One of the things I wanted to set up when I created French Press was the ability for the blog to automatically pull new posts from GitHub when I committed them to the repo. To do this I have set up an endpoint in my Express application to listen for an HTTP request, and trigger a ‘git pull’ command. The code checks for a query string parameter set to a secret key so that I don’t have to worry about someone trigger pull requests without me knowing.

The code

This code checks the request and kicks of the git command:

var exec = require('child_process').exec;
var url = require('url');

exports.hook = function (options) {
    var repoDir = options.repoDir;
    var key = options.key;

    return function (req, res, next) {
        var query = url.parse(req.url, true).query;

        if (query.key != key) {
        } else {
            exec('git pull', { cwd: repoDir }, function(err, stdout, stderr) {
                if(err) {
                    console.log("Error execing git pull: " + err + ". stderr => " + stderr);
                } else {
                    console.log("Executed git pull");

And since it follows the Express middleware pattern, hooking it up is dead simple:

var express = require('express');
var gitTrigger = require('./lib/git-trigger');

var app = express();

app.use('/git-wh', gitTrigger.hook(
        repoDir: PATH_TO_THE_REPO,
        key: 'SecretKey!'

I’ve set the key to be read from and environment variable so that it won’t be checked into source control (that would kind of the defeat the whole ‘secret’ part).

Kicking it off on commit

Now we need something to call the endpoint when we push a change to the repo. GitHub’s webhooks work great for this. Just set one up pointed to the endpoint you choose with the key as a query string parameter. If you wanted to get a little fancier, the payload of the webhook request has a ton of data you could use to do something else.

All together this makes posting to my blog super simple. Since GitHub lets you create files from the web interface, I can even create a post from the web. Now if only their editor has a spell checker…