Configuring aerc for git via email

Published 2020-04-20 on Drew DeVault's blog

I use aerc as my email client (naturally — I wrote it, after all), and I use git send-email to receive patches to many of my projects. I designed aerc specifically to be productive for this workflow, but there are a few extra things that I use in my personal aerc configuration that I thought were worth sharing briefly. This blog post will be boring and clerical, feel free to skip it unless it’s something you’re interested in.

When I want to review a patch, I first tell aerc to :cd sources/<that project>, then I open up the patch and give it a read. If it needs work, I’ll use “rq” (“reply quoted”), a keybinding which is available by default, to open my editor with the patch pre-quoted to trim down and reply with feedback inline. If it looks good, I use the first of my custom keybindings: “ga”, short for git am. The entry in ~/.config/aerc/binds.conf is:

ga = :pipe -mb git am -3<Enter>

This pipes the entire message (-m, in case I’m viewing a message part) into git am -3 (-3 uses a three-way merge, in case of conflicts), in the background (-b). Then I’ll use C-t (ctrl-T), another keybinding which is included by default, to open a terminal tab in that directory, where I can compile the code, run the tests, and so on. When I’m done, I use the “gp” keybinding to push the changes:

gp = :term git push<Enter>

This runs the command in a new terminal, so I can monitor the progress. Finally, I like to reply to the patch, letting the contributor know their work was merged and thanking them for the contribution. I have a keybinding for this, too:

rt = :reply -Tthanks<Enter>

My “thanks” template is at ~/.config/aerc/templates/thanks and looks like this:

Thanks!


{{exec "{ git remote get-url --push origin;
    git reflog -2 origin/master --pretty=format:%h; }
  | xargs printf 'To %s\n   %s..%s  master -> master\n'" ""}}

That git command prints a summary of the most recent push to master. The result is that my editor is pre-filled with something like this:

Thanks!

To git@git.sr.ht:~sircmpwn/builds.sr.ht
   7aabe74..191f4a0  master -> master

I occasionally append a few lines asking questions about follow-up work or clarifying the deployment schedule for the change.

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Are you a free software maintainer who is struggling with stress, demanding users, overwork, or any other social problems in the course of your work? Please email me — I know how you feel, and I can lend a sympathetic ear and share some veteran advice.


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