Git Diff With Previous Commit Versions

In my last post, I had a comparison of two different versions of the scripts portion of my site’s package.json file. You may have wondered, “how did he so easily compare his current site build script with a site build script version from long ago?”

The answer is using git diff with not only a filename for the file to compare, but with commit IDs of the two commits in question. It looks like this:

git diff 5298935609b106365c2786a711c844395539a43d cfcbb396fb29e1e100908152f002ae2f9f6d3f29 package.json

And if you use a difftool for comparing changes, just change diff to difftool in the above:

git difftool 5298935609b106365c2786a711c844395539a43d cfcbb396fb29e1e100908152f002ae2f9f6d3f29 package.json

Then your difftool of choice opens and you can compare the two versions of the same file from two different commits side by side:

Comparing two versions of the same file from two different commits

In order to find commit IDs, the command git log will do the trick. The commit at the top is your latest commit. You can even search for a particular phrase with git log, which I did in order to find my first Pagefind implementation.

git log -S pagefind

I just had to page down a bit to get to where I first finished adding Pagefind prior to using Astro-Pagefind and then grab that commit ID for the comparison:

commit 5298935609b106365c2786a711c844395539a43d
Author: Scott Willsey <>
Date: Mon Feb 27 15:26:40 2023 -0800
Adds public/_pagefind files for dev mode

And, finally, in the interest of fairness, I dug through my git history and found what it takes to implement pagefind index build into the site build process, and it’s much simpler than what I wrote previously. Most of what I had in my build script for Pagefind prior to Astro-Pagefind was copying files to the public directory so Pagefind would function in dev mode. All you really need to integrate pagefind directly is something like this:

"build" : "export NODE_ENV=production && astro build && ./pagefind --source dist"

Git remains awesome, and its flexibility in allowing you to use helper apps of your choice does too.