Integration with Git

Git and DataLad can use each other’s credential system. Both directions are independent of each other and none is necessarily required. Either direction can be configured based on URL matching patterns. In addition, Git can be configured to always query DataLad for credentials without any URL matching.

Let Git query Datalad

In order to allow Git to query credentials from DataLad, Git needs to be configured to use the git credential helper delivered with DataLad (an executable called git-credential-datalad). That is, a section like this needs to be part of one’s git config file:

[credential "https://*"]
  helper = "datalad"


  • This most likely only makes sense at the user or system level (options –global`|–system` with git config), since cloning of a repository needs the credentials before there is a local repository.

  • The name of that section is a URL matching expression - see man gitcredentials.

  • The URL matching does NOT include the scheme! Hence, if you need to match http as well as https, you need two such entries.

  • Multiple git credential helpers can be configured - Git will ask them one after another until it got a username and a password for the URL in question. For example on macOS, Git comes with a helper to use the system’s keychain and Git is configured system-wide to query git-credential-osxkeychain. This does not conflict with setting up DataLad’s credential helper.

  • The example configuration requires git-credential-datalad to be in the path in order for Git to find it. Alternatively, the value of the helper entry needs to be the absolute path of git-credential-datalad.

  • In order to make Git always consider DataLad as a credential source, one can simply not specify any URL pattern (so it’s [credential] instead of [credential “SOME-PATTERN”])

Let DataLad query Git

The other way around, DataLad can ask Git for credentials (which it will acquire via other git credential helpers). To do so, a DataLad provider config needs to be set up:

  url_re = https://.*data\.example\.com
  authentication_type = http_basic_auth
  credential = data_example_cred
  type = git


  • Such a config lives in a dedicated file named after the provider name (e.g. all of the above example would be the content of data_example_provider.cfg, matching [provider:data_example_provider]).

  • Valid locations for these files are listed in Credential management.

  • In opposition to Git’s approach, url_re is a regular expression that matches the entire URL including the scheme.

  • The above is particularly important in case of redirects, as DataLad currently matches the URL it was given instead of the one it ultimately uses the credentials with.

  • The name of the credential section must match the credential entry in the provider section (e.g. [credential:data_example_cred] and credential = data_example_cred in the above example).

DataLad will prompt the user to create a provider configuration and respective credentials when it first encounters a URL that requires authentication but no matching credentials are found. This behavior extends to the credential helper and may therefore be triggered by a git clone if Git is configured to use git-credential-datalad. However, interactivity of git-credential-datalad can be turned off (see git-credential-datalad -h)

It is possible to end up in a situation where Git would query DataLad and vice versa for the same URL, especially if Git is configured to query DataLad unconditionally. git-credential-datalad will discover this circular setup and stop it by simply ignoring DataLad’s provider configuration that points back to Git.