Nitrous.io: Ignoring Files When Syncing

I’ve been using Nitrous.io as a remote development environment for a few months now. I love the syncing, the management via SSH, the scalability, etc. I do most of my work on there.

One of the first issues I had with Nitrous.io was fine-tuning what is and is not synced using their desktop application. When I’m working on a WordPress site, I don’t need /wp-content/uploads/ synced in both directions. When I’m working on a Symfony app, I don’t need /app/cache/ on my local machine. Syncing these, however, is the default and can cause a considerable delay when saving simple changesets, and can eat up network bandwidth when there may not be a lot available (re: wifi at the library, coffee shop, etc).

Thankfully, Nitrous.io uses the well documented, GNU licensed Unison for synchronization.

According to the Unison docs, you can select specific filenames, paths, or regexs to ignore (along wiht various other options) when determining what to sync. These options need to be put into your default.prf file, which is specific to the computer running the desktop application. It is loacated (on my Windows box) at <home dir>\Nitrous\<box name>\.unison\default.prf.

Here is my default.prf, which is tooled for my workflow on various projects with with grunt, nodeJS, WordPress, and Symfony2:

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# Unison preferences file
ignore=Name Thumbs.db
ignore=Path */.sass-cache
ignore=Path */app/cache
ignore=Path */node_modules
ignore=Path */phpmyadmin
ignore=Path */wp-admin
ignore=Path */wp-content/wp-uploads
ignore=Path */wp-includes

You could also speciy a directory to explicitly sync, such as .git, which is ignored by default:

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# Unison preferences file
ignorenot=Path */.git

More configuration options are available in the Unison docs.