Overview of Git and Basic Commands

Bien Vu


Version control is an essential part of software development, ensuring that changes made to a project can be managed effectively. Git is a distributed version control system that enables developers to track and manage changes in their codebase efficiently, as well as collaborate with other team members effectively.

In this article, we will provide an overview of Git and its basic commands, highlighting its importance in modern software development.

What is Git?

Git was created by Linus Torvalds in 2005 as an open-source version control system primarily targeted at managing the Linux kernel development. Since then, it has gained immense popularity across the software development community due to its simplicity, performance, and powerful features. Git is different from other version control systems as it operates in a distributed manner, meaning that each developer has a complete copy of the repository on their local machine.

Git Terminology

Before we dive into the basic Git commands, let's familiarize ourselves with some commonly used Git terminology:

- Repository: A repository, often referred to as a repo, is a collection of files and folders where Git stores all the changes made to a project.

- Commit: A commit represents a specific version of the repository, capturing a snapshot of the files at a given point in time. Each commit has a unique identifier called a commit hash.

- Branch: A branch is a separate line of development that allows multiple developers to work on different features or bug fixes simultaneously without interfering with each other's work. The main branch is typically called "master" or "main."

- Remote: A remote is a version of the repository stored on a different server, enabling developers to collaborate and share changes with others. The most commonly used remote hosting service for Git is GitHub.

Basic Git Commands

1. git init: Initializes a new Git repository in the current directory, creating a hidden .git folder that stores all the necessary information for version control.

$ git init

2. git clone [repository_url]: Creates a local copy of a remote repository.

$ git clone

3. git add [file_name]: Stages a file, preparing it for a commit.

$ git add file1.txt
$ git add file2.txt

4. git commit -m "commit message": Commits the staged changes to the repository, accompanied by a descriptive message explaining the changes made.

$ git commit -m "Added new feature"

5. git status: Displays the current status of the repository, showing any changes made, files staged for commit, or untracked files.

6. git log: Shows a chronological history of all commits made, including their commit hashes, authors, dates, and commit messages.

7. git branch: Lists all available branches in the repository, highlighting the branch currently checked out.

8. git checkout [branch_name]: Switches to a different branch, allowing you to work on another line of development.

$ git checkout feature-branch

9. git merge [branch_name]: Combines the changes from the specified branch into the current branch, integrating them into the codebase.

$ git merge feature-branch

10. git push: Uploads the local commits to a remote repository, sharing them with other team members.

$ git push origin main

11. git pull: Retrieves the latest changes from a remote repository, incorporating them into the local repository.

$ git pull origin main

12. git remote add [remote_name] [remote_url]: Adds a new remote repository to the current Git repository, enabling collaboration with other developers.

git remote add origin


Git has revolutionized the way software development teams manage and collaborate on projects. Its distributed nature, along with its intuitive and powerful command set, has made it an indispensable tool for version control. In this article, we discussed an overview of Git and explored some basic commands essential for everyday usage. As you continue your journey with Git, remember to explore its advanced features and best practices to make the most out of this powerful version control system.

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