Using Git

What is git?

Git is a free and open source distributed version control system. What does that really mean? It is a way to track changes to files on your computer. This is like keeping a detailed log of every time you change a file, what lines and characters were changed. So you could look at the log and see what changed, or undo those changes if you wanted or if you are working with others you can merge your changes together.

It’s a lot to take in, so don’t worry if you aren’t following yet.

If you want a more detailed walk through than we provide here, have a look at the Git Book.


Let’s start by getting git installed on you machine. You can check if it’s already installed by running git --version from the command line.

Follow your operating system specific instructions in Chapter 1.5 of the Git Book.

Basic concepts

Try it out

There is a great interactive tutorial, for free, available at Code Academy. Take some time to play with it and try out some of the commands.

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