I need an .hgdontignore file :-) to include certain files and exclude everything else in a directory. Basically I want to include only the .jar files in a particular directory and nothing else. How can I do this? I'm not that skilled in regular expression syntax. Or can I do it with glob syntax? (I prefer that for readability)

Just as an example location, let's say I want to exclude all files under foo/bar/ except for foo/bar/*.jar.

+6  A: 

To do this, you'll need to use this regular expression:



You are telling it what to ignore, so this expression is searching for things you don't want.

  1. You look for any file whose name (including relative directory) includes (foo/bar/)
  2. You then look for any characters that precede a period ( .+?\. == match one or more characters of any time until you reach the period character)
  3. You then make sure it doesn't have the "jar" ending (?!jar) (This is called a negative look ahead
  4. Finally you grab the ending it does have (.+)

Regular expressions are easy to mess up, so I strongly suggest that you get a tool like Regex Buddy to help you build them. It will break down a regex into plain English which really helps.


Hey Jason S, you caught me, it does miss those files.

This corrected regex will work for every example you listed:


It finds:

  • foo/bar/baz.txt
  • foo/bar/baz
  • foo/bar/jar
  • foo/bar/baz.jar.txt
  • foo/bar/baz.jar.
  • foo/bar/baz.
  • foo/bar/baz.txt.

But does not find

  • foo/bar/baz.jar

New Explanation

This says look for files in "foo/bar/" , then do not match if there are zero or more characters followed by ".jar" and then no more characters ($ means end of the line), then, if that isn't the case, match any following characters.

Michael La Voie
whee! thanks, now I'll go and try it.
Jason S
hmm, good idea, but it won't work as stated, since it won't match files without any extension at all. But I think I can morph it into what I need. The `foo/bar/` part is easy so let's forget about that for the moment. If you can fix it so it matches the files "baz.txt", "baz", "jar", "baz.jar.txt", "baz.jar.", "baz.", and "baz.txt." but NOT "baz.jar" then I'll accept. :-)
Jason S
Hey Jason, I see what you mean. I just updated my answer with a working regex. I tested it against every string you listed.
Michael La Voie
+1  A: 

The answer from The Lame Duck is a fine one, but another option is to just exclude:


and then manually add the .jar files. You can always add files that are excludes by an ignore rule and it overrides the ignore. You just have to remember to add any jars you create in the future.

How you do you manually add those? Adding them with "hg add" fails, as the ignore file will be used. Adding them with "hg add -I" fails, as still the ignore file applies. So how can they be added overriding the ignore file?
Mecki, adding them with 'hg add' works fine -- it overrides the ignore -- provided that you don't use wildcards in your add line. So put foo/bar/** in your .hgignore and then do 'hg add foo/bar/path/specific.file' and you're good to go. If you have a ton of exceptions to add you can pipe 'hg status -u -n foo/bar/lots-*.jar ' to 'xargs hg add' and do your explicit overrides in bulk.