Monday, May 3, 2010

Version control with GIT on Windows

GIT is a Bitkeeper inspired version control system created by Linus Torvalds. It features fast distributed, decentralized version control. Originally developed for Linux, the application is now also available to Windows under the name MsysGIT.

If you don't like the standard integrated Windows Explorer interface, you can also download the interface by Tortoise here: It still needs MsysGIT to work.

Quick reference of commands I regularly use:

Basic commands:
git init - place current directory under version control
git add . - stage all files in the current directory for commit
git commit - commit all staged files
git commit -a - commit all files (including unstaged ones)
git log - view history of changes
git diff - show changes between commits

Clone commands:
git clone <path_to_existing_repos> <clone_name> - clone an existing repository
git pull - fetch latest changes from master branch
git push - push latest changes to master branch
git pull <existing clone> [<branch>] - fetch latest changes from clone
git push <existing clone> [<branch>] - push latest changes to clone

Branche commands:
git branch - list all branches
git branch <branch_name> - create a new branch in current repository
git checkout <branch_name> - checkout current branch in current repository
git merge <branch_name> - merge branch into master branch

There is also a GIT plugin available for Eclipse:

Next, I will describe a real life scenario of a team working on the same project.

John starts a new project and creates a local repository from his working directory:

cd project
git init
git add .
git commit

Now he wants to share this project with his team members. To do that, John creates a central empty "bare" project that is going to hold all the project files:

cd <path_to_central_directory>
mkdir project
cd project
git init --bare

Once the central repository is ready, John pushes the content from his local working directory to the central repository:

git remote add origin <path_to_central_directory>/project
git push origin master

Now Karen can join this project by cloning the central repository to her local directory:

git clone <path_to_central_directory>/project

She can now edit some files and push the changes to the central repository:

git add file
git commit
git push [origin master]

John can fetch or pull the changes from the central repository to merge them with his own repository with:

git fetch
git merge HEAD


git pull origin master

Now, John wants to start a new version in a branch:

git branch new_version

The current checked out branch can be viewed using this command:

git branch

John can start editting the new branch by checking out the new branch by using:

git checkout new_version

When John is done, he can merge the changes in the new branch to the master with:

git merge new_version


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