Master the essentials and the tricky bits: rebasing, squashing, stashing, reflogs, blobs, trees, & more!
The following sentence is annoying, but also true: the best time to learn Git was yesterday. Fortunately, the second best time is today! Git is an essential tool for work in any code-related field, from data science to game development to machine learning. This course covers everything you need to know to start using Git and Github in the real-world today!
The course’s 20+ sections are broken down into four separate units:
- Git Essentials
- Next Level Git
- Github & Collaboration
- The Tricky Bits
We start off with Git Essentials. The goal of this unit is to give you all the essential Git tools you need for daily use. We start off talking about version control software, what it is, why it matters, and the history of Git. Then we install Git and run through the Unix commands you’ll need to work with Git (you can skip this if you’re already familiar). The bulk of this unit is focused on teaching the core Git mechanics like committing and branching and the associated concepts: the working directory, the repository, the staging area, etc. We cover Git commands including: git init, git add, git commit, git status, git log, git branch, and git merge. We end with a detailed look at branching, merging, and resolving conflicts.
Then we move on to out Next Level Git unit, where we cover additional commands and Git concepts that are extremely useful, but maybe not as “core” as the Git Essentials. We start with a comprehensive look at the gif diff command and the various comparisons that we can make between commits, branches, the working directory, the staging area, and more! We pay special attention to reading and parsing the dense output generated by diffs. Then we shift our focus to stashing with the git stash command, a “convenience command” that many users love incorporating into their Git workflow. Finally, we dive deep into undoing changes and time traveling with Git. We learn how to revisit earlier work, detach and re-attach HEAD, and discard changes. We cover git commands that help us undo changes including git checkout, git restore, git reset, and git revert.
Next up, we change gears to focus on Github & Collaboration. We start by exploring Github (and similar tools) that host remote repositories and discussing the benefits they provide. We create our own Github repositories and sync up changes between our remote and local repositories using the git push, git pull, and git fetch commands. We then focus on commonly used collaboration workflows that students may encounter in the real world: feature branching, pull requests, forking & cloning, and more! We discuss contributing to open source projects and configuring Github repositories for collaboration. We also spend some time learning about useful Github features including Github Gists and Github Pages for free static hosting.
The last unit in the course, The Tricky Bits, is really just a collection of useful Git command and advanced topics. We start by covering one of the “scarier” Git commands: rebasing! We discuss the potential benefits and pitfalls of rebasing and compare it to merging. Then we learn how to clean up our Git history by rewording, editing, dropping, and squashing commits using the interactive rebase command. Next, we discuss Git tags (lightweight and annotated tags) semantic versioning and tagging workflows. After that, we move on to a deep dive into the inner workings of Git. We discuss the files and folders Git uses internally, the role of hashing functions in Git, and the role of Git objects (blobs, trees, etc.). Next, we talk about reference logs and the git reflog command. Specifically, we learn how we can use reflogs to rescue “lost” commits and undo rebases. Finally, we learn how to write custom and powerful Git aliases!
Throughout the course, you’ll find tons and tons of diagrams and visual references I’ve created to try and explain Git. The course also includes exercises I’ve tested on my in-person students, to give you an opportunity to practice the concepts in the course along the way. If you are reading this sentence, I congratulate you on making it this far 🙂 I hope you enjoy the course!