Distributed Version Control System

Quick intro to Git – Part II

Hi guys! As promised, here is the second part of ‘Quick Intro to Git’ topic. Here I will share my experience on working with git. I’ll walk you through with the steps needed to install the git command line and then use GitHub account to work with a repository and branches. I will try my best to keep this concise.

GitHub account

First step is to setup a git hub account. Visit this link. You can choose your personal plan based on your requirement.

Install Git command line

If you plan on using Git with GitHub only then you can probably live happily with GitHub desktop. This is a tool that gets installed to your local system and allows performing all the git operations with a simple to use user-interface. You would never have to worry about running commands at command line when you use GitHub desktop. But there are few points you might have to consider so please checkout their FAQ page. In this article I’ll explain the command line workflow.

Note: GitHub desktop also installs the git command line for you.


Once you have installed git, next you would need to configure it. Git configuration can be performed at following levels:

  • System Level
    • git config –system
    • Configuration file stored at c:\Program Files (x86)\Git\etc\gitconfig.
  • User Level
    • git config –global
    • Configuration file stored at c:\Users\<USER>\.gitconfig.
  • Repository Level
    • git config
    • Configuration file stored in .git/config under the repository.

Configuring user name & email

Depending upon which level you want to specify these settings at, choose the appropriate flag. I have set these settings at user level as I always want to use the same settings for all of my repos. Fire up your git shell command tool from your programs menu (i had a shortcut on my desktop) and run following commands:

#set user name
git config --global user.name "John Doe"

#set user email
git config --global user.email "johndoe@xyz.com"

#set editor
git config --global core.editor notepad

#list settings
git config --global --list
user.name=John Doe

Create Repository on GitHub

First step is to create a new repository on GitHub. Go to github.com and sign in with your credentials. If you don’t have a user account, create one. Next create a new repository by clicking ‘+’ on top bar or go to https://github.com/new.


Creating a new repository on GitHub.

For the purpose of this article, i created my repo at https://github.com/amarsingh19/TestRepo. Next I created a local folder on my computer which will store the code from my repository. Using command prompt go to this folder and initialize this folder as a git project. For this run the following command:

 git init
 Initialized empty Git repository in C:/Test/GitProject/.git/

This will initialize an empty Git repo and you will see a special folder called .git which will be hidden. Do not fiddle with this folder unless you know what you are going to do. By default your working branch is called ‘master’.

Create new files & Commit

I used notepad to edit file like this:

touch FirstFile.txt
notepad.exe FirstFile.txt

Add following content and save your file.

This is first file.

Version 1

Branch: Master

Next just to check how git recognizes your files, run the following command and notice the output. Newly created files are not tracked by git.

#check the status of the files
git status

# On branch master
# Initial commit
# Untracked files:
# (use "git add <file>..." to include in what will be committed)
#           FirstFile.txt

Run following commands to add your file to git and commit.

git add FirstFile.txt
git commit -m "First Commit..."
# -m is for adding comment to the commit.
[master (root-commit) 987ff41] First Commit...
1 files changed. 5 insertions(+)
create mode 100644 FirstFile.txt

This way you can work with files and make edits locally. All your commits are being done offline. These are not yet pushed over to your GitHub repo yet.

Push your changes to your GitHub repo

You are now ready to push your changes to GitHub. If at this stage you would like to unstage the changes, you can use run git reset command. Before you push your changes you would have to add a remote reference to your repo on GitHub.

git remote add origin https://github.com/amarsingh19/TestRepo.git

#next push your contents to your repo
git push -u origin master

Now go to your git hub repository and refresh. You should see the new added file.

Lets make another change before we move forward:

notepad.exe FirstFile.txt

Modify the content of this file and change version to 2.

This is first file.

Version 2

Branch: Master
#check the status of the files
git status

#On branch master
#Your branch is up-to-date with 'origin/master'.
#Changes not staged for commit:
# (use "git add <file>..." to update what will be committed)
# (use "git checkout -- <file>..." to discard changes in working directory)
# modified: FirstFile.txt
#no changes added to commit (use "git add" and/or "git commit -a")
git add FirstFile.txt
git commit -m "Second Commit..."

#[master 1c01996] Second commit...
# 1 file changed, 1 insertion(+), 1 deletion(-)
git push -u origin master

Now go to GitHub and open FirstFile.txt. You should see the updated version in the file content. 🙂


So by now you should be able to use the git hub command line to initialize a new repo locally and then commit your files to git hub.

This is all for this part of the article. In my next article I will brief you on how I created a feature branch and submitted a pull request and finally merge the changes from feature branch back to master branch.


Distributed Version Control System

Quick intro to Git – Part I

Hello friends!

Lately I was challenged and given an assignment to consume some source code hosted on GitHub and contribute to it by performing few given tasks. I, being pretty new to Git spent few hours over internet and trying to figure out how does this thing work. I had no prior knowledge on it and given the fact that of my past experience has been on Microsoft technologies I was actually little scared. 🙂

But, let me tell you, i felt much better when i completed that challenge. Although I must admit that despite being a simple challenge it was still daunting to me.

Anyways, I felt that it would be kind of nice to share my experience and may be help others to understand about git.

What is Git?

Git is an open source project that has a great community support and a solid user base. If you are an open source developer then Git is probably a first class requirement for you. Based on your use, it can be free of cost to you.

Hey ! But what exactly is git and why would somebody use it? Good question !

Git is probably the widely used version control system in today’s computer world. It is used more than other popular ones in the league, like TFS, SVN.

Few reasons for its popularity:

  1. Flexibility
  2. Robustness
  3. Performance
  4. Distributed

Git has a great support for distributed development. Rather than everything pointing back to a central code repository, Git allows each developer to have their own local repository where all their code changes and commits with full history are maintained. Since you are going to be working locally in your own repository, you can work in a disconnected mode and still commit files and push all of your commits to server using a simple push command in one go. Isn’t that a great feature?


During my challenge I used GitHub which is a code hosting platform to store my code files. See this Hello World example to understand more about GitHub tool but in short it lets you create repositories, create branches and merge them. You will need to create an account on GitHub to perform these operations.

GitHub allows you to access various public repos available. You can make your own copies from them by forking out and start to contribute. When you create a new repository it is accessible at a web url (see example below) which makes it so easier to be shared with someone else:


Fork a repo

Fork is basically a copy of a repository. You can either create a blank repository or fork (read as copy) out an existing repository. This feature makes it so easier to have something in place to begin with and not work from scratch. This also allows you to work independently in your own copy without impacting the original repository. You can find links to tons of existing repository and contribute here.

Pull Requests

Later on when you are done with your changes/fixes you can collaborate with the owner of the original repository by issuing ‘Pull Requests’ to the owner. I consider ‘Pull Request’ to be like a code review exercise and if your changes are approved then these can be merged into the original repository by the owner. You can also set notifications using ‘Watch’ and you will be notified whenever an action is performed on your pull request.


It is always a good idea to provide a solid documentation for your project. This helps others to understand and contribute to your project in much better way. When you create a new repository a master branch is created for you automatically. This branch contains a blank file called README.md (.md is a short for markdown). You can use this file to provide some documentation about what your project is and what current branch contains. For more information on how to format the markdown file, follow this link.

But readme.md files are generally kept short and concise. If you wish to produce more detailed and long form content about your project then you can put that information on wiki for your repository.

I hope this article was informative. Apart from these concepts, I would also like to share how to setup a git repo locally and talk about few git commands at windows command prompt. I will explain more in Quick Intro to Git – Part II.