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Learn git in 10ish minutes…

How to use git!

This is an exercise to learn git. Git is basically Google Drive for developers and it’s an essential skill for working together on a project.

This guide will assume you already have git installed. If you don’t, you should follow the instructions for you operating system here.

This also assumes that you have made a github account and have been invited to the GU-MAD organization on github.

The rite of passage.

The goal of this rite of passage is to add your name to the lets-learn-git repository (repo).

A repository is a git word for a place where your files are stored. It’s just a folder that lives somewhere else. (like dropbox)

Cloning the repo

We’re going to start by cloning the repository. In your terminal or your git command line, type this:

git clone

“Cloning” a repository will download a version of it to your computer. It will call the folder lets-learn-git. So let’s go into that folder!

cd lets-learn-git/

Signing your name!

If you ls right now, you’ll see a file. The md file type is Markdown, which is a super-simple language for writing documents. If you’ve ever done any formatting in Slack or on Reddit, it’s very similar.

Every github has a file that it shows as its main file. If you look at the repository on github, that’s the text you see there.

Let’s open up the README. You can open it up in any text editor. I like the text editor atom, but you can use whatever you want. To open in vim for example, you would:


Inside the file, you should see a place where it says:

# Sign your name here!

Add your name to the list like so:

# Sign your name here!
- Grace Hopper

Then save the file.

Creating a commit!

Once you’re done, go back to your command line. We’re going to upload our change to the repository!

We do this by creating a commit. A commit is a complete version of your code that you’re adding. For example, every time your phone updates some app, behind the scenes, someone has pushed a commit (which might be called something like Add cool feature XYZ; Fix death-bug).

The important part: A commit contains one or more file “changes”.

Time to check our status

Before we create our commit, we should check our status. A git status is git’s way of telling you which files you’ve changed and therefore which files you could add to your commit. To see your status, in the command line:

git status

That should print out (in red) modified followed by the name of the file.

example of git output

Adding files

Hopefully it should tell you that you’ve modified your file. Now let’s add that file to our commit.

git add

If you call git status again, it should still say you’ve modified the file, but this time you will see it in green!

example of git output when modified


If we had other files, we would add them too. But we don’t, so lets bundle everything into our commit. We can do this with:

git commit -m "I signed my name"

Notice the message after -m. You can put anything here, but it’s typically expected for you to say something about what you did.

If you call git status now, you should see that git tells you:

On branch master
Your branch is ahead of 'origin/master' by 1 commit.
  (use "git push" to publish your local commits)
nothing to commit, working directory clean

Notice that there are no longer any modified files. Git recognizes that the change’s we’ve made are part of the commit that it has.


We’re almost done! We need to push our commit to the repo on github. Right now it only exists on our local computer. We can do this via:

git push

Git will ask you for your username password. This is your github username and password, not your computer’s username and password.

If all goes well, you should see something like this:

Username for '': Flaque
Password for '':
Counting objects: 3, done.
Delta compression using up to 4 threads.
Compressing objects: 100% (2/2), done.
Writing objects: 100% (3/3), 281 bytes | 0 bytes/s, done.
Total 3 (delta 1), reused 0 (delta 0)
remote: Resolving deltas: 100% (1/1), completed with 1 local objects.
   8e10b56..aa3f7b3  master -> master


great success

If you go look at the github, you’ll see your name on the list!


How to push something in quick and easy steps.

  1. (if you haven’t already) clone the repo: git clone <repo_url_here>
  2. Make changes.
  3. git add *
  4. git commit -m "message here"
  5. git push