Git Basics

This post is part of a series designed to help developers who are just starting out understand some basics and how they relate to WordPress. This post iin the series is about Git, which, unlike previous posts, doesn’t stand for anything and is neither an acronym, initialism, nor abbreviation. We’ll walk you through the basics and provide a video on how to get started hands-on.

What is Git?

Okay, so what is Git and how does it relate to GitHub? First let’s tackle what Git is and then we’ll explain how it relates to GitHub. Git was created in 2005 by Linus Torvalds, the same individual who created the Linux OS. He humorously names his projects after himself, thus came up with “git” – slang in British English for an unpleasant person. It’s an inside joke that not many people get.

Git is a distributed revision control and source code management system. This means it allows multiple developers to work on the same project without stepping on each others’ toes and overwriting their changes. Think of it as a tracking system that provides a clear view of who did what and when. Git is now the most widely adopted version control system globally for software development. It’s a free, open-source tool available for download.

Every working directory in Git is a repository with complete history and version tracking capabilities, allowing for powerful branching and merging. For more about working directories and repositories, visit Working Directory and Repository.

Git vs SVN

How does Git differ from the other popular software versioning and control system SVN (Apache Subversion)? Though both are version control systems, they have significant differences in directory structures, subproject handling, and history preservation. Detailed analyses and comparisons can be found in various online resources.

What is GitHub?

Now, what about GitHub? Well, it’s a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering where you can store your Git repositories. It’s a hub for repositories, hence the name GitHub. GitHub is like using Google Docs or Dropbox for collaboration but is specifically tailored for software development. It helps prevent the common issue of code overwriting that happens in team settings.

The idea behind GitHub is that team members make frequent commits or snapshots of their code, typically ranging from 4-12 times a day. This facilitates review, collaboration, and helps prevent coding disasters. GitHub also offers issue tracking, code review, and a wiki for documentation. Furthermore, GitHub Actions enable automation of workflows, including CI/CD.

For more information, visit the official Git website, where you can also find official Git videos to help you get started. You can also explore GitHub pricing, download the client for Mac or Windows, and sign up for GitHub’s training courses.

Programming in BASIC in junior high many years ago, people would always be overwriting their team members’ code. GitHub helps prevent that sort of thing from happening.

Exploring a Bit Further

After understanding the basics of Git and GitHub, it’s essential to grasp some of the advanced features that make these tools indispensable in the modern developer’s toolkit. 

Beyond Version Control: A Backup Solution

Git’s role extends beyond version control. It acts as a backup mechanism, safeguarding your code. Each clone of a repository is not just a copy but a full backup, providing a safety net against data loss.

Integrations: Tailoring GitHub to Your Needs

Lastly, GitHub’s strength lies in its adaptability, thanks to a myriad of integrations with different development tools and services. The GitHub Marketplace is a treasure trove, offering applications and services that can be integrated directly into your workflow, enhancing productivity and customizing your development experience.

As you dive deeper into Git and GitHub, you’ll discover that these tools are more than just a version control system and a code repository platform. They are enablers, empowering developers to work smarter, collaborate effectively, and deliver high-quality software efficiently.

Remote Repositories: Beyond Just GitHub

While GitHub stands out as a popular choice for hosting Git repositories, it’s by no means the only option. Platforms like Bitbucket and GitLab also support Git, each bringing unique features to the table. This flexibility allows teams to choose a platform that best aligns with their project’s needs and workflows.

We hope this guide has given you a clear understanding of Git and GitHub. Remember, practice is key to mastering these tools, so don’t hesitate to dive in and start experimenting with your projects.

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