GIT for dummies

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GIT is well known as an extremely useful tool for developers, but what is it, how does it work and why is it useful for beginning developers?

What is GIT used for?

GIT is a software that is installed locally on a computer that will handle ‘Version Control’. Version Control is a great way to keep track of changes to projects files, which are stored in a particular directory. As these files will inevitably change over time as other people work on them, Version Control makes it possible to revert back to a previous working versions of the files, keeping multiple copies of the same directory at the same time. GIT keeps an history of any change made to the directory with some additional information like “who” did it and “when”. It can then be used to make steps back and forth through each point of git’s history whenever necessary. This is all very useful for individuals but when working as a team the project directory will need to be shared and changes will need to be sent amongst the team. The best way to share a project under git with other team members is to use an hosted git service such as GitHub or Bitbucket.

Github

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Github is a repository hosting service which gives you “a place” where you can host your git repository. GIT provides the power for an individual to work on their own (local) copy until they are ready to “pull” in their collaborators changes and push back their own. However, this can be tricky if a collaborator is not working right next each other and they do not know when their collaborator is going to be connected to a network.
Having your repository on Github allow every team member to rely on a always-available, shared-with-the-team directory in which all changes made by all members are securely stored. A good habit for users of GIT to get into is to snapshot early and snapshot often. The benefits of this are that other users can see changes and make comments on work that is being done. This is incredibly useful as the feedback and suggestions can help get a project completed to the best possible result. This approach can also save a lot of time if a more knowledgeable and experience users makes suggestions or decides to collaborate.
Github has many more features and has become an industry’s standard resource.

Bitbucket

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A popular competitor is Bitbucket, which provides similar features and offer a more interesting pricing model. These services are a place to host and share code and a way to collaborate with other users using GIT.

Github and Bitbucket are currently the most popular GIT hosting services, both with a very broad community of users. GIT is not too difficult to learn and there is a free online book available on PDF or Mobi that provides a step by step walkthrough.

And remember that any git hosting service you choose, you can use it with hi.diplo