Git in the Command Line for Beginners

Create a new folder using this command (insert your folder name in the placeholder):

mkdir folder-name

Now we’ll use this command to initialize an empty Git repository within our new folder:

git init

This command initializes an empty Git repository within the folder. The folder is now considered a “working directory.”

Working directory: The directory the .git directory is placed in

You won’t be able to see the .git file in the file system, though. In the Command Line, you have to type the following command to see the hidden files within your working directory in order to see the .git file:

ls -a

In order to commit your files so that you can start tracking changes in them, you must first add your files to the staging area.

Staging area: intermediate place where you can pick and choose which files inside your working directory that you want to commit

Use this command to see which files are currently untracked:

git status

Untracked files will show up in red.

Use this command to add files to your Git staging area (insert your file name in the placeholder):

git add your-file

Use this command to commit all files within the staging area to Version Control:

git commit -m "Initial Commit"

It’s recommended to add a commit message whenever you make a commit so you can differentiate the purpose behind different commits in the same project.

Use this command to see any previous commits you’ve made:

git log

When you have multiple files, it can get tedious adding each one of them to the staging area individually. You can use this command to add every (untracked) file in the working directory to the staging area:

git add .

Files flow in this sequence: Working directory -> staging area -> local repository

Even if we mess up our file(s), we still have access to any versions that were saved under Version Control. We can get access to these previous versions of our files using this command:

git checkout your-file

If you wanted to look at the differences between the current version of a file and the last version saved in Git Version Control, you can use this command:

git diff your-file

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