Creating a Git Version Controlled Project

Create a new folder / project by either creating the project structure yourself or using a build tool to create it for you. Here are some of the example build tools you could use:

Change into the new folder created for your project. Then create a new git repository using the git initialise command:

cd my-project
git init

You have just created an empty local git repository. In effect, you have created the .git folder within your project that will contain all the change history and changes themselves as the project develops. You dont need to understand what goes on in the .git folder, but you do need to remember that if you delete it then all your change history is deleted.

Viewing changes to files (working copy)

To see what changes you could commit to git, use the git status command:

git status

If you have files in your project they will show up as untracked files when you do a git status. This means that these files have yet to be put under git version control. You will soon see that git status is used all the time to let you know what the current situation is with your changes.

Preparing to version your changes

To tell git what changes you want to version, you tell git which files you want to add to make up part of the next commit using the git add command. You can specify a particular file or you can add all files at once.

To add a specific file

git add filename.ext

To add all files that have been altered or added to the working copy since the last commit:

git add .

Adding files to git is not the same as doing a commit. With git add you are preparing one or more files to be committed. When you add a file, it is placed in what is called the staging area (or index). Staging files is a useful way to group changes over multiple files in order to make a meaningful commit. In Chapter 7 - the local git workflow, we will cover the staging area and other steps in Git.

To see what files are staged at any time, you use the git status command.

Commit your changes to the local repository

When you have told git about all the changes you want to add, you use the git commit command.

For each commit, you should provide a meaningful message that explains what you have commited. When you run the commit command, your default editor will open for you to type in the commit message. Alternativley you can specify the message with the -m option

git commit -m "meaningful message describing the commit"

For additional changes you continue the cycle of adding files (staging them) and then committing those changes. This gives you a very detailed history of changes, so you can see how the project has evolved, step back in time and more easily merge changes from different developers.

# edit files
git add filename
git commit -m "describe the change"

Viewing the history of changes

You can see all the changes that have been committed to your local repository using the git log command.

By default, git log shows a very verbose commit history. Using options with the git log command you can make the output easier to read.

git log --oneline --graph --decorate 
  • --oneline shows the commit details on a single line
  • --graph shows where branches and merges have been made in the history
  • --decorate shows which commit version

[TODO: image of git log]

Next: Ignoring files by default

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