Imagine that you need to take the latest source code of a project and deploy it somewhere by creating some artifacts with it. If it is a git project with a few commits, a simple
git clone ..... would do it. But if it is a project with thousands of commits, then you might be bored of your time waiting for the git clone to complete. This is often the case in CI/CD pipelines - that is where I ultimately learned this trick from :D
I recently discovered something called shallow clones in git. The idea is simple: instead of getting all the commits of a git repo, the shallow clone only gets the latest commit. The
--depth=N flag seems to enable shallow cloning in git where N is the number of latest commits to be fetched.
Here is an example for comparing how much time you can save:
I tried cloning the Redis project - https://github.com/redis/redis which had 10,009 commits while cloning.
$ time git clone email@example.com:redis/redis.git
So normal clone took
4 minutes and 15 seconds to complete.
Here is the same thing but with a shallow clone
$ time git clone --depth=1 firstname.lastname@example.org:redis/redis.git