How to do a “git export” (like “svn export”)
I've been wondering whether there is a good "git export" solution that creates a copy of a tree without the .git repository directory. There are at least three methods I know of:

None of these solutions really strike me as being satisfactory. The closest one to svn export might be option 1, because both those require the target directory to be empty first. But option 2 seems even better, assuming I can figure out what it means to read a tree into the index.
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Hubert Reynolds V Created at: 2013-11-13 17:07:03 UTC By Hubert Reynolds V
RE the original question: "I've been wondering whether there is a good "git export" solution that creates a copy of a tree without the .git repository directory." So apparently the answer is "no." There are a number of more/less annoying workarounds, but the inability to export the CONTENTS of the repository in plain uncompressed form, without creating a repository first and without including repository artifacts (ala SVN export) is a glaring hole in git functionality. Sighhhhhh... - Ms. Crystel Olson
@rnrTom: See Somov's answer. (there's nothing "compressed" in a tar archive). - Trycia Eichmann
@mrTom git archive --format zip --output "" master -0 will give you an uncompressed archive (-0 is the flag for uncompressed). - Dr. Efrain Lowe
I concur with @mrTom, and I don't think whether the archive is compressed or uncompressed is the main issue. With SVN, I can export a 250 kB subdirectory directly from remote repository (which could otherwise be 200 MB in size, excluding revisions) - and I will only hit the network for 250 kB (or so) download transfer. With git, archive has to be enabled on server (so I can't try it) - clone --depth 1 from server may still retrieve a repo of say 25 MB, where the .git subfolder alone takes 15MB. Therefore, I'd still say answer is "no". - Curt Nikolaus
21 Answers
Just for posterity - as I'm also going through a process of being an SVN user attempting to get up to speed on git, this is a pretty good quick reference on SVN-Git command analogues.
I just want to point out that in the case that you are

exporting a sub folder of the repository (that's how I used to use SVN export feature)
are OK with copying everything from that folder to the deployment destination
and since you already have a copy of the entire repository in place.
Then you can just use cp foo [destination] instead of the mentioned git-archive master foo | -x -C [destination].
git archive also works with remote repository.

git archive --format=tar --remote=ssh://remote_server/remote_repository master | tar -xf -

To export particular path inside the repo add as many paths as you wish as last argument to git, e.g.:

git archive --format=tar --remote=ssh://remote_server/remote_repository master path1/ path2/ | tar -xv

I've written a simple wrapper around git-checkout-index that you can use like this:

git export ~/the/destination/dir

If the destination directory already exists, you'll need to add -f or --force.

Installation is simple; just drop the script somewhere in your PATH, and make sure it's executable.

The github repository for git-export 
It appears that this is less of an issue with Git than SVN.  Git only puts a .git folder in the repository root, whereas SVN puts a .svn folder in every subdirectory.  So "svn export" avoids recursive command-line magic, whereas with Git recursion is not necessary.
From the Git Manual:

Using git-checkout-index to "export an entire tree"

The prefix ability basically makes it trivial to use git-checkout-index as an "export as tree" function. Just read the desired tree into the index, and do:

$ git checkout-index --prefix=git-export-dir/ -a
I use git-submodules extensively.
This one works for me:

rsync -a ./FROM/ ./TO --exclude='.*'

This will copy all contents, minus the .dot files. I use this to export git cloned projects into my web app's git repo without the .git stuff.

  cp -R ./path-to-git-repo /path/to/destination/

Plain old bash works just great :)
The equivalent of 

svn export . otherpath

inside an existing repo is

git archive branchname | (cd otherpath; tar x)

The equivalent of

svn export url otherpath


git archive --remote=url branchname | (cd otherpath; tar x)

I have hit this page frequently when looking for a way to export a git repository. My answer to this question considers three properties that svn export has by design compared to git, since svn follows a centralized repository approach:

It minimizes the traffic to a remote repository location by not exporting all revisions
It does not include meta information in the export directory
Exporting a certain branch using svn is accomplished by specifying the appropriate path

git clone --depth 1 --branch master git://git.somewhere destination_path
rm -rf destination_path/.git

When building a certain release it is useful to clone a stable branch as for example --branch stable or --branch release/0.9.
I found out what option 2 means. From a repository, you can do:

git checkout-index -a -f --prefix=/destination/path/

The slash at the end of the path is important, otherwise it will result in the files being in /destination with a prefix of 'path'.

Since in a normal situation the index contains the contents of the repository, there is nothing special to do to "read the desired tree into the index". It's already there.

The -a flag is required to check out all files in the index (I'm not sure what it means to omit this flag in this situation, since it doesn't do what I want). The -f flag forces overwriting any existing files in the output, which this command doesn't normally do.

This appears to be the sort of "git export" I was looking for.
Doing it the easy way, this is a function for .bash_profile, it directly unzips the archive on current location, configure first your usual [url:path]. NOTE: With this function you avoid the clone operation, it gets directly from the remote repo.

gitss() {

    if [ "$1" = "" ]; then
        echo -e "Use: gitss repo [tree/commit]\n"
    if [ "$2" = "" ]; then
    echo "Getting $1/$TREEISH..."
    git archive --format=zip --remote=$URL/$1 $TREEISH > $TMPFILE && unzip $TMPFILE && echo -e "\nDone\n"
    rm $TMPFILE

Alias for .gitconfig, same configuration required (TAKE CARE executing the command inside .git projects, it ALWAYS jumps to the base dir previously as said here, until this is fixed I personally prefer the function

ss = !env GIT_TMPFILE="`/bin/tempfile`" sh -c 'git archive --format=zip --remote=[url:path]/$1 $2 \ > $GIT_TMPFILE && unzip $GIT_TMPFILE && rm $GIT_TMPFILE' -

Bash-implementation of git-export.

I have segmented the .empty file creation and removal processes on their own function, with the purpose of re-using them in the 'git-archive' implementation (will be posted later on).

I have also added the '.gitattributes' file to the process in order to remove un-wanted files from the target export folder.
Included verbosity to the process while making the 'git-export' function more efficient.


function create_empty () {
## Processing path (target-dir):
## Component(s):
echo -en "\nAdding '${EMPTY_FILE}' files to empty folder(s): ...";
    find ${TRG_PATH} -not -path "*/${EXCLUDE_DIR}/*" -type d -empty -exec touch {}/${EMPTY_FILE} \;
#echo "done.";
## Purging SRC/TRG_DIRs variable(s):
    return 0;

declare -a GIT_EXCLUDE;
function load_exclude () {
    ITEMS=0; while read LINE; do
#      echo -e "Line [${ITEMS}]: '${LINE%%\ *}'";
      GIT_EXCLUDE[((ITEMS++))]=${LINE%%\ *};
    done < ${SRC_PATH}/.gitattributes;
## Purging variable(s):
    unset SRC_PATH ITEMS;
    return 0;

function purge_empty () {
## Processing path (Source/Target-dir):
echo -e "\nPurging Git-Specific component(s): ... ";
    find ${SRC_PATH} -type f -name ${EMPTY_FILE} -exec /bin/rm '{}' \;
    for xRULE in ${GIT_EXCLUDE[@]}; do
echo -en "    '${TRG_PATH}/{${xRULE}}' files ... ";
      find ${TRG_PATH} -type f -name "${xRULE}" -exec /bin/rm -rf '{}' \;
echo "done.'";
echo -e "done.\n"
## Purging SRC/TRG_PATHs variable(s):
    unset SRC_PATH; unset TRG_PATH;
    return 0;

function git-export () {
    TRG_DIR="${1}"; SRC_DIR="${2}";
    if [ -z "${SRC_DIR}" ]; then SRC_DIR="${PWD}"; fi
    load_exclude "${SRC_DIR}";
## Dynamically added '.empty' files to the Git-Structure:
    create_empty "${SRC_DIR}";
    GIT_COMMIT="Including '${EMPTY_FILE}' files into Git-Index container."; #echo -e "\n${GIT_COMMIT}";
    git add .; git commit --quiet --all --verbose --message "${GIT_COMMIT}";
    if [ "${?}" -eq 0 ]; then echo " done."; fi
    /bin/rm -rf ${TRG_DIR} && mkdir -p "${TRG_DIR}";
echo -en "\nChecking-Out Index component(s): ... ";
    git checkout-index --prefix=${TRG_DIR}/ -q -f -a
## Reset: --mixed = reset HEAD and index:
    if [ "${?}" -eq 0 ]; then
echo "done."; echo -en "Resetting HEAD and Index: ... ";
        git reset --soft HEAD^;
        if [ "${?}" -eq 0 ]; then
echo "done.";
## Purging Git-specific components and '.empty' files from Target-Dir:
            purge_empty "${SRC_DIR}" "${TRG_DIR}"
          else echo "failed.";
## Archiving exported-content:
echo -en "Archiving Checked-Out component(s): ... ";
        if [ -f "${TRG_DIR}.tgz" ]; then /bin/rm ${TRG_DIR}.tgz; fi
        cd ${TRG_DIR} && tar -czf ${TRG_DIR}.tgz ./; cd ${SRC_DIR}
echo "done.";
## Listing *.tgz file attributes:
## Warning: Un-TAR this file to a specific directory:
        ls -al ${TRG_DIR}.tgz
      else echo "failed.";
## Purgin all references to Un-Staged File(s):
   git reset HEAD;
## Purging SRC/TRG_DIRs variable(s):
    unset SRC_DIR; unset TRG_DIR;
    echo "";
    return 0;

  $ git-export /tmp/rel-1.0.0
  Adding '.empty' files to empty folder(s): ... done.
  Checking-Out Index component(s): ... done.
  Resetting HEAD and Index: ... done.
  Purging Git-Specific component(s): ...
  '/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.buildpath}' files ... done.'
  '/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.project}' files ... done.'
  '/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.gitignore}' files ... done.'
  '/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.git}' files ... done.'
  '/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.gitattributes}' files ... done.'
  '/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{*.mno}' files ... done.'
  '/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{*~}' files ... done.'
  '/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.*~}' files ... done.'
  '/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{*.swp}' files ... done.'
  '/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{*.swo}' files ... done.'
  '/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.DS_Store}' files ... done.'
  '/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.settings}' files ... done.'
  '/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.empty}' files ... done.'
  Archiving Checked-Out component(s): ... done.
  -rw-r--r--  1 admin  wheel  25445901  3 Nov 12:57 /tmp/rel-1.0.0.tgz
  I have now incorporated the 'git archive' functionality into a single process that makes use of 'create_empty' function and other features.

function git-archive () {
    PREFIX="${1}"; ## sudo mkdir -p ${PREFIX}
    REPO_PATH="`echo "${2}"|awk -F: '{print $1}'`";
    RELEASE="`echo "${2}"|awk -F: '{print $2}'`";
## Dynamically added '.empty' files to the Git-Structure:
    cd "${REPO_PATH}"; populate_empty .; echo -en "\n";
#    git archive --prefix=git-1.4.0/ -o git-1.4.0.tar.gz v1.4.0
# e.g.: git-archive /var/www/htdocs /repos/ --explode
    git archive --verbose --prefix=${PREFIX}/ -o ${OUTPUT_FILE} ${RELEASE}
    cd "${USER_PATH}";
    if [[ "${3}" =~ [--explode] ]]; then
      if [ -d "./${RELEASE}" ]; then /bin/rm -rf "./${RELEASE}"; fi
      mkdir -p ./${RELEASE}; tar -xzf "${OUTPUT_FILE}" -C ./${RELEASE}
## Purging SRC/TRG_DIRs variable(s):
    return 0;

If you want something that works with submodules this might be worth a go.


MASTER_DIR = a checkout with your submodules checked out also
DEST_DIR = where this export will end up
If you have rsync, I think you'd be able to do the same thing with even less ball ache. 

You need to run this from the parent directory of MASTER_DIR ( i.e from MASTER_DIR cd .. ) 
DEST_DIR is assumed to have been created. This is pretty easy to modify to include the creation of a DEST_DIR if you wanted to

  cd MASTER_DIR && tar -zcvf ../DEST_DIR/export.tar.gz --exclude='.git*'
  . && cd ../DEST_DIR/ && tar xvfz export.tar.gz && rm export.tar.gz

You can archive a remote repo at any commit as zip file.


I needed this for a deploy script and I couldn't use any of the above mentioned approaches. Instead I figured out a different solution:

[ $# -eq 2 ] || echo "USAGE $0 REPOSITORY DESTINATION" && exit 1
TMPNAME="/tmp/$(basename $REPOSITORY).$$"
rm -rf $TMPNAME/.git
rm -rf $TMPNAME

If you need submodules as well, this should do the trick:
My preference would actually be to have a dist target in your Makefile (or other build system) that exports a distributable archive of your code (.tar.bz2, .zip, .jar, or whatever is appropriate).  If you happen to be using GNU autotools or Perl's MakeMaker systems, I think this exists for you automatically.  If not, I highly recommend adding it.

ETA (2012-09-06): Wow, harsh downvotes.  I still believe it is better to build your distributions with your build tools rather than your source code control tool.  I believe in building artifacts with build tools.  In my current job, our main product is built with an ant target.  We are in the midst of switching source code control systems, and the presence of this ant target means one less hassle in migration.
As simple as clone then delete the .git folder:

git clone url_of_your_repo path_to_export && rm -rf path_to_export/.git

A special case answer if your repository is hosted on GitHub. 

Just use svn export

As far as I know Github does not allow archive --remote (see Although Github is svn compatible and they do have all git repos svn accessible so you could just use svn export like you normally would with a few adjustments to your github url.

For example export entire repo. Notice how trunk replaces master.

svn export

And you can just export a file or even a certain path

svn export
Probably the simplest way to achieve this is with git archive. If you really need just the expanded tree you can do something like this.

git archive master | tar -x -C /somewhere/else

Most of the time that I need to 'export' something from git, I want a compressed archive in any case so I do something like this.

git archive master | bzip2 >source-tree.tar.bz2

ZIP archive:

git archive --format zip --output /full/path/to/ master 

git help archive for more details, it's quite flexible.
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