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1.1 Introduction

Welcome to Git Essentials. In this course we'll cover all of the essentials for understanding and using Git from a basic to intermediate level. In this introductory lesson we'll see exactly what Git is and why it's so useful. You'll also get to meet me, the instructor who will be talking you through the basics of Git.

1.1 Introduction

Hi, folks. Welcome to Git Essentials. My name is Dan Wellman. I'm a software developer from the UK and I work at Microsoft. In this course, we're going to dive in to the source control management system Git. But first of all, what exactly is a source control management system, and what's so special about Git? As developers we're probably used to working with large collections of files. If these files aren't backed up somewhere safe, there's a high chance that they could be lost in the event of a computer failure or become corrupt. So first of all, it's useful just to have a carbon copy backup of all our work. Secondly, I'm sure we've all been in the situation whereby we have a working website which we are maintaining and for some reason or other, a bug is introduced in an update. If this is a big bug that completely breaks the website and makes it unusable, it's useful to be able to quickly roll back to a known working version. We could use the carbon copy backup for this, of course,. But if we've made several changes since the last backup, we could lose a lot more than the just the bug by rolling back. So its useful to have both a backup and a granular way of being able to roll back only very specific changes. Now let's think about when there are a team of developers working on the same website or application. If there isn't some way for these developers to share the changes they make on their own computers with the rest of the team, they will quickly start to overwrite each other's changes. So source control management systems, or SCMs, give us a robust backup for our files, a way to view a history of every change made to every file in the project, and allow teams of often geographically disparate developers all work on the same code without overwriting each other's changes. So onto the next question. Why Git? Unlike a lot of other popular SCMs out there, Git is distributed, which means basically that everyone who works on the code has the full copy of the repository, including all branches and the full history of the project. This is good because once the repository has been claimed or downloaded onto a developer's computer, most of the operations such as creating branches become very fast. Distribution also removes the need for file logs, so developers can all work on the same files in parallel. Git isn't the only distributed SCM, but it's definitely one of the most popular. And one of the reasons for this is because of how it can be linked with GitHub, which we can use to store our code on and share it easily with other developers. A lot of open source JavaScript frameworks and libraries are stored on GitHub, so to participate in open source software development, the chances are you'll need to use Git. Git is often used from the command line, which means it's great for automation as part of the build or continuous integration system. But it also has a number of easy-to-use GUIs available for most popular platforms, including GitK, which comes with Git itself. In this course, we're going to be using the command line on Windows. Installing, configuring and using Git on Windows is largely the same as using it on other platforms. I haven't come across a command yet that I wasn't able to run from the command line on Windows. So whichever platform you're using, you should be able to follow along with all the examples. Let's move on to the next lesson and get Git installed and ready to play with. Thanks for watching.

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