Git & GitHub

Effective Versioning & Teamwork

Why Git?

Why version control?

from Geek&Poke

Why version control?

from PhD

Which version control system?

Which version control system?


Git configuration

User identity

git config --global "<Your Name>"
git config --global "<your@email>"


git config --global "John Doe"
git config --global ""

Text editor

git config --global core.editor "<text-editor>"

Example for nano

git config --global core.editor "nano"

Line ending

macOS, Linux, or WSL

git config --global core.autocrlf input


git config --global core.autocrlf true

List settings

git config --list


Internal documentation

Man pages

git <command> --help
git help <command>
man git-<command>


git commit --help
git help commit
man git-commit

Internal documentation

Man pages

git <command> --help
git help <command>
man git-<command>

Useful keybindings when you are in the pager

SPACE      scroll one screen down
b          scroll one screen up
q          quit

Internal documentation

Command options

git <command> -h


git commit -h

Online documentation

Courses & workshops

Q & A

Understanding Git

Project history

Git saves the history of a project as a series of snapshots

Project history

Those snapshots are called commits

Project history

Commits are identified by unique hash

Project history

Each commit contains these metadata: - author - date and time - the hash of parent commit(s) - a message

Project history

As soon as you create the first commit, a pointer called a branch is created and it points to that commit. By default, that first branch is called main

Project history

Another pointed (HEAD) points to the branch main

HEAD indicates where we are in the project history

Recording history

As you create more commits, the history grows …

Recording history

… and the pointers HEAD and main automatically move to the last commit

Recording history

For simplicity, the diagrams can be simplified this way

Displaying the commit history

As a list

git log --oneline

Displaying the commit history

Making it more readable

git log \
    --graph \
    --date-order \
    --date=short \
    --pretty=format:'%C(cyan)%h %C(blue)%ar %C(auto)%d'`
                   `'%C(yellow)%s%+b %C(magenta)%ae'

Displaying the commit history

As a graph

git log --graph

Displaying the commit history

As a graph showing all commits

git log --graph --all

How does Git work?

The three trees of Git

A useful representation of Git’s functioning is to imagine three file trees

Making changes to the working tree

When you work on your project, your working tree changes

Staging changes

You organize your next snapshot by picking and choosing some changes

git add <what-you-want-to-commit-next>

Staging changes

Those changes move to the index or staging area

Creating a commit

Finally you create a commit with what is in the staging area

git commit -m "<message>"

Creating a commit

Finally you create a commit with what is in the staging area


What are remotes?

Copies of a project & its history

Anywhere, including on external drive or on the same machine as the project

Often on a different machine to serve as backup or on a network (e.g. internet) to serve as syncing hub for collaborations

Popular online Git repository managers & hosting services:


3 situations

  • You create a project on your machine & want others to contribute to it (1)

  • You want to contribute to a project started by others & …

      … you have write access to it (2)

      … you do not have write access to it (3)

(1) You start the project

Create a remote on GitHub

1. Create an empty repository on GitHub

Go to , login, & go to your home page

Look for the Repositories tab & click the green New button

Enter the name you want for your repo, without spaces

Make the repository public or private

Create a remote on GitHub

Click on the Code green drop-down button, select SSH if you have set SSH for your GitHub account or HTTPS & copy the address

In command line, cd inside your project & add the remote

git remote add <remote-name> <remote-address>

<remote-name> is a convenience name to identify that remote. You can choose any name, but since Git automatically call the remote origin when you clone a repo, it is common practice to use origin as the name for the first remote

Create a remote on GitHub

Example (using an SSH address):
git remote add origin<user>/<repo>.git
Example (using an HTTPS address):
git remote add origin<user>/<repo>.git

Create a remote on GitHub

If you are working alone on this project & only wanted to have a remote for backup, you are set

If you don’t want to grant others write access to the project & only accept contributions through pull requests, you are also set

If you want to grant your collaborators write access to the project however, you need to add them to it

Invite collaborators

  • Go to your GitHub project page
  • Click on the Settings tab
  • Click on the Manage access section on the left-hand side (you will be prompted for your GitHub password)
  • Click on the Invite a collaborator green button
  • Invite your collaborators with one of their GitHub user name, their email address, or their full name

(2) Write access to project

Clone project

cd to location where you want your local copy, then

git clone <remote-address> <local-name>

This sets the project as a remote to your new local copy & that remote is automatically called origin

Without <local-name>, the repo will have the name of the last part of the remote address

(3) No write access to project

Collaborate without write access

  1. Fork the project

  2. Clone your fork on your machine

  3. Add the initial project as a second remote & call it upstream

Working with remotes

Get information on remotes

List remotes:

git remote

List remotes with their addresses:

git remote -v

Get information on remotes

Get more information on a remote:

git remote show <remote-name>
git remote show origin

Manage remotes

Rename a remote:

git remote rename <old-remote-name> <new-remote-name>

Delete a remote:

git remote remove <remote-name>

Change the address of a remote:

git remote set-url <remote-name> <new-url> [<old-url>]

Get data from a remote

If you collaborate on a project, you have to get the data added by your teammates to keep your local project up to date

To download new data from a remote, you have 2 options:

  • git fetch
  • git pull

Fetch changes

Fetching downloads the data from a remote that you don’t already have in your local version of the project

git fetch <remote-name>

The branches on the remote are now accessible locally as <remote-name>/<branch>. You can inspect them or you can merge them into your local branches

git fetch origin

Pull changes

Pulling fetches the changes & merges them onto your local branches

git pull <remote-name> <branch>
git pull origin main

If your branch is already tracking a remote branch, you can omit the arguments

git pull

Push to a remote

Uploading data to the remote is called pushing

git push <remote-name> <branch-name>
git push origin main

Push to a remote

You can set an upstream branch to track a local branch with the -u flag

git push -u <remote-name> <branch-name>
git push -u origin main

From now on, all you have to run when you are on main is:

git push

Submit a pull request

  1. Pull from upstream to update your local project
  2. Create & checkout a new branch
  3. Make & commit your changes on that branch
  4. Push that branch to your fork (i.e. origin — remember that you do not have write access to upstream)
  5. Go to the original project GitHub’s page & open a pull request


by jscript