Basic git commands that you need to know as a Software Engineer

Updated on: March 16, 2020 · 6 mins read
Categories: git   | github   | version-control |

Git is the open source distributed version control system that facilitates GitHub activities on your laptop or desktop. The commonly used Git command line instructions are:-

Create Repositories: Basic git initialization commands

Start a new repository or obtain from an existing URL

$ git init [ project-name ]
Creates a new local repository with the specified name

$ git clone [ url ]
Downloads a project and its entire version history

Make Changes

Review edits and craft a commit transaction.

$ git status
Lists all new or modified files to be committed

$ git diff
Shows file differences not yet staged

$ git add [ file ]
to add all the files

$ git add .
Snapshots the file in preparation for versioning

$ git commit -m "[descriptive message]"

To add all files and commit them together

$ git commit -am "[descriptive message]"
Records file snapshots permanently in version history

Group Changes

Name a series of commits and combine completed efforts.

$ git branch
Lists all local branches in the current repository

$ git branch [ branch-name ]
Creates a new branch

$ git checkout [ branch-name ]
Switches to the specified branch and updates the working directory

$ git branch -d [ branch-name ]
Deletes the specified branch

Synchronize Changes

Register a repository bookmark and exchange version history.

$ git fetch [ bookmark/ branch ]
Downloads all history from the repository bookmark/branch

$ git merge [bookmark /[branch]]
Combines bookmarks branch into current local branch

$ git push [alias [branch]]
Uploads all local branch commits to GitHub

$ git pull
Downloads bookmark history and incorporate changes

Some advanced git commands

Now let’s talk about some of the advanced commands. So lately I have been working on some of the open source projects. Which gave me a lot of idea about the way the things happen in the open source industry. As much time you spend in this part, more will you learn about the things happening.

From a long time, I was working on a single user project where all the development is done by the single user. So your code remains intact and no damage is done to your commits. But the case is totally different when it comes to the big projects. There are constant commits that are happening in each second. So by the time you are ready to push the code to a repository for merging you are behind the main repository by at least three to four commits.

So the idea is to get the code from the main branch merge the commits into your code and then push the changes back into the main repository. Also in the case big repository you can’t give the excuses like that you are new to the GitHub. If you don’t evolve early, get ready to be ignored by the open-source industry.

Stash commands

So whenever you want to commit a change that someone have done to the remote repository and you want to merge them to your local, put the changes into the stash by using these commands and then pull the latest remote.

$ git stash 

# read more about git stash by using the following command
$ git stash --help

# The following command will list the saved data in the stash
$ git stash list
Stash is the part where you can store the things in the temporary mode they can be brought back to their earlier position when other changes are committed. It is the time to fetch the data that had been changed the main repository.

But before fetching it is great to make a remote of the forked repository so that we can directly fetch the changes from the terminal else we have to type the link of the forked repository again and again. Obviously, it is not necessary but it will make our work easier.

$ git remote add upstream
The command tells us to add a new remote to the local repository by the name of upstream which is linked to the link provided as the next parameter. Now, whenever we want to know about the changes made in the particular branch we can simply type the name of the branch and we will get the code given by it. Then finally we will use the merge command to merge the code into the local repository. See the example code snippets for more information.

$ git fetch upstream/branch_name
$ git merge upstream
Finally, you directly pull the code from the upstream using the following command.

$ git pull --rebase origin [ branch_name ]

Once all the changes are done, you can reapply the top stash.

$ git stash pop
# Apply the stash and delete the stash from stash list

$ git stash apply
# Apply the stash but keep in the history

$ git stash apply [email protected]{0}
# Apply the particular stash, can be found using the list command

Reverting git commits

Reverting commits can be real tough. There are a lot of options from which you can choose.

One of the way is to use git reset hard <commit_hash> but when I was trying to revert changes on production due to some bug, I was not able to do it this way.

This happens because in general most of the production branches in big companies are protected branches and git reset changes the commit history which is not allowed.

Another idea is to create a revert commit. Here is the command for that.

git revert -m 1 <pr_commit_hash>
You have to use the commit hash which was made while merging the code to the main branch. In general it is a merge commit.

Rest of the information will be shared in the follow-ups.

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