files to GitHub

Click the Git tab in Rstudio, and then click Commit. This will open a window where you can stage files to be tracked (and synced on GitHub). Select all the files you would like to track, write a commit message, then click push. This will send all changes to the GitHub repo.

Step 5: up and running

All you need to do now is remember to commit changes and push them to the GitHub repo. Don’t forget!

Extra: removing a tracked directory

I inevitably track a folder that I’d prefer to keep off of GitHub. That directory, hypothetically called /public for this example, can be easily removed using:

git rm -r --cached public

Then commit the changes, push, and you’re all done!

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