Getting Started#

This guide will introduce you to the basics of Giftless by getting it up and running locally, and seeing how it can interact with a local git repository.


This tutorial assumes you have Python 3.7 or newer available as python. On some systems, you might need to replace python with python3.

Installing and Running Locally#

Create a new directory for our tutorial, and set up a fresh virtual environment:

mkdir giftless && cd giftless
python -m venv .venv
source .venv/bin/activate

Then, proceed to install giftless from pypi as described in the installation guide.


For this tutorial, we will be using Flask’s built-in development server. This is not suitable for production use.

Once done, verify that Giftless can run:

# Run Giftless using the built-in development server
export FLASK_APP=giftless.wsgi_entrypoint
flask run

You should see something like:

Running on (Press CTRL+C to quit)

This means Giftless is up and running with some default configuration on localhost port 5000, with the default configuration options.

Hit Ctrl+C to stop Giftless.

Basic Configuration#

To configure Giftless, create a file named giftless.conf.yaml in the current directory with the following content:

# Giftless configuration
  - giftless.auth.allow_anon:read_write

This will override the default read-only access mode, and allow open and full access to anyone, to any object stored with Giftless. Clearly this is not useful in a production setting, but for a local test this will do fine.

Run Giftless again, pointing to this new configuration file:

export GIFTLESS_CONFIG_FILE=giftless.conf.yaml
flask run

Interacting with git#

We will now proceed to show how Giftless can interact with a local git repository, as a demonstration of how Git LFS works.

Keep Giftless running and open a new terminal window or tab.

Install the lfs Git extension#

While having a local installation of git-lfs is not required to run Giftless, you will need it to follow this guide.


git lfs version

If you see an error indicating that 'lfs' is not a git command, follow the Git LFS installation instructions here. On Linux, you may be able to simply install the git-lfs package provided by your distro.


If you have git-lfs older than version 2.10, you will need to upgrade it to follow this tutorial, otherwise you may encounter some unexpected errors. Follow the instructions linked above to upgrade to the latest version.

Create a local “remote” repository#

For the purpose of this tutorial, we will create a fake “remote” git repository on your local disk. This is analogous to a real-world remote repository such as GitHub or any other Git remote, but is simpler to set up.

mkdir fake-remote-repo && cd fake-remote-repo
git init --bare
cd ..

Of course, you may choose to use any other remote repository instead - just remember to replace the repository URL in the upcoming git clone command.

Create a local repository and push some file#

Clone the remote repository we have just created to a local repository:

git clone fake-remote-repo local-repo
cd local-repo

Create some files and add them to git:

# This README file will be committed to Git as usual
echo "# This is a Giftless test" >
# Let's also create a 1mb binary file which we'll want to store in Git LFS 
dd if=/dev/zero of=1mb-blob.bin bs=1024 count=1024
git add 1mb-blob.bin

Enable Git LFS and tell it to track .bin files:

git lfs install
git lfs track "*.bin"

This will actually create a file named .gitattributes in the root of your repository, with the following content:

*.bin filter=lfs diff=lfs merge=lfs -text

Tell Git LFS where to find the Giftless server. We will do that by using the git config command to write to the .lfsconfig file:

git config -f .lfsconfig lfs.url

my-organization/test-repo is an organization / repository prefix under which your files will be stored. Giftless requires all files to be stored under such prefix.

Tell git to track the configuration files we have just created. This will allow other users to have the same Git LFS configuration as us when cloning the repository:

git add .gitattributes .lfsconfig

Commit all the files we have staged:

git commit -m "Adding some files to track"

Finally, let’s push our tracked files to Git LFS:

git push -u origin master

See your objects stored by Giftless locally#

Switch over to the shell in which Giftless is running, and you will see log messages indicating that a file has just been pushed to storage and verified. This should be similar to:

INFO - - "POST /my-organization/test-repo/objects/batch HTTP/1.1" 200 -
INFO - - "PUT /my-organization/test-repo/objects/storage/30e14955ebf1352266dc2ff8067e68104607e750abb9d3b36582b8af909fcb58 HTTP/1.1" 200 -
INFO - - "POST /my-organization/test-repo/objects/storage/verify HTTP/1.1" 200 -

To further verify that the file has been stored by Giftless, we can list the files in our local Giftless storage directory:

ls -lR ../lfs-storage/

You should see:

total 1024
-rw-rw-r-- 1 shahar shahar 1048576 Feb 28 12:08 30e14955ebf1352266dc2ff8067e68104607e750abb9d3b36582b8af909fcb58

You will notice a 1mb file stored in ../lfs-storage/my-organization/test-repo - this is identical to our 1mb-blob.bin file, but it is stored with its SHA256 digest as its name.


You have now seen Giftless used as both a Git LFS server, and as a storage backend. This should give you a basic sense of how to run Giftless, and how Git LFS servers interact with Git.

In a real-world scenario, you would typically have Giftless serve as the Git LFS server but not as a storage backend - storage will be off-loaded to a Cloud Storage service which has been configured for this purpose.