Git Tutorial for Beginners

Git is a distributed version control system that allows users to collaborate on a project without relying on a central server.

Anyone can clone a repository (project) and get the entire repo’s history. In other words, everyone has a complete backup of the project.

Install Git before proceeding

Demystifying Github

We’ll mimic an entire Git workflow using only three folders.

github will be the folder to push/pull/clone from just like the real Github

dev1 represents a developer

dev2 represents another developer

Create the 3 folders:

$ mkdir github dev1 dev2
|-- github 
|-- dev1
|-- dev2

cd into github and initialize it as a bare repo (sharing repo like Github):

$ cd github 
$ git init --bare

A bare repository sits on a server and allows developers to push/pull to it. This is the equivalent to the real Github.

dev1 and dev2 both want to work on the same project so they both clone the bare repository:

$ cd dev1 
$ git clone ../github .
$ cd dev2 
$ git clone ../github .

Inside of dev1 create a new file and push it to the central server (github):

# dev1 creates a new file named hello.txt
$ echo "hello world" >> hello.txt

Before pushing the new file, Git requires you to take a snapshot of your changes by “committing” with a message of your changes.

Git also needs to know what changes to commit by adding the file to the “staging” area:

# Adds the new file to the staging area
$ git add hello.txt

# Commits the changes in the staging area
# with a message for other developers to know what changed
$ git commit -m "Added a new file"

Now we can push our changes to the central server (github):

# origin is an alias for the URL of /github 
# master is the current branch you're working on
$ git push origin master

Branches in Git allow developers to modify the existing code without making changes to the original. So in case you modify the project and later on decide you don’t want those changes you can simply delete the branch.

Git by default creates a master branch and it’s wise not to work in it, but instead create a new branch and merge it with the master later on.

dev2 needs to pull the latest changes made by dev1:

# fetches the new changes and merges them with your own code
$ git pull 

Now dev2 has the file added by dev1 “hello.txt”

And that’s the basics of Git. There are many more commands that you should learn such as undoing a commit or removing a file from the staging area so I recommend continuing here.

Thanks for reading!