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Getting more from the commit log

From: Git Essential Training

Video: Getting more from the commit log

In this movie, we're going to talk about how to get more from your commit log. We've already seen the basics, and we want to see what's in our log for our repository, we can say git log. That returns a paginated list of everything that's in our git log, and if we hit space it will just keep going until it gets to the end, and Q will quit of it. So that's the basics of git log, but there is a lot more we can do with it. In fact, I really encourage you to go look at the Git help pages for log, because there are so many options there. You can really fine-tune exactly what you are looking for and tease out the information about the commits using all of these configuration options, but I'm going to highlight some of the most important ones.

Getting more from the commit log

In this movie, we're going to talk about how to get more from your commit log. We've already seen the basics, and we want to see what's in our log for our repository, we can say git log. That returns a paginated list of everything that's in our git log, and if we hit space it will just keep going until it gets to the end, and Q will quit of it. So that's the basics of git log, but there is a lot more we can do with it. In fact, I really encourage you to go look at the Git help pages for log, because there are so many options there. You can really fine-tune exactly what you are looking for and tease out the information about the commits using all of these configuration options, but I'm going to highlight some of the most important ones.

The first I think is just git log --oneline. I think it's probably the single most useful option, because it just gives us a oneline list of what's in our log file, instead of having that long scrolling list, it just compresses it for us. It still gives us part of the SHA here that we can use to reference each one those commits if we want to work with it. We can also use a number of commits to limit the number of commits that it goes backwards, so, for example, -3 will show us just three commits, -5 will show us five commits. We can also filter the log by time period.

So for example, git log, and then we can use the since option, since equals and then in quotes, and we can put a lot of things in here for the time. For example, 2012-06-20, and it understands that as being 2012 June 20th. Hit Return, and that's what it gives us, just the entries that are since then. We can always use after instead of since, those are synonymous. We can do the same thing, but use until so that's all the commits that are until that date, and we can use before as well. So before and until both work the same way, and we can of course combine both of those. We can pass in the time period in other formats as well.

So for example, 2 weeks ago, just as a string, and it's able to figure this out. Say 3 days ago, so there's everything from 2 weeks ago until 3 days ago, again paginated, hit Return at the end, and you can even do it just by saying 3.days and 2.weeks, and it's able to understand that as well. So any of those formats will all do the same thing. You have a lot of flexibility in the way that you specify the time period that you want to use.

We can also search by author, so author this is the person making the commits, I can say I'm looking for everyone with Kevin and the author, so if there were multiple Kevins, it would show all of them. Instead if I wanted just Kevin Skoglund then of course, I would write in my name there, and now it shows me just author Kevin Skoglund. We're the only one making commits at this point, but if we are collaborating with other people, it's nice to be able to filter out and see, what are the commits that John made? I want to see John's commits only and see what he was up to last week. We can also GREP the commit messages. GREP is a global regular expression search, so we can do git log --grep equals and then whatever regular expression we want to search for we can put here in quotes. So I'm going to search for temp, and that'll return the two things that had a message that were about the temp file, and see both of those.

This is really nice if you want to see everything that was committed about a certain topic. You can see now why having good commit messages is really, really helpful, because it allows us to be to search for things in the commit message that apply to the particular section of our code that we might be working on. We can also specify a range of time period, let's do just a regular git log, oneline, so here we are, and let's say we want to see all the commits from this commit, do git log, and then put that SHA in dot, dot. That's how we indicate a range, all the way up to let's say this one. So this will show me just those commits, and I'll go ahead and do it as one line again, so it's really clear what it's doing.

So now it's showing me just those from that commit up to that commit, so that's how we use a range. We will be using those again a little later on. We can also ask it for information about what happens to a particular file. For example, I could say, tell me everything that has happened since the initial commit, git log from initial commit going forward to, and I could put in a commit or I can just leave it blank, nothing at the end of the range will say all the way up to the end, what has happened to the index.html file. Give me the logs that affect that file, let's try that.

There is one commit that's relevant to it, it's this commit right here, and this is what changed to that file. So if you're working on a particular file, and you want to go back in history, and see what's happened to that file previously, the log will let you do that. We can find out more details about the commits by using git log -p, this is the patch option, and it shows us a diff of what actually changed in each one of these. So here's the additions and here's the subtractions. So we can really see what's different about each one. That's really nice, especially when we're working with this, find out what happened to each one of these files, because we can jump back here and right after log we'll put it in the -p option, and now not only does it tell me what commits apply to this, it actually shows me the changes as well. So I can do both, all right here, every single change listed out that happened to the index.html file.

We can do something similar also with git log --stat and --summary, and you can use those separately or together. What they'll do is they'll tell you statistics about what changed in each one, so you see here this, the git ignore file added whole bunch of things. Here in resources, something was added and something was taken away, and it goes ahead and gives you a little summary here as well, that's what that summary is. That's nice if you're not as concerned with the actual details of what happened, you are just wanting to get an idea of the quantity of things that changed and where.

So as far the log format goes, we saw the most useful one, already which was the oneline, and git log --oneline is one way to do it, git log format equals oneline is another way to do it. Now this returns a slightly different thing, because it returns the full SHA instead of just a partial SHA, so you can compare the two, oneline, oops, I misspelled it. There it is, so you can see the difference between the two of those. We can also specify other formats though which is why it's nice to know about the format version, because in addition to saying oneline, we can also use short or we can use medium which is the default one that we already seeing, we can see full, that gives us a little more information, like the commit author, and there's fuller which gives us even more information.

There is email, which generates it in a format useful for mailing an email, and then there's raw. It's really showing us the raw information that's stored in Git. The last one I'm going to leave you with is one that I think is pretty cool, git log --graph. So this shows us a graph of each one of our commits. Now right now our graph is pretty straightforward and linear, but if we start having branches, and we start branching thing off and then merging things back in, then this really shows us those branches are merged, so we'll come back and try that a little later.

A nice combination of them is git log --oneline --graph --all --decorate, so let's put all those together, and you'll see that it gives us a nice compact list. It'll show all the branches that take place and even tells us right now that this is where the HEAD is pointing, and this is the tip of the master branch. So this is a nice combination of options that's worth remembering. Please experiment, find more, dig through the log files and find formats that are useful for you in the way that you like to work.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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Git Essential Training

89 video lessons · 30053 viewers

Kevin Skoglund
Author

 
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  1. 2m 46s
    1. Introduction
      1m 7s
    2. How to use the exercise files
      1m 39s
  2. 20m 24s
    1. Understanding version control
      4m 48s
    2. The history of Git
      7m 58s
    3. About distributed version control
      5m 4s
    4. Who should use Git?
      2m 34s
  3. 26m 12s
    1. Installing Git on a Mac
      3m 44s
    2. Installing Git on Windows
      5m 37s
    3. Installing Git on Linux
      1m 30s
    4. Configuring Git
      7m 29s
    5. Exploring Git auto-completion
      5m 35s
    6. Using Git help
      2m 17s
  4. 15m 49s
    1. Initializing a repository
      1m 58s
    2. Understanding where Git files are stored
      2m 34s
    3. Performing your first commit
      2m 4s
    4. Writing commit messages
      5m 22s
    5. Viewing the commit log
      3m 51s
  5. 17m 44s
    1. Exploring the three-trees architecture
      3m 57s
    2. The Git workflow
      3m 15s
    3. Using hash values (SHA-1)
      4m 7s
    4. Working with the HEAD pointer
      6m 25s
  6. 25m 52s
    1. Adding files
      5m 59s
    2. Editing files
      3m 56s
    3. Viewing changes with diff
      3m 35s
    4. Viewing only staged changes
      2m 28s
    5. Deleting files
      5m 29s
    6. Moving and renaming files
      4m 25s
  7. 19m 18s
    1. Introducing the Explore California web site
      2m 2s
    2. Initializing Git
      3m 48s
    3. Editing the support phone number
      6m 20s
    4. Editing the backpack file name and links
      7m 8s
  8. 38m 45s
    1. Undoing working directory changes
      3m 49s
    2. Unstaging files
      2m 37s
    3. Amending commits
      4m 50s
    4. Retrieving old versions
      4m 7s
    5. Reverting a commit
      3m 12s
    6. Using reset to undo commits
      3m 44s
    7. Demonstrating a soft reset
      4m 8s
    8. Demonstrating a mixed reset
      4m 7s
    9. Demonstrating a hard reset
      5m 8s
    10. Removing untracked files
      3m 3s
  9. 27m 22s
    1. Using .gitignore files
      8m 23s
    2. Understanding what to ignore
      4m 47s
    3. Ignoring files globally
      4m 49s
    4. Ignoring tracked files
      5m 26s
    5. Tracking empty directories
      3m 57s
  10. 26m 51s
    1. Referencing commits
      4m 52s
    2. Exploring tree listings
      3m 46s
    3. Getting more from the commit log
      7m 38s
    4. Viewing commits
      4m 4s
    5. Comparing commits
      6m 31s
  11. 39m 35s
    1. Branching overview
      4m 56s
    2. Viewing and creating branches
      2m 57s
    3. Switching branches
      2m 58s
    4. Creating and switching branches
      4m 53s
    5. Switching branches with uncommitted changes
      3m 26s
    6. Comparing branches
      4m 28s
    7. Renaming branches
      2m 28s
    8. Deleting branches
      4m 18s
    9. Configuring the command prompt to show the branch
      9m 11s
  12. 28m 32s
    1. Merging code
      3m 11s
    2. Using fast-forward merge vs. true merge
      6m 49s
    3. Merging conflicts
      7m 26s
    4. Resolving merge conflicts
      7m 5s
    5. Exploring strategies to reduce merge conflicts
      4m 1s
  13. 14m 34s
    1. Saving changes in the stash
      4m 5s
    2. Viewing stashed changes
      2m 39s
    3. Retrieving stashed changes
      4m 24s
    4. Deleting stashed changes
      3m 26s
  14. 1h 5m
    1. Using local and remote repositories
      6m 38s
    2. Setting up a GitHub account
      5m 39s
    3. Adding a remote repository
      4m 0s
    4. Creating a remote branch
      4m 3s
    5. Cloning a remote repository
      4m 26s
    6. Tracking remote branches
      4m 5s
    7. Pushing changes to a remote repository
      5m 8s
    8. Fetching changes from a remote repository
      5m 47s
    9. Merging in fetched changes
      4m 50s
    10. Checking out remote branches
      3m 22s
    11. Pushing to an updated remote branch
      2m 6s
    12. Deleting a remote branch
      3m 8s
    13. Enabling collaboration
      3m 40s
    14. A collaboration workflow
      8m 43s
  15. 16m 23s
    1. Setting up aliases for common commands
      5m 14s
    2. Using SSH keys for remote login
      2m 56s
    3. Exploring integrated development environments
      1m 4s
    4. Exploring graphical user interfaces
      4m 32s
    5. Understanding Git hosting
      2m 37s
  16. 55s
    1. Goodbye
      55s

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