09. Version Control

Version Control Lab

In this mini-lab, we’re going to learn two new tools, git and Github, to help us with version control.

[0] Github Set up

You have already used git a few times. Remember typing git clone ...? Cloning means pulling a copy of a repository down from github onto your own computer. Now we are going to take the next step, editing a repository and pushing it to the cloud.


💻 Double-check that git is installed. If you do not see a version number, it should automatically install git.

git --version

💻 Configure git : Type each of these commands into Terminal.

Make sure to replace the information inside the < > with your information.

  • git config --global user.name <Your name>
  • git config --global user.email <Your school email>

💻 Install a credential manager to store your Github credentials securely. Copy and paste the lines below one at a time. It may ask you for your computer password.

brew tap microsoft/git
brew install --cask git-credential-manager-core

[1] Your First Repo

From now on, all code for this class will be stored as individual git repositories. We are going to start now, by setting up getting your repository for the next lab.

[Cloning Your Module Repository]

We have set up repositories for each student to populate with their do now files.

💻 Go to your cs9/unit00_drawing folder.

cd ~/desktop/making_with_code/cs9/unit00_drawing/
💻 Clone your repo. This will copy it onto your computer.

Below you’ll see that the git clone command has a yourGithubUsername.

You need to replace this with your username

e.g. https://github.com/the-isf-academy/lab_modules_emmaqbrown

git clone https://github.com/the-isf-academy/lab_modules_yourGithubUsername

If successful, should see something like this in your Terminal:

Cloning into 'lab_modules_emmaqbrown'...
remote: Enumerating objects: 33, done.
remote: Counting objects: 100% (33/33), done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (22/22), done.
remote: Total 33 (delta 13), reused 22 (delta 8), pack-reused 0
Receiving objects: 100% (33/33), 7.51 KiB | 7.51 MiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (13/13), done.

[2] Working with Git

Whenever you are working on a project, you will go through four steps:

  • Edit files: Work on all the files in this project just like normal.
  • Review changes: Look at your changes and make sure you are happy with them.
  • Commit: Save your changes to the repository.
  • Push: Push your copy of the repository up to github.

Let’s practice.

[Step 0: Edit the README]

Today we are going to practice commiting files to Github. Let’s start by editing the README.md file.

💻 Open the README.md file using Atom:

atom README.md

As you’ve seen before, README files are like a guide to what’s contained inside a repository and how to use it.

Right now the README is pretty bare.

💻 Add your name as the Author. Be sure to save.

Your final markdown file should look something like this:

# Modules Lab
### Author: Ms. Brown
👾 💬 Markdown

The README.md file is written in a simple language called Markdown that allows you to format text.

Here’s a quick guide to markdown.

When you have a .md file open in Atom, you can preview the rendered version with the following menu option: Packages > Markdown Preview > Toggle Preview.

[Step 1: Review changes]

Once you have made some changes to README.md, save your work in Atom and go back to the Terminal.

💻 Let's use git to see what changes you have made.
git status

You will see the following message:

On branch master
Your branch is up to date with 'origin/main'.

Changes not staged for commit:
(use "git add <file>..." to update what will be committed)
(use "git checkout -- <file>..." to discard changes in working directory)

    modified:   README.md

no changes added to commit (use "git add" and/or "git commit -a")

👀 Read the whole message. It is telling you that only file that you have changed is README.md.

[Step 2: Commit]

Now it’s time to add these changes to your repository.

A commit is a collection of one or more changes that belong together.

For example, if you wanted to add a photo to your README document, you would need to

  1. edit README.md, telling it to include the photo
  2. add the image file itself to the repo.

These two changes belong together, so they should be part of the same commit.

You will prepare a commit by adding all the files that have changes.

💻 Let's add your README.md to a new commit:

git add README.md

💻 Run git status again. You will see that README.md has gone from red to green because it has been added to a new commit.

On branch master
Your branch is up to date with 'origin/master'.

Changes to be committed:
(use "git reset HEAD <file>..." to unstage)

    modified:   README.md

Now we are ready to finalize the commit.

💻 Describe what you did, using a commit message.
git commit -m "added name to readme"

Every time you commit code, you need to write a message explaining what you have done.

Anybody reading your code (teachers, peers, a future version of you) will read the log of your changes to understand what has been happening on the project.

[Step 3: Push]

Now it’s time to sync the copy of your repo with the copy on github.

💻 Push your code:
git push

A dialog box should pop up, select “Sign in with your browser, then follow the instructions”

If you do not see this, notify a teacher.

If all is successful with the login, you should see something below in Terminal.

Enumerating objects: 5, done.
Counting objects: 100% (5/5), done.
Delta compression using up to 4 threads
Compressing objects: 100% (3/3), done.
Writing objects: 100% (3/3), 302 bytes | 302.00 KiB/s, done.
Total 3 (delta 2), reused 0 (delta 0), pack-reused 0
remote: Resolving deltas: 100% (2/2), completed with 2 local objects.
To https://github.com/the-isf-academy/lab_modules/emmaqbrown
   67838f1..4742ecf  main -> main

💻 Go to your repository page on Github.com. You should see your updated version of your README.md at the bottom of the page.


Be sure to change, ‘YOUR-GITHUB-USERNAME’ to your actual username.

🎉 Congratulations! You have successfully made your fist push to Github! 🎉

This probably felt like a lot of work just to save your work. That’s true. But it will get easier as you get used to it, and you will start to see the value of using git when you start working on bigger projects.

If you’re not glad you learned git five years from now, come see us and we’ll give you some extra credit or something :)

[2] Github Commands

Summary of Github Steps:

  1. git status
  2. git add file.py
  3. git commit -m "describe changes here"
  4. git push
Command What it does
git status displays the state of the repo
git add file.py adds a file to the commit
git commit -m "" records changes to the repo
git push updates remote repo with your local repo
git diff displays list of changes since last commit
git log displays list of most recent commits