Git: remove a submodule

For years, i’ve been searching the internet every time i want to do this. Various guides have come and gone. I rarely deal with git submodules anymore since the dawn of Bundler, but every now and then i find i want to remove a submodule in order to convert to bundler.

So once and for all, here’s the process, for example i am deleting a cucumber rails plugin:

Remove the three lines from .gitmodules

[submodule "vendor/plugins/cucumber"]
	path = vendor/plugins/cucumber
	url = git://github.com/cucumber/cucumber.git

Remove the two lines from .git/config

[submodule "vendor/plugins/cucumber"]
	url = git://github.com/cucumber/cucumber.git

Delete the git reference file that holds the submodule’s SHA commit id. Note the important lack of a trailing slash.

git rm --cached vendor/plugins/cucumber

Git will now see the entire directory as new files, because it’s no longer a submodule. Now you are free to delete the whole lot.

rm -rf vendor/plugins/cucumber/

And now you can add it to your Gemfile to use with bundler :)

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