What is Git and how do I use it?

I've heard a lot about Git and how it's essential for coding projects. Can someone explain what exactly Git is, how it works, and how I can get started with it?

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Git is a widely used Version Control System (VCS) in the field of software development. Created by Linus Torvalds in 2005, it's a free and open-source system that helps developers manage and keep track of code changes, as well as the history of these changes. This allows multiple developers to work on a project simultaneously without running into conflicts. Here's a breakdown of how Git works: 1. **Repositories:** Git stores project files in repositories. A repository (often shortened to 'repo') is essentially a directory for your project where all the associated files, revisions, and details are stored. 2. **Commits:** When you make a change to a project, you save this change by making a 'commit'. Each commit is a snapshot of your project at a point in time. 3. **Branches:** Branches are parallel versions of a project. For example, you can create a branch to develop a new feature without affecting the main project. Once you are satisfied with the feature, you can merge it back into the main branch. To get started with Git: 1. **Installation:** You can download and install Git from the official site: `https://git-scm.com/downloads` 2. **Setting up a repository:** Navigate to your project directory in the command line and initialize a Git repository using the command: `git init` 3. **Making Changes:** Can be done using standard file editing tools. Once changes are done, you can store a snapshot (commit) with the following commands: `git add .` (this stages all changes) and `git commit -m "Your message here"`. The message should be a brief description of what changes were made. 4. **Branching and Merging:** To create a new branch use command `git branch branch_name`, to switch to this branch use `git checkout branch_name`. Once your changes are finalized in the created branch, you can merge it with your main project branch (often 'master') using `git merge branch_name`. 5. **Remote Repositories:** You can push your changes to online services like GitHub for sharing and collaborating with other developers just by running `git push origin master`. It's also worth mentioning that there are many graphical user interfaces (GUI's) for Git that help to simplify these steps if you're not comfortable with Command Line Interface. Tools like SourceTree, GitKraken or GitHub Desktop are popular choices. This is just scratching the surface, as Git offers a plethora of features and commands to manage and control your projects. I recommend going through the official Git documentation along with the many online tutorials available to further broaden your understanding.
Answered on August 24, 2023.
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