Maybe `git submodule` can be used as a package manager?

Few days ago I wanted to include CreativeTim’s awesome project (Light Bootstrap Dashboard), into one of my bootstrap projects.

The scenario is: There is existing project, existing setup for admin dashboard, but now I want it to be more like the ‘Light Bootstrap Dashboard’.

Light Bootstrap Dashboard project doesn’t offer a direct way of achieving this, there is no npm package that I can pull -or maybe what I did here, is in fact the direct way of doing it?-. The documentation is a manual copy-paste files setup, I don’t want to check all this files in my project.

What I did was:

1- Created a third_party/ directory on my main project root.

2- Following the Official Git Submodules tutorials, From the command line:

git submodule add third_party/light-bootstrap-dashboard

3- Waiting for the clone to finish, cloning from the remote repo, to the specified folder: third_party/light-bootstrap-dashboard. After that, now I see the actual repo inside my repo, this is cool!

4- At this point it came into my mind: What if this submodule project changed?! how I didn’t consider that? is it going to have a different lifespan than my root project? (I was concerned, because the root project still and mostly will still use bootstrap 3 for a while, and bootstrap 4 is already out and the folks at creative-tim is expected to migrate to bootstrap 4)

Googling it, found the answer on this SO post, and the confident accepted answer: Freezing is the whole point of submodules!

Yes, Let’s continue.

5- opened the file third_party/light-bootstrap-dashboard/dashboard.html to checkout the structure and what to extract to integrate with my own project.

6- Among the libraries used in this project, there is Bootstrap Notify, Chartist, ..etc. I will pick up what I need from there, I don’t have to use it all.

7- From my javascript entrypoint I Included the nessecary files:

require ("../../../third_party/light-bootstrap-dashboard/assets/js/chartist.min.js")
require ("../../../third_party/light-bootstrap-dashboard/assets/js/bootstrap-select.js")
require ("../../../third_party/light-bootstrap-dashboard/assets/js/bootstrap-notify.js")
require ("../../../third_party/light-bootstrap-dashboard/assets/js/light-bootstrap-dashboard.js")

// yeah, the multi-level navigation to the parent directory is annoying

8- From my sass entrypoint I included the nessecary files:

// .....
// Light Bootstrap Dashboard
@import "../../../third_party/light-bootstrap-dashboard/assets/css/animate.min";
@import "../../../third_party/light-bootstrap-dashboard/assets/sass/light-bootstrap-dashboard";
@import "../../../third_party/light-bootstrap-dashboard/assets/css/pe-icon-7-stroke";

And, lucky me, using Webpack -through Laravel-mix-, I don’t have to worry about copying the fonts, images, and all url() relative files called from css files. Read More about this here.

Now, That did it for me, Light-Bootstrap-Dashboard is integrated successfully, git submodule did what was expected. I don’t have to track in my version control the package/theme/template files. maybe there is another ways better that I didn’t discover yet, but for now I’m happy with this : )

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