Getting Started with GitHub

Getting Started with GitHub

What is Git and GitHub?

  • GIT and GitHub are not the same.

  • Git is a VCS or Version Control System that tracks code changes over a period of time whereas GitHub is a hosting platform service layered over GIT for tracking code changes but on the cloud. Other hosting platforms are Gitlab, Bitbucket, and AWS CodeCommit to name a few.

Installing Git

You can download and install git using git-scm for different OS

Git Commands

Config Commands

git config --global <name>Define the author name to be used for all commits by the current user (Remove global if you need to set it only for the current repo)git config "Sumit"
git config --global user.username <username>Define the author username to be used for all commits by the current user (Remove global if you need to set it only for the current repo)git config user.username "SamChawla"
git config --global <email>Define the author email to be used for all commits by the current user (Remove global if you need to set it only for the current repo)git config ""

Other Commands

git init <directory>Create an empty Git repo in the specified directory, use the current directory if the directory is not passedgit init
git statusList staged, unstaged, and untracked filesgit status
git add <filename>Stage all changes in filename for the next commit. (Use . to add all the files, <filename> -p to add file partially)git add sample.txt
git commitCommit the staged snapshot, open the text editor for the message (use -m "message" to add message)git commit -m "sample.txt file added"
git logDisplay the entire commit history using the default format (use --oneline to display commit history in a single line)git log
git reset <commit>Move the current branch tip backward to commit, reset the staging area to match, but leave the working directory alone.git reset
git stashStash the changes in a dirty working directory away (use save to save it with a name, pop to pop the last stash, clear to clear stash)git stash save "local settings"
git branchList all of the branches in your repo. Add a branch argument to create a new branch with the name branchgit branch
git checkout -b <branch>Create and check out a new branch named branch. Drop the -b flag to check out an existing branch.git branch -b "git-notes"
git merge <branch>Merge branch into the current branchgit merge master

Creating a new repository on GitHub

  1. Go to GitHub

  2. Click on New

  3. Provide a repository name and keep other details as the default

  4. Your repo name would be like<Username>/<RepoName>.git

Create a new repository on the command line

echo "# LearnersGuide" >>
git init
git add
git commit -m "first commit"
git branch -M master
git remote add origin
git push -u origin master

Push an existing repository from the command line

git remote add origin<Username>/<RepoName>.git
git branch -M master
git push -u origin master

What are branches?

  • Branches in Git are incredibly lightweight as well. They are simply pointers to a specific commit -- nothing more.

  • Because there is no storage/memory overhead with making many branches, it's easier to logically divide up your work than to have big beefy branches.

  • Any new feature that we are working on or any bug fixes should be done on the new branch and then they are merged into the master once they are finalized and approved

Working with Existing Projects

  1. Fork Repo

  2. Clone the repo and then Set the original repo URL as Upstream git remote add upstream<Username>/<RepoName>.git

  3. Check if it is added properly: git remote -v (Origin is your repo, upstream is where you forked from)

  4. Do the changes in your repo, add a commit, and push your changes.

  5. You will see an option, once you push your changes Compare and Pull Request

  6. Add Title, description and then click on Create Pull Request

Sync your forked repo with the main repo

  • Fetch all the changes using the command: git fetch --all --prune

  • Checkout main branch and reset it to the main branch of upstream: git reset --hard upstream/master

  • Push changes: git push origin master

Squash using rebase

  • copy the commit_sha and write git rebase -i <commit_sha> to interactivaely update it.

  • An editor would open up, use pick or s(squash) as per your requirement, save and then add an updated commit message.

Merge v/s Rebase

  • Git Merge is a technique that is used to include the changes from one branch to the other branch and keeps the logs of the branches intact.

  • Git Rebase is similar to git merge, but the logs are modified after merging in this technique. Git rebase was introduced to overcome the limitation of merging, i.e., to make logs of repository history look linear.


  • It is used when you want to pick a commit from some other branch to your branch that could be a bug fix or anything else

    1. Copy the <commit_sha> that you want to cherry-pick.

    2. checkout branch on which you want this commit.

    3. use git cherry-pick <commit_sha> to cherry-pick that commit. If you want to change the commit message, you can use git cherry-pick --no-commit <commit_sha> and then commit the message.

Starring and Following


  • You can Star the repositories you find interesting to come back to that repo later.

  • You can also Follow the people on GitHub if you want to track their progress and activities.

Common Queries

Things to Remember

  • Whenever you do git reset to some other commit, you will need to force push using git push origin <branch> -f


Did you find this article valuable?

Support Sumit S Chawla by becoming a sponsor. Any amount is appreciated!