Whenever I write something about synchronization, I am required, by law, to reference this picture:


If you don’t get it, just let it slide.

Disclaimer: Vim/emacs users, stop reading. Now. Probably.

The Problem

As with all useful articles, we are ultimately aiming to solve a problem. The problem we would like to amend is the slow process of developing projects on a remote sever.

Hence, what we are trying to achieve is Simple, iterative process of developing projects on a remote server

The Story

After launching a Amazon EC2 Ubuntu instance, I moved all my projects to the server in order to run them, and they instantly broke. Thankfully, I had setup a logging mechanism, so I realized what the problems were, but now I need to fix them!

I launch my favorite IDE, PyCharm, and fix those issues, and commit to the VCS. Only problem now is, I need the server to get those changes!

First thing I did was, I would ssh into the server, navigate to the project root, and pull latest, execute a deploy script. This deemed very mundane and time consuming!

I then tried utilizing an old script I had, which uses scp, to transfer my files. The problem now was, scp was transferring everything, every single time. Not only that, but I no longer need the .git directory to be sent, as well as all the patterns that are specified in the .gitignore! Something had to change. It was time to learn something new.

The rsync

After searching on how to exclude files from scp, the answer was: “You can’t. Use rsync, instead”. Best part about this is, rsync comes with so many more benefits other than excluding files, as we we’ll see now.

rsync’s beauty in this context can be described in three points:

  1. Effeciency: Only sends the new/changed files! Doesn’t transfer the whole directory every single time, like scp did.
  2. Control: Using --include, --exclude, you can easily control what gets synced, and what doesn’t.
  3. Organization: By specifying the --delete options, files deleted locally will also be deleted from the remote directory.

Needless to say, that’s all I ever wanted.

The Scripts

Now, let’s take a look at how this works:

def cmd_ec2_rsyc_project(project_path="."):
    """Syncs the project path with the ec instances projects dir, optionally invoking '' remotely"""

    project_path = resolve_path(project_path)
    # Important: Make sure we have a trailing slash! Read more:
    project_path += "/" if not project_path.endswith("/") else ""

    # Resolve the remote path
    project_name = os.path.basename(project_path[:-1])
    target_project_path = os.path.join(REMOTE_PROJECTS_DIR, project_name)
    remote_path = REMOTE_ADDRESS + ":" + target_project_path

    # Read more about the extra options here:
    os.system("rsync -azP --delete --exclude '.*' {src} {dst}".format(
        src=project_path, dst=remote_path

    if not os.path.exists(os.path.join(project_path, "")):

    # Silver lining: Execute the deploy script after syncing
    os.system("ssh {addr} 'sudo python {script_path}'".format(
        addr=REMOTE_ADDRESS, script_path=os.path.join(target_project_path, "")


With all that setup in the pythonic terminal, it’s as tasty as pie!