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Git Basics: Main Concepts and Principles Explained

Reading time 5 min
Published Apr 11, 2019
Updated Oct 3, 2019

During the development process programmers often have issues keeping track of changes in their source code. Therefore, version-control systems were created to help developers manage and merge different revisions of projects. Many software creators use Git basic commands to keep track of alterations in the source code and to maintain different versions of projects.

Git can be confused with GitHub, but these two should not be used as synonyms. So, what is GitHub? How is it related to Git? GitHub is a web-based platform, allowing people to edit their files and manage projects online. GitHub is different from the Git tool which you have to install locally instead of using online.

Git was developed in 2005 by Linus Torvalds, the person behind the Linux operating system kernel. It is hard to keep track of your source code as it grows. In Git, changes are versions that are stored in a repository, which catalogs those changes.

Quickly revising different versions and undoing changes with Git basic commands can save your software from crashing. You will be able to know the date and authors of submitted changes. If a group of people contribute ideas to the same project, it’s worth to install Git to coordinate work and improve productivity.

Why You Should Learn Git: Purpose and Use

Git is a tool to make the lives of developers easier. If a compiler fails to compile the source code of a new version, you can quickly retrieve the previous one and find errors. However, Git vs. GitHub is a question that needs to be answered in more detail.

GitHub is a cloud-based, distributed system, handling copies of Git repositories and merging them into various branches. Git does not need any cloud hosting and mostly focuses on source code management.

GitHub is also a platform to share your code. As a result, many open-source projects are posted there. Think of GitHub as a nerdy version of Facebook or Twitter.

Who wins the Git vs. GitHub race depends on you. GitHub has recently released an Electron-based app called GitHub Desktop. Most people that use Git also use GitHub, but you do not have to. If your goal is monitoring changes in your source code, Git is enough. Here we present the reasons why Git can save people time and money:

  • Versions: always have different versions of your project and retrieve them if necessary.
  • Changes: all changes are attributed to the developer that made modifications to the project.
  • Forking: experiment with changes in repository copies without influencing the original.
  • Collaboration: work with other people on projects and manage everyone’s input.
  • Not only for developers: use Git to keep track of any project and make sure that no information is lost.
  • Compatibility: Git works on all operating systems.

Let’s also quickly review the two Git basic commands:

  • Git Delete Branch: you can delete local or remote branches. If you have already included a local branch in the original project, you can get rid of it with git branch -d branch_name. If you want to delete a branch which has not been merged with the remote one, you can use the command git branch -D branch_name. In case you want to delete a remote branch, you should use the git push remote_name --delete branch_name.
  • Git Create Branch: creating a new branch in repository is simple. To create and check a local branch, use git checkout b branch_name command. If you want to make a remote branch, you can simply push a local one with git push remote_name branch_name command.
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    Where to Start

    Before you can start taking advantage of Git, you should follow these steps:

    • Download Git. Follow this tutorial and find out how Git is downloaded and installed on different operating systems.
    • Register by providing username and email. More information on this step can be found here.
    • Learn the basics of repository which stores different versions of your projects.
    • Continue to read our tutorial. It is very short: you will learn about Git quickly.
    • In case some aspects of Git are still unclear, check out our interactive and video courses. They will provide you with more details and features that might not be fully covered in this tutorial.

    What You Will Learn

    After reading our tutorial, you will have no problem understanding Git basics. You will be able to install Git and set up your account. The terms branch and repository will also no longer be strangers: you will know about them. By learning Git basic commands, you can start monitoring your projects and collaborating with other developers.

    As we have mentioned before, you are welcome to enroll in our interactive or video courses about Git. This video course about Git is designed for beginners. It will cover such topics as installation and use of Git, important features, cloning with Cloud BitBucket, architecture and command lines.