Save your work

The SWE way


This post is for my friends who are in the Code In Place program. I suggest saving your work using a tool called git.

Git is a software for tracking file changes in a folder. We call each folder using git a git repository. Git is built for collaborative workflows so developers can work on the same repository without messing up each other’s stuff accidentally.

GitHub is the most popular online service that hosts git repositories online. A popular ELI18: GitHub is to git (repositories), what PornHub is to porn.

Install Git #

If you are using Windows, install Git for Windows here:

If you are using a Mac, install git using Homebrew by doing brew install git

Set up a GitHub account #

Sign up here:

Create a GitHub repository #

GitHub allows you to share your repository to the whole world (a.k.a. “open source” your code) by creating a public repository. If you rather be more selective about the viewership, create a private repository.

  1. Hit the + button on the top right corner of the page and select New repository.
  2. Create a name for this repository. Let’s call it code-in-place-2021.
  3. Add a one-sentence description for the repository.
  4. Choose your visibility preferences. You can always change it afterwards, so if you don’t know which one to pick yet, let’s go with private.
  5. Hit Create repository
  6. Note down the Remote URL (we’ll get back here shortly)

Make an existing folder a git repo #

Go to the folder where you stored all your code snippets. I assume you have a folder where you stored all your assignments as .py files. If not, create one now!

We’ll be using the command line now - if you don’t know how to use it, just try! If you want to learn more before getting started, try this link.

Type the following to check the git version. This is a common way to find out if you have a command line tool (CLI) set up properly:

git version

You should see something like

git version 2.31.1

Now, do this to make your folder a git repository:

git init

What this command does is create a .git folder in your folder. Do not touch this folder!

Note that you are now on a git branch called master

Adding files to your git repo #

Now we will need to add your files in the repository:

git add .

This command stages all the files (more accurately, all the tracked files) in your folder to be committed. Imagine you are in a restaurant, ordering food with an iPad; this step is analogous to adding food items to the virtual “basket”.

Now do this to commit the files.

git commit -m “my first commit”

Committing - in our restaurant analogy - is sending your order to the kitchen. Note that the default option requires you to write a message for each commit.

To see your commit history, simply do

git log

Note that each commit has a commit hash associated with it.

Under the hood, commits behave like snapshots. If you want to go back in time and restore your repository to what it is like at that snapshot, you can do git checkout <commit_hash>.

Push your changes to GitHub #

You have committed your changes, but they are not on the cloud yet! You will need to specify where to upload your files to:

git remote add origin <remote_url>

Remember the remote URL from one of the previous steps?

Now that the remote URL is specified, go ahead and push it

git push -u origin master

This will upload all your changes on the master branch to GitHub.

And we are done! Your work is now saved to a git repository on GitHub!

‌Further exploration #

Try to complete the following tasks yourself:

This is just the beginning of your git journey! To learn more, I recommend reading Atlassian’s git tutorials.