Version control is at the heart of any file-based project. Whether you’re a software developer, team member, project manager, student, or anyone working on file-based projects, tracking changes is essential to creating a great product.
In the world of version control, Git leads the way!
What Is Git?
Git is one of the most popular open-source version control systems, and millions of projects worldwide rely on Git to manage their codebase. It is fast becoming the standard for version control. Furthermore, it is a free distributed version control system that allows programmers to track their code changes as different versions of their project.
But what does this really mean? Simply, Git is a system that tracks content. It tracks content by providing a history of all the changes made by developers to the code within the various files of a project. Every time changes are made to a project and it is saved, Git creates what is known as a commit. A commit represents the state of all files in a project at a specific point in time.
Git is a distributed version control system that enables a team of developers to collaboratively work on a single project; a copy of the project is available on all the developers’ personal computers. You can host projects on your computer, a private server, or an open-source website, such as GitHub, because they all mirror entire repositories and change histories. Git is the version control system, and GitHub is basically cloud storage for managing Git repositories.
How does Git work?
As explained, Git allows you to save your code and track all the changes you make. Typically, when using Git, your code moves through three locations, known as the working directory, staging area, and repository:
- The working directory is where you do all your work like editing, creating, organizing, and deleting files;
- The staging area is where you can track any changes you made in the working directory; and
- The repository is where Git permanently stores changes that you made. Each commit to this repository is considered a version.
Benefits of Git
- All processes are atomic. This means that Git processes a set of changes as a single operation.
- Git allows developers to maintain a large number of separate code branches. Creating, deleting, and merging these branches is transparent and fast.
- Another excellent feature of Git is that it uses a data model to ensure encryption integrity for everything in the repository. This is not possible in other version control systems.
- Because Git is becoming the standard for version control it’s integrated into most IDE’s, such as Intelli J, Visual Studio, Code and Atom to name a few!
- Strong community support: The Git community is very large and very helpful.
- Git saves your code to the cloud, therefore serving as a backup of your local copy.
Now that you have some background information on Git and its excellent features, let’s look at the seven best Git tutorials to get you up and running quickly.
The 7 Best Git Tutorials
Below is a list of various Git tutorials for those of all skill levels. It doesn’t matter where you are in your career, there are always new things to learn or ways to simply refresh your knowledge. Each of these tutorials offers a unique way of learning Git.
Start with these and if you need further learning I suggest you take a look at this awesome Git & GitHub Boot Camp.
1. The Beginner’s Guide to Git & GitHub
- Basic installation instructions
- Git environment setup
- How to start a project in Git
- The difference between Git and GitHub
2. What Is Version Control
While you won’t learn everything there is to know about Git from this tutorial, it provides a robust, practical, and solid conceptual understanding of the Git version control system.
In this Git tutorial, you’ll learn:
- Git installation on Mac, Windows, and Linux
- Setting up a repository
- Version control with Git
- Collaborating in Git
3. Git: The Simple Guide
In this very simple tutorial, you will learn about how to:
- Install Git
- Set up your environment in both Mac and Windows (including autocomplete and colored commands on a Mac)
- Create a new repository
- Checkout a repository
- Use workflows (the basis of branching, updating, merging, and tagging)
The excellent HubSpot tutorial, An Introduction to Git and GitHub for Beginners, gets you started with both Git and GitHub. Because it’s designed to walk you through only the basics, it serves as a quick start guide to get you on track. The tutorial will give you a practical introduction to:
- Installing Git and creating a GitHub account
- Creating a local Git repository
- Adding a file to the staging environment
- Creating a new repository on GitHub
- Pushing a branch to GitHub
- Getting changes on GitHub back to your computer
5. Hello World Project
The GitHub Guides’s Hello World project teaches you to use GitHub to create a basic computer program. This tutorial introduces you to the fundamentals of Git:
- Creating and using a repository
- Starting and managing a new branch
- Making changes to a file and pushing them to GitHub as commits
- Opening and merging a pull request
LearnEnoughGit to BeDangerous is an excellent resource for learning and mastering Git, and I recommend visiting this site to anyone looking to learn Git. First it presents an introduction to version control in Git. Second, the writer shares lessons from his early experiences with Git. And most important, the principles and concepts behind version control systems are discussed.
Things you will learn in this tutorial include:
- Installation and configuration of Git
- Creating a repository
- Adding HTML tags and structure
Anyone with basic UNIX command-line skills but no previous knowledge of Git will find this Git tutorial useful. This is the original Git-SCM (source control management) open source website maintained by the Git community.
This tutorial teaches you how to:
- Create a Git repository
- View versions of a project
- Understand history using commits
- Manipulate branches
There is no excuse to avoid Git; sooner or later, you’ll need Git for your project, so it’s better to start learning now. However, true mastery requires a lot of practice and in-depth training. Although the tutorials mentioned in this post will not give you everything you need to know about Git, they offer an excellent way to learn some of the nitty-gritty of Git and its purposes.
Nevertheless, if you need a more comprehensive approach to Git without prior knowledge or experience, take a look at this Git & GitHub Boot Camp here. It’s a two-day class that gives you insight and hands-on experience with Git and related version control concepts.
First the course instructs you on implementing basic and advanced Git commands. Second, it teaches best practices for using GitHub as a platform for collaborative code development. Above all, by the end of this course, you’ll know how to manage large-scale projects using Git and GitHub.
What are you waiting for? Enroll now!