Git Basics

Initial Setup

The first thing you have to do when using Git for the first time on a computer is to tell Git who you are. This will allow Git to keep a record of who owns or changes the files that it will manage.

Tell Git your name using the command

git config --global "Your Full Name"

where "Your Full Name" is your full name, e.g. for me I would type

git config --global "Christopher Woods"

Next you need to give Git your email address. Do this using the command

git config --global "Your Email Address"

where "Your Email Address" is your email address, e.g. for me I would type

git config --global ""

Finally, you should tell Git which text editor you want to use when it asks you to enter extra information. I recommend nano, so suggest that you type

git config --global core.editor "nano"

You can of course use vim or emacs if you prefer.

Note that you only have to type in the above the first time you use Git on a new computer. You don’t have to type it in every time you log in.

Creating a Version-Controlled Directory

Git provides version control at the level of a directory. This means that Git will track the versions of all files that are contained within a specified directory (and sub-directories of that directory). This directory can contain any files that you want, e.g. you could use Git to version;

For this workshop we will create a directory into which we will place a set of text files. First, we must create this directory, which we will call versioned_dir. Do this using the command;

mkdir versioned_dir

(note that Git doesn’t care what you call the directory, so we are just choosing a name that is descriptive)

Next, we need to tell Git that it should track versions of files in this directory. To do this, we first need to change into this directory;

cd versioned_dir

Then, we tell Git to track versions of files in this directory using the command git init. Now type

git init

Git should print something to the screen that looks like this;

Initialized empty Git repository in /home/chris/versioned_dir/.git/

This is a sign of success, and is Git telling you that it has now created an empty repository in the versioned_dir directory, which will track all files and all changes that occur within this directory.

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