Git Fundamentals: Working On A Repo

Since you have already have a basic knowledge of what is Git and a few tools and providers to start with, it is time to get on with working on your own repository.

Creating A Repository

In order to work on git, you have to create a repository first. Depending on your choice, GitHub, Bitbucket, GitLab etc. creating a repository may differ, but the main principles are the same. For instance, for GitHub and new Bitbucket interface you can click the plus icon and select “New Repository”. When the page loads;

  • Choose a repository name (will be called MyRepo from now on)
  • Set the repo visibility either private or public (depending on your provider, private repositories may not be free)
  • Click Create Repository

Now you have a repository to work with!

I Got The Repo!

Now it is time to clone your repository MyRepo from remote to your local. To do that, you have to find the “link” to that repository. Beware: if you have SSH keys already set up, you can use SSH version. Otherwise, if you have no idea how to do, you can use HTTPS. It is pretty unsecure compared to SSH, but for this tutorial series we are only getting into basics.

  • SSH Example:
  • HTTPS Example:

Now time to get those links:

  • GitHub: Click the green button “Clone or Download”  and copy the link below
  • Bitbucket: Copy the link on overview page
  • GitLab: On Project page, copy the link

A Clone Of My Own…

Time to clone your repository! Since GUI clients have their own tutorials, I will explain the CLI version using terminals instead. Don’t worry, even if they are commands they are the common terminology and I will explain them step by step. So, I recommend you to read them to have a better understanding of what GUI clients do on background. Here we go!

First, find a place for your git projects. Find somewhere cozy, easy to reach and without funky characters in path.

Change your directory to your Git folder

Clone your repo into your Git folder. Don’t worry, it will create repo’s own folder inside. It will ask for your password since it already knows that you are trying to clone your own repo.

Now you should see a folder called MyRepo inside your Git folder. If you have enabled to view hidden folders by default, you should see a .git folder. This folder encapsulates lots of information related to your repository. Simply put, this is the bridge between your local repo and remote repo.

First Of All…

You have a repository where you can share everything with collaborators. I mean, literally everything within your repository folder. Consider yourself struggling to find files to share within temp files, test codes etc… Git has a solution for that! With an ignore filed, you can simply filter out anything you do not want to share. Depending on your project, ignore files can differ. Thanks to GitHub and all contributors, you can find a collection of .gitignore files here. You can download one of the useful ones into your repository root (within MyRepo folder). You can also add your own filters to it by opening .gitignore file with your favorite code editor.

A Real Commitment

Since you have changed something, we can talk about git in depth. Git “stalks” all your files. Even if you change a string, git knows it.

To see what your git stalked, use

You can see that .gitignore file is there, but it is untracked. It means, git has identified a file change/addition but doesn’t track it. To track it, you must first add the file.

Now you have added your first file, it is also tracked by git, and ready to be commited. If you check your status by ‘git status’ again, you will see something different now:

This means you have tracking the .gitignore file and git recognizes it as staged. If you hear “stage your files”, it means add your files. You can add as many files as you can into a stage area. With this, you can share all your project or only a modified file with a single commit. We will get into this now.

Now that you have added a file to stage area, it is time to commit. Commit is simply put your staged files are done and ready to be published. To do so;

The command above saves all changes into a commit, so you can share it. The -m is short for –message, and the string in between quatation marks are your message, to be read by other collaborators to see what you are up to without checking your code. Be brief about your messages!

You can see your commits by

This is a modified version of ‘git log’ command, better for eyes. Right now, since only you contributed a file, it only shows your commit. There are lots of aliases you can use to prevent injuries on your fingers, typing all these commands. You can find a few useful aliases here in my post Git Cheat Sheet. There are also useful commands and information about what they do. Check it out!

We haven’t uploaded our commit yet, so nobody can see what you did so far. The before-mentioned upload is called ‘push’ in git terminology. To push;

Now, your local repository should push the commits to your remote repository. Any collaborator already cloned should now have access to your push.

Now you can add your project files and commit them as mentioned above easily:

  • If you have a project already, simply put all your project files into your repository root.
  • If you are starting a brand new project, put your base project files to your repository root.

Now, your gitignore file should take care of unnecessary files by not tracking them by default.

When it comes to working with multiple collaborators, things get a little nasty. I will cover up that with new commands branching, fetching, pulling and merging in my next post!

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