I stumbled across this thread two days ago while I struggled with the same issue. After finally arriving at a nice, tidy solution, I wrote an article about it here:
Git push with submodules: a how-to guide
I realized that if I'm going to
push to a bare repo, only to use
pull into a non-bare repo, I might as well just keep it simple and
push directly to the non-bare repository. This is a clear case where the "best practice" of only pushing to a bare repo is only adding complexity.
In case of link rot, I'll paste my solution here, skipping over the bits where I run into all of the same problems that I'm sure you did.
First, let’s create a universal
post-receive hook, one that I won’t need to change on a per-repository basis:
[aaron@aaronadams]$ cat > /usr/local/share/git-core/templates/hooks/post-receive.sample
# An example hook script to update the working tree, including its
# submodules, after receiving a push.
# This hook requires core.worktree to be explicitly set, and
# receive.denyCurrentBranch to be set to false.
# To enable this hook, rename this file to "post-receive".
# Read standard input or hook will fail
while read oldrev newrev refname
# Unset GIT_DIR or the universe will implode
# Change directory to the working tree; exit on failure
cd `git config --get core.worktree` || exit
# Force checkout
git checkout --force
# Force update submodules
git submodule update --init --recursive --force
[aaron@aaronadams]$ chmod +x /usr/local/share/git-core/templates/hooks/post-receive.sample
Now let’s go ahead and break all the rules.
We’re going to initialize a non-bare Git repository, right in our website directory; make sure it can receive from
git push; explicitly set its working tree to its parent directory; and enable our hook we just created.
[aaron@aaronadams]$ cd /var/www/vhosts/aaronadams.ca/sites/staging.aaronadams.ca
[aaron@aaronadams]$ git init && git config --bool receive.denyCurrentBranch false && git config --path core.worktree ../ && mv .git/hooks/post-receive.sample .git/hooks/post-receive
Initialized empty Git repository in /var/www/vhosts/aaronadams.ca/sites/staging.aaronadams.ca/.git/
Finally, on our local machine, we’ll change our remote to reflect the location of our new repository, and push.
[aaron@aaronadams]$ git remote set-url staging email@example.com:sites/staging.aaronadams.ca
[aaron@aaronadams]$ git push staging master
remote: Submodule 'codeigniter' (git://github.com/EllisLab/CodeIgniter.git) registered for path 'codeigniter'
remote: Cloning into 'codeigniter'...
remote: Submodule path 'codeigniter': checked out 'fd24adf31255822d6aa9a5d2dce9010ad2ee4cf0'
* [new branch] master -> master
Holy crap, it worked!
Not only is this method compatible with submodules, it also requires just one command to set up a new remote repository (which, okay, consists of four commands). It also keeps the repository and the working tree in the same place; and with no absolute paths required in our configuration or hook files, it’s now completely portable as well.
I hope this answer helps somebody as much as everyone else's Stack Exchange posts helped me over the last two days!