What is Git: Features, Command and Workflow

Git is a widely used distributed version control system that enables developers to manage and track changes made to a codebase. Developed by Linus Torvalds in 2005, Git has become the de facto standard for version control in the software development industry. Git gives users a great deal of autonomy in how they handle changes, which places a strong emphasis on flexibility, giving the developer the choice to set the way to work with it.

Teams are usually in agreement on how the flow of changes will be implemented while working with a team on a Git-managed project. An established Git workflow should be created or chosen to make sure the team is on the same page. Several widely known Git procedures might work well for your team, let’s go over a few of these Git workflow choices as we will explore the features, commands, and workflow of Git in today’s article.

Features of Git

  • Distributed: Git is a distributed version control system that enables developers to work on a codebase without needing to be connected to a central server. This allows for a more flexible and decentralized workflow, as developers can work independently and merge their changes later.
  • Branching and merging: Git enables developers to create and manage branches of a codebase, which allows for parallel development and experimentation. Git also provides tools for merging branches back into the main codebase, ensuring that changes are integrated smoothly.
  • History tracking: Git maintains a detailed history of all changes made to a codebase, enabling developers to track the evolution of the codebase over time. This history can also be used to revert changes or to identify the source of bugs.
  • Staging: Git provides a staging area, also known as the index, where changes can be reviewed and prepared for committing to the codebase. This enables developers to carefully review and selectively commit changes, rather than committing all changes at once.
  • Speed: Git is designed to be fast, even with large repositories. This is achieved through the use of efficient data structures and algorithms.
  • Security: Git uses cryptographic hashes to ensure the integrity of the codebase. This means that any tampering with the code will be immediately detected.
  • Open Source: Git is an open-source project, which means that anyone can contribute to its development. This has led to a large community of users and contributors who provide support and contribute new features.

Git Commands

git commit: Commits changes to the local repository with a commit message describing the changes made.

git push: Pushes committed changes to a remote repository.

git pull: Pulls changes from a remote repository to the local machine.

git branch: Lists existing branches or creates a new branch.

git checkout: Switches to a different branch or a specific commit.

git rebase: Modifies the commit history by reapplying changes from one branch to another. This can be useful for keeping a clean commit history and avoiding merge conflicts.

git rebase

git stash: Temporarily saves changes that are not ready to be committed, so that the developer can switch to a different branch or work on a different feature.

git stash

git clone: Clones an existing Git repository to a local machine.

git clone

git add: Adds changes to the staging area for review.

git add

git init: Initializes a new Git repository in the current directory.

git init

git commit: Commits changes to the local repository with a commit message describing the changes made.

git commit:

git bisect: Helps find a specific commit that introduced a bug by performing a binary search of the commit history.

git bisect

git cherry-pick: Applies a specific commit from one branch onto another branch. This can be useful when a specific feature or fix is needed in multiple branches.

git cherry-pick

git reflog: Shows a log of all Git operations that have been performed on the repository, including previous versions of the commit history.

git reflog

Workflows in Git

Git has a specific workflow that developers should follow to ensure that changes are properly tracked and merged. Here are the steps in the Git workflow:

  • Create a new branch: Before making any changes, create a new branch to work on. This keeps the changes separate from the main codebase.
  • Make changes: Make changes to the code in the branch, using the appropriate commands to add and commit changes.
  • Merge changes: Once the changes are ready, merge the branch back into the main codebase using the appropriate commands.
  • Resolve conflicts: If there are any conflicts between the changes in the branch and the main codebase, resolve them manually.
  • Push changes: Finally, push the changes to the remote repository to share them with other developers.

Conclusion

Git is a powerful version control system that enables developers to manage and track changes made to a codebase and collaborate with others on the same project. Its distributed nature. By providing a distributed environment, where branching and merging, history tracking, and a staging area, speed, security, and its open-source nature make it an ideal tool for modern software development. Git facilitates a collaborative and efficient workflow. Understanding Git's features, commands, and workflow is essential for any developer working on a software project.

However, simply using Git might not be enough to get the best out of your project space, an engineering analytics tool can equip you with the data-driven insights you need to place your team on top. Hatica offers metrics across 13 dashboards, powered by CI/CD tools, JiraGitHub, Azure, CircleCI and GitLab. By collating tool activities at one place, Hatica helps teams streamline their workflow and improve productivity.

Subscribe to the Hatica blog today to read more about unblocking developers, and boosting productivity with engineering analytics. 

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Table of Contents
  • Features of Git
  • Git Commands
  • Workflows in Git
  • Conclusion
  • TL;DR