Goal: In this lesson, we'll create a one-page website that says "hello" to the world. In the process, we'll learn about Git, a tool for tracking changes to our code. The steps we follow in this lesson will reflect the daily workflow we'll use when coding all of our projects throughout our time at Epicodus. You can also use the cheat sheet as a reference for starting your projects during this section - but using Git for your projects will soon become second nature.
In order to save code using the Git version control system, Git needs to have our name and email. On our personal machines, we can do this just once with a global configuration in the terminal:
$ git config --global user.name "Padma Patil" $ git config --global user.email [email protected]
A global configuration sets a configuration everywhere on a machine - not just in one directory or file, as we'll often do for individual projects. When we create a configuration in just one place on a machine, it's called a local configuration.
Whenever we start a new project, we create a new project directory.
At Epicodus, we generally create new projects on the
Desktop directory. However, you may want to create a new directory on your personal machine for storing projects as well.
If we open the terminal and enter
ls, we'll see a list of the files and directories that in our home directory. Chances are, you won't want to store your newly-created projects in the home directory.
Instead, we'll want to navigate to the Desktop directory for easy access. Let's change directories from our home directory into our Desktop using the
$ cd Desktop
You can create a new project here, or, if you prefer, create a new directory where your projects will be stored and then
$ cd into that directory.
Next, we'll create a project directory called
$ mkdir hello-world
mkdir is short for make directory.
We can run the
ls command to see that
hello-world has been added to the list of directories on our Desktop (or wherever you've chosen to create your new directory).
Next, we'll move into the
$ cd hello-world
To confirm that we're in the correct directory, we can check our location with a
Before we start writing any code, we'll create a Git directory within our project directory that will track everything we add, modify and delete within this directory.
We do this by initializing a new Git repository:
$ git init Initialized empty Git repository in /Users/staff/Desktop/hello-world/.git/
If we run
ls, though, we won't see the new directory. Why not?
Well, if you take a look at the terminal's response to our
$ git init command, you'll see that the following file was initialized:
Initialized empty Git repository in /Users/staff/Desktop/hello-world/.git/
Note that the exact path, the list of all the directories we'd need to navigate through to get to
hello-world, will be different on your personal machine.
Next, note the name of the file that was created inside
Whenever a file has a period in front of the name, it will be hidden. That means they won't appear when we run the
ls command. They also won't show up if we navigate to the directory using the point-and-click interface in the GUI (graphical user interface) of our computer.
If we want to see hidden files in the terminal, we need to add a modifier to our
$ ls -a .git
-a stands for all, so
$ ls -a means list all files, even hidden ones. Modifiers added to terminal commands are also known as flags. There are many flags we can use to modify terminal commands.
To see all files on a Windows machine, run the following command:
> ls -force
We'll see that the
.git directory has been created in our
hello-world directory. Let's
cd into this directory and take a quick peek at its contents.
$ cd .git $ ls HEAD description info refs config hooks objects
These are all the files Git uses to track our project and we don't need to worry about any of them. In fact, we should never modify the
.git folder because Git will take care of all tracking automatically. In general, it's common for files and directories that shouldn't be modified to be hidden - that ensures we don't accidentally modify them.
As we add, update and delete files, Git will be in the background, automatically making notes of every change in our project directory.
Let's return to the top level of our project directory by changing directories and moving up one level:
$ cd ..
Now, we are ready to add a new file to our project. This will be the HTML page that will say "Hello" to the world.
Initialize: In Git, we can initialize a new, empty repository to track changes to the project directory by running
git init. We should always run this command in the top level of the project directory.
Global: A configuration option that refers to every directory in every location of the device.
Hidden files: These are files on your machine that are not listed with an
ls terminal command. Instead, you can see them with the
ls -a terminal command. The
.git directory is hidden by default.
This workflow is only for students pair programming in person at Epicodus.
If you are working independently, such as on an independent project, you'll need to set up your git credentials so that your commits are properly attributed to you. Go to the root directory of the project you are working on to configure your user name and email:
$ git config user.name "Padma Patil" $ git config user.email [email protected]
This sets up a local git configuration for just this one project. You will need to do the same thing with any other projects you work on for the day. Don't set up a global configuration for git credentials on Epicodus computers - you might end up getting an accidental attribution for someone else's work if they forget to set up a local configuration.
$ cd Desktop $ mkdir hello-world $ cd hello-world $ git init
git init: Initializes new local Git repository.
git config --global user.name ___: Globally configures Git profile for entire device (use only on your personal machine).
Lesson 6 of 64
Last updated October 14, 2021