Git Blast Sheet

Git feels like magic. Truly amazing tool. Best place to use is a UNIX-like system. You can also use Git Bash if you are using windows.

Initial Setup

After installing git it needs to be configured. Something like this:

git config --global "Arsh Jethi"
git config --global "[email protected]"
git config --global --list

Next, it is always nice to setup ssh for ease of use later. For that first we need to generate a set of asymmetric encryption keys:

ssh-keygen -t rsa

This generates encryption keys of type that use an algorithm called rsa.

cat ~/.ssh/

Now we can conveniently copy the public key and put it in the Settings>SSH section of our remote repository (likely Github or Gitlab).

New Local Repository

Initialize git in your project directory.

git init

Add files to staging area. The dot add's all changed/added files. You can also stage individual files by naming them.

You can create a file named .gitignore and list files in it that you don't want git to track.

git add .

Commit what you added to staging area.

git commit -m 'message'

Now, you can check status of your project directory.

git status

Link to remote repository

Whatever we did so far was done on the local system. To sync this project with a remote repository we must create a new repository in our remote host and then link this project with that. The SSH keys setup before authenticates us. By default git creates branch named 'master'. While Github creates a branch named 'main'. To change the master branch to main we use the next command.

git branch -M main
git remote add origin [email protected]:jethi/repo-name.git
git push -u origin main

Origin is a standard alias for the repository used when talking to remote repo. The git push above has '-u' flag, which means set-upstream. It is necessary to add this flag for the first time to link to the remote repository. This enable argument-less use of several commands like git-pull. I highly recommend reading the documentation.

Now, you can simply send the changes done in the recent commit to the remote repo by a simple.

git push

You can also fetch changes done in the repo by a fellow collaborator.

git pull

Cloning a remote repo. You can clone a open-source remote repository on you system easily and even fetch changes done to the repo.

git clone repository-url

The repo cloned above would already be linked to upstream. But you can't push changes in it without appropiate permissions. You can always make a pull request though.

You made a mistake ?

If you added changes to staging area from mistake, you can unstage them like this:

git reset HEAD file-name

Reset last commits (The number 1 is for the last commit can be changed for multiple previous commits):

The --soft flag doesn't discard those commits, instead brings them to working area.

Note: If the commit that is reset was already pushed to remote you must force push the next commit using --force

git reset --soft HEAD~1

We can also discard changes to a file done in a recent commit.

git checkout -- file-name

Delete a file being tracked.

git rm file-name

Rename a file being tracked.

git mv initial-name new-name

The power of git

You can check your previous commits and revert to any of them. This can also be done for a single file. How cool is that ?

'git log' helps us do that:

git help log

Some ways to see previous commits:

git log
git log --abbrev-commit
git log --oneline --graph --decorate
git log hash-from hash-to
git log --since="1 day ago"


Basic stuff. I recommend learning more from the documentation.

How to create a branch ? First let's list all branches.

git branch
git branch -a

The '-a' flag lists all branches local + remote. 'master' is the default branch.

Creating a new branch:

git branch name-of-new-branch

To switch to another branch we use the term 'checkout':

git checkout other-branch

We can also create and switch to a branch in one command:

git checkout -b new-branch-name

Rename a branch:

git branch -m old-name new-name

Deleting a branch:

Note: A branch you are currently on cannot be deleted.

git branch -d name-of-branch

Merging branches:

Note: The branch name supplied below gets merged into the branch you are currently checked-in on.

git merge branch-name

That's it for now. Make sure you read more about branches, merging, merging vs rebasing and diff. Keep learning !!!