Git Reference


GIT REFERENCE: most important and commonly used Git commands

Git has been around as a source code and revision control management system since being developed in 2005 by Linus Torvalds for the Linux kernel. It was designed for speed after Torvalds realized that other commercially available systems would not scale to the demands of Linux and some took up to 30 seconds to apply a patch.
Since 2005, Git has grown to become a favorite of software developers and as of May 2013 it is estimated that some 36% use it as their primary source code management system. It has a similar penetration in the open source sector.

Understanding the main Git commands
There are many sites offering git reference lists but many are alphabetical. This is less helpful when you don’t know the name of the command you are looking for. A better approach is to divide the commands into functional areas before ordering them alphabetically. This is the approach taken in the following git reference list.

Starting projects
git init: This command will allow you to create a repository from an existing file directory.
git clone: This will create a copy of your project, ideal for collaborating or using code.


git add: Will allow you to add files to the staging area. It also lets you add new modifications to existing files.
git status: Allows you to view files statuses across staging areas and working directories.
git diff: Will display the difference between staged content and that which has been modified but not staged.
git commit: Once content has been staged, git commit is run to record the snapshot.
git reset: Will undo unwanted changes and commits and can reverse anything accidentally staged.
git rm: Completely removes files from the staging area, effectively deleting it.
git stash: Is a sort of intermediate command which will save changes to your current working directory and index for later use, without committing the work.

Merging and branching

git branch: Will create, list and manage working contexts.
git checkout: Is used when you need to switch to another branch context.
git merge: Will merge any branch context into the current main branch.
git log: Allows the user to show the commit history of any branch
git tag: Is used to provide a bookmark for any snapshot that the user wants to highlight.

Updating or sharing projects
git remote: Is used to add, delete or just list remote repository aliases.
git fetch: Will fetch new data and branches from a remote repository.
git pull: Will take data from a remote repository and attempt to merge into the current branch.
git push: Is used to push data and new branches to a remote repository.

Comparison and inspection
git log: Is used in this context to filter commit history by factors such as author or by certain time periods.
git diff: Will allow users to compare the changes between two separate snapshots.