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Understanding version control

From: Git Essential Training

Video: Understanding version control

Let's begin our exploration of Git by gaining an understanding of what it is, and what it can do for you. Git is software that keeps track of changes that you make to files and directories, and it is especially good in keeping track of text changes that you make. So let's imagine that you have a document, you have version 1 of that document, you make some changes to it, now you have version 2, you make some more changes, and now you have version 3. Well, Git keeps track of those three different versions for you, and it allows you to move back and forth between different versions, to compare the different versions and to see what changed between each one.

Understanding version control

Let's begin our exploration of Git by gaining an understanding of what it is, and what it can do for you. Git is software that keeps track of changes that you make to files and directories, and it is especially good in keeping track of text changes that you make. So let's imagine that you have a document, you have version 1 of that document, you make some changes to it, now you have version 2, you make some more changes, and now you have version 3. Well, Git keeps track of those three different versions for you, and it allows you to move back and forth between different versions, to compare the different versions and to see what changed between each one.

Because what it does is manage versions for you, Git is referred to as a Version Control System or VCS for short. Now certainly not the first Version Control System ever created, we're going to look at a history of some of the most popular Version Control Systems in the next movie. But virtually all Version Control Systems that have ever been created had one single primary purpose in mind when they were created, and that was for managing source code. Computer code that programmers and developers were writing to create programs. They want to be able to track the changes they made over time as they added features, fixed bugs, and that sort of thing.

So as a result, because that its primary purpose, I would say 90% to 95% of the time VCSs are used for source code management. So we call them Source Code Management Tools or SCM for short. So you'll see both of these abbreviations they can be used almost interchangeably. Source Code Management is just a little more specific, because it really says we're using a VCS for the purpose of managing our source code, but you'll want to become familiar with both of these terms and recognize them as being almost synonymous. Now whether you've ever worked with a Source Code Management tool before, or not, you've definitely dealt with Version Control. Let's look at some examples of Version Control that are non-source code related.

For example, you may have had different versions of files and given them different names so that you could keep track of the versions. So you have a budget that you are working on, you have version 1, version 2, version 3, you put a little text to the end of it to let you know which version this is so that we can look back at old versions and see how it has changed over time. You may do it as you create graphics so you have version 1 of a logo, version 2 of a logo, and so on. I think we've probably all done this at some point, a lot of applications also offer some form of Version Control as one of their features. For example, Microsoft Word allows you to track the changes that you make to a document.

So you turn on Track Changes, and then you send the document to someone else, when they make changes to that document they'll keep track of what changes they made, and when they send it back to you, you'll be able to review those changes. Adobe Photoshop has something called the History, you can bring up the History palette, and you can look back at each of the changes you've made to an image, and you can even move backwards through those changes, you can undo those changes and move back up in the History or back forward in the History as well. You can move forwards and backwards and see how the document changed over time. Now if you've ever worked with a wiki, like Wikipedia, then you'll know that there is also some form of version control that's there as well so that when someone contributes a change to a Wiki page the editors have the ability to undo that change and go back to a previous version if they need to, we call that process rolling back to a previous version.

And of course we've all done the most simple type of version control of all which is Undo, Ctrl+Z on Windows, or Command+Z on Mac, it will just undo something that we've typed or some change that we've made and allow us to go backwards, and you can do undo multiple times and undo multiple changes, so to keep going backwards and backwards and backwards through the different changes that we've made to a document. Now these are all very, very primitive examples of Version Control and they are no match at all four we're going to see with a Version Control System, but I think they do provide useful metaphors for you to have in your head as to how we're keeping track of different versions, how we're tracking the changes that happen to the document and how we're able to move backwards and forwards to the history to bring up different versions at different points in the change process.

But I think they do still provide useful mental metaphors for you to have in your head to think about the way that a VCS works. Because ultimately they are all doing the same thing, they are keeping track of different versions, they are allowing us to go forwards and backwards in time to see different changes that have been made, and to even compare those changes between different versions, and that's what we'll be doing with Git. In the next movie let's take a look at the History of some of the most important Version Control Systems.

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This video is part of

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Git Essential Training

89 video lessons · 28745 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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