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Fix Path Name Mismatches in Local & Remote Git Repos

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Bug FixDebuggingGitHow-toProgrammingWeb Development
Article author: michael
michael
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If you’ve ever written any computer code, you’ve undoubtedly (inadvertently) introduced bugs in your code. I mean, are you even a developer if you haven’t? 😂
Hell, even ChatGPT makes bugs in it’s code suggestions, and it’s an AI with access to the best code out there!

But how about when something isn’t working as it should on your site, but all of your code checks out fine? 🤔

Hence …

The Problem

Originally, for no reason in particular, I was naming all of my blog post filenames using Pascal case. Or in other words, the first letter of each word was capitalized.

For example, Fix-File-And-Folder-Name-Mismatches-Between-Remote-And-Local-Git-Repo or something along those lines.

I later realized that this was causing redirects on the live server to lowercase URLs, and sometimes (though oddly not always) resulting in 404 errors. Even when there weren’t any obvious, visible issues, I was still getting warnings on some analytics tools and search consoles.

I left things as is initially, but decided a while later that it would probably be safer to just convert everything, file and folder names, to all lowercase.

Initial (Faulty) Git Update

I did this by renaming the files and folders in bash the manual way … one by one (not very smart I’ll admit), and then committing the changes to Git.

I double-checked all of the files in my local repo, and ran a test build, and everything was looking good. I also checked the live site after committing and pushing the changes to my remote repo, and rebuilding the site. No issues that I could see there, so I thought I was in the clear, but I didn’t notice one of the posts was still showing up with the old Pascal-case filename.

So after scratching my head for a while and thinking I was going mad, I added the .toLowerCase() method to some of the code to make sure it forced everything to lower case. Somehow though, that post in particular was still showing up with the old Pascal case filenames!

I was super confused, and I couldn’t figure out how this was happening until finally, recently, I checked my remote Git repo and realized one of the paths was not synched up properly with my local repo!

Apparently, the old folder name had remained cached in Git, despite me committing and pushing the changes to my remote repo. So I had to figure out how to fix this, but hey, at least I’d finally found the problem! 🥴


See also:
Git Cheat Sheet

First Attempt to Search for a Solution

At first I tried, unsuccessfully, to re-rename the folder using git … as in, rename it back to Pascal-case and then back to all lowercase. But nope, Git was having none of that.

So I did some Googling, but was mostly finding posts about how to easily convert the local filenames to a different case, but not how to fix the issue of the remote repo not matching the local repo.

I did find much smarter ways to convert the filenames to lowercase though, so that was a plus… albeit too late for me since my filenames were already converted. Hah! 😅

I also found some posts about how to fix the issue of Git not recognizing case changes, but that wasn’t my issue. I had already committed and pushed the changes to my remote repo, and the changes were showing up in my local repo. My issue was with the remote repo not being synchronized with the local repo.

Second Attempt to Search for a Solution

I thought “Hey, I’ve got a whole post for some of the most common git commands that I wrote a while back, so I’ll just skim over it and see if I already wrote about the issue and just ‘forgot’!”

But alas, I definitely did not include anything about fixing this particular issue in the cheat sheet. 😕
And it makes sense I guess, since I’d never run into this issue before, and I’d never even heard of it before.

The Actual Working Solution

Eventually though, I found this StackOverflow post that had a reply from @andrewvergel with a super simple way to fix the issue:

From bash, run the following commands:

git rm -r --cached .
git add --all .

Note: Don’t forget the "." at the end of the commands!

After running the above two git commands, you should review the changes to make sure everything looks good before committing and pushing the changes to your remote repo.

It’s likely some other files will be added to the index, so you’ll want to make sure those are files you want to add. In my case, I did in fact have a bunch of files added that I didn’t want to commit, so I had to unstage them.

To unstage a file, simply run the following command:

git restore --staged <file>

Then, once you’re sure only the necessary files are added, do your normal commit, and push the changes.

git commit -a -m "Fixing file name casing"
git push origin <branch>

Explanation

“git rm -r --cached .”

Per the Git docs, the --cached flag in the git rm command will remove the files from it’s internal index, but not from the working tree.

“git add --all .”

The --all flag in the git add command will add, modify, and remove index entries to match the working tree.

If that’s not super clear though, perhaps @Uriahs Victor’s response in the same post is a bit easier to understand:

What this command actually does is deletes the cached version of the file/folder names that git thought still existed. So it will clear its cache but leave everything in the current folder (where you’ve made your changes locally) but it will see that those other wrong case folders/files do not exist anymore so will show them as deleted in git status. Then you can push up to GitHub and it will remove the folders/files with wrong cases.


And that’s basically it!

So to recap, if you notice any weird file-case issues on your live site that aren’t appearing in your dev environment, or vice versa, you can run the following commands from bash to sync your local and remote repos:

git rm -r --cached .
git add --all .
git commit -a -m "Fixing file name casing"
git push origin <branch>

Running the above git commands should flush out any cached mismatches and fix your issue.

Hope that helps someone else out there!

Until next time,
michael 😀

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