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Git for Teams by Emma Jane Hogbin Westby

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The book takes a people-first approach to version control. I don’t start with a history of Git; instead, I begin with a 10,000-foot view of how teams can work together. Then we will circle our way into the commands, ensuring you always know the why behind the command you’re about to type. Sometimes you can save your future self time (and confusion) by adopting specific routines or workflows. These explanations give you a holistic understanding of how your work today affects your work tomorrow—and hopefully make sense out of the near-religious insistence by some people on why they use Git the way they do.

Part I will be most useful to managers, technical team leads, chief technology officers, project managers, and technical project managers who need to outline a workflow for their team.

Good technology comes from great teams. In Chapter 1, you will learn about the dynamics of creating a great team. By the end of this chapter, you will be able to identify roles within a team; plan highly effective meetings; recognize key phrases from people who are out of sync with what your team needs; and apply strategies that will help you to cultivate empathy and trust within your team.

Set the expectations early for the type of project you are running. In Chapter 2, you will learn about different permissions strategies used to grant and deny access to a Git repository. Should team members be allowed to save their work to the repository without a review, or is it more of a trust and be trusted scenario? Both systems have their merits, and you’ll learn about them in this chapter.

Make the intentions of your work clear. In Git, you will separate streams of work with branches. Chapter 3 shows you how to separate each of the ideas your team is working on through the use of these branches. Of course, you will also need to know how to bring these disparate pieces of work into a unified piece of software. This chapter covers some of the more common branching strategies, including GitFlow.

Write the documentation today that will help you work more efficiently tomorrow. Chapter 4 is the culmination of all the ideas in Part I. You will learn how to create your own documentation and walk through the process of creating and deploying a simple software product.

Part II will be most useful for developers. This is where (finally!) you will get to learn how all those Git commands are actually supposed to work. If you’re impatient and want to get your hands on code, you’ll do well to skip ahead to Part II and then once you’ve completed it, go back and read Part I.

Ground yourself in practical skills. Chapter 5 covers the basics of distributed version control. In this chapter you will learn how to create repositories, and track your changes to files locally through commits, branches, and tags.

Learn to recover from your mistakes. Chapter 6 allows you to explore history revisionism. This chapter covers how to amend commits, remove commits from your time line, and rebase your work.

Expand your team to be inclusive of others. Now that you’re a master of history in your own repository, it’s time to begin collaborating with others. Chapter 7 will show you how to track remote changes, upload your code to a shared repository, and update your local repository with the updates from others.

Through peer review, share the glory and the responsibility of a job well done. In Chapter 8, you will learn about the process for conducting code reviews with your team. We’ll also cover the commands for a common reviewing methodology, along with suggestions on how to customize it for your team.

Investigate history; it holds the answer to the problem you’re facing. In Chapter 9, you will learn some advanced methods to track down bugs using Git. Don’t be scared, though! The commands we’ll be using are no more difficult than anything else you’ve done to date.

Finally, Part III gives the how-to for a few of the popular code hosting systems on the market today. It is aimed at both managers and developers.

Through open collaboration we grow our community. Chapter 10 covers the mechanics of starting and maintaining an open source project on GitHub.

A team must have a repository of their own if they are to write good code. In Chapter 11, you will learn how to collaborate on private repositories. This chapter will be especially useful for those who want to set up a private repository but have extremely limited funds to pay for private teams on GitHub.

Good fences sometimes do make better neighbors. In Chapter 12, you will learn how to host your own instance of GitLab, and run projects through it. This is particularly useful for developers who are inside a firewall and cannot access public repositories on the Internet.

This book won’t be for everyone. It will be especially frustrating for people who learn by poking at things and tinkering and exploring. This book, rather, is written for people who are a little afraid of things that go bump in the night.

Additional resources and larger versions of several of the flowcharts are available from the book’s companion site.

Conventions Used in This Book

The following typographical conventions are used in this book:


Indicates new terms, URLs, email addresses, filenames, and file extensions.

Constant width

Used for program listings, as well as within paragraphs to refer to program elements such as variable or function names, databases, data types, environment variables, statements, and keywords.

Constant width bold

Shows commands or other text that should be typed literally by the user.

Constant width italic

Shows text that should be replaced with user-supplied values or by values determined by context.


This element signifies a tip or suggestion.


This element signifies a general note.


This element indicates a warning or caution.

Using Code Examples

Supplemental material (code examples, exercises, etc.) is available for download at http://gitforteams.com.

This book is here to help you get your job done. In general, if example code is offered with this book, you may use it in your programs and documentation. You do not need to contact us for permission unless you’re reproducing a significant portion of the code. For example, writing a program that uses several chunks of code from this book does not require permission. Selling or distributing a CD-ROM of examples from O’Reilly books does require permission. Answering a question by citing this book and quoting example code does not require permission. Incorporating a significant amount of example code from this book into your product’s documentation does require permission.

We appreciate, but do not require, attribution. An attribution usually includes the title, author, publisher, and ISBN. For example: “Git for Teams by Emma Jane Hogbin Westby (O’Reilly). Copyright 2015 Emma Jane Hogbin Westby, 978-1-491-91118-1.”

If you feel your use of code examples falls outside fair use or the permission given above, feel free to contact us at .

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