Enter a directory name or click on Browse to navigate to a directory:. Visit our guide on Git configuration for helpful commands to get you started with Git and repositories. You may wish to consult the following resources for additional information on this topic.
Introduction to Git
While these are provided in the hope that they will be useful, please note that we cannot vouch for the accuracy or timeliness of externally hosted materials. Find answers, ask questions, and help others. Try this Guide. This guide will use sudo wherever possible. Complete the sections of our Securing Your Server to create a standard user account. Debian and Ubuntu: Go to the Homebrew website. Copy and paste the command on that page, under Install Homebrew into a terminal window: At the next prompt enter your password and hit Return: You will receive an installation successful message when complete: To help diagnose Homebrew errors, install Brew Doctor before installing Git: Update Homebrew: Go to MacPorts website.
Click on the link for your operating system. After the download completes, click on the file to start the installer.
Initializing a Git Repository
Click the Continue button to begin the install: Click Continue and then Agree to accept the license agreement: Click Continue to continue the installation: To leave the default installation location click Install , or to change the default installation location, click Change Install Location: Enter your password when prompted and click Install Software: After the installation completes, click Close to exit the installer: Open a terminal window.
Install Git: Double click on the downloaded file to begin the install. A dialog window may appear stating that the file cannot be opened: Click Open Anyway: Click on Open: Click Continue button to begin the install: Enter your password when prompted, and then select Install Software: To install Git on Windows you will need to download the installer from the Git website: Download the most current version for your operating system by double clicking on the package name: Select Run to begin the installation: Click Yes to continue: Click Next to continue: By the end of this lesson you should understand:.
GitHub Desktop Classic is currently only available for Mac. If you use Linux you will probably already be familiar with the command line and will be able to use the Command Line version of Git. It is helpful to understand what version control is and why it might be useful for the work you are doing prior to getting stuck into the practicalities. Many people will have introduced some sort of version control systems for files. Often this is done by saving different versions of the files.
Something like this:. The system used for naming files may be more or less systematic. Adding dates makes it slightly easier to follow when changes were made:. Though this system might be slightly easier to follow, there are still problems with it. It is possible that some of these changes were small typo fixes but the changes could also have been a major re-write or re-structuring of a document.
If you have a change of heart about some of these changes you also need to work out which date the changes were made in order to go back to a previous version. Version control tries to address problems like these by implementing a systematic approach to recording and managing changes in files. This snapshot records information about when the snapshot was made but also about what changes occurred between different snapshots.
From this basic aim of version control a range of other possibilities are made available. As research increasingly makes use of digital tools and storage it becomes important to consider how to best manage our research data. This becomes especially important when we want to collaborate with other people. Though version control was originally designed for dealing with code there are many benefits to using it to with text documents too. Though not all of these benefits will be covered in this lesson, version controlling your document allows you to:.
Version control is particularly useful for facilitating collaboration. One of the original motivations behind version control systems was to allow different people to work on large projects together, in the case of Git to manage the Linux kernel source code. Using version control to collaborate allows for a greater deal of flexibility and control then many other solutions. As an example it would be possible for two people to work on a document at the same time and then merge these documents.
Version control will not be necessary for all of the documents you write. However there are times when version control will be very useful. For substantial work such as articles, books, or dissertations, version control makes a lot of sense.
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The implementation of version control we are going to use in this lesson will be publicly available, but it is possible to use version control and keep your documents hidden permanently or until you decide to make them available. Though often used synonymously, Git and GitHub are two different things. Git is a particular implementation of version control originally designed by Linus Torvalds as a way of managing the Linux source code. Other systems of version control exist though they are used less frequently. Git can be used to refer both to a particular approach taken to version control and the software underlying it.
GitHub is a company which hosts Git repositories more on this below and provides software for using Git. GitHub is currently the most popular host of open source projects by number of projects and number of users. Becoming familiar with GitHub will be useful not only for version controlling your own documents but will also make it easier to contribute and draw upon other projects which use GitHub. In this lesson the focus will be on gaining an understanding of the basic aims and principles of version control by uploading and version controlling a plain text document.
This lesson will not cover everything but will provide a starting point to using version control. Dropbox, Google Drive and other services offer some form of version control in their systems. There are times when this may be sufficient for your needs. However there are a number of advantages to using a version control system like Git:. Using version control has become pretty well established in some scientific disciplines, though its adoption is still far from universal.
In the humanities and social sciences the use of version control systems like Git are much less common. The projects below show some possible ways of using Git in academic setting:. New projects pop up regularly and many open source tools which you may use in for digital humanities will be hosted on GitHub, so understanding GitHub may also be useful for using these tools more easily.
git - the simple guide
GitHub Desktop will allow us to easily start using version control. A GUI allows users to interact with a program using a visual interface rather than relying on text commands. Though there are some potential advantages to using the command line version of Git in the long run, using a GUI can reduce the learning curve of using version control and Git.
If you decide you are interested in using the command line you can find more resources at the end of the lesson.
git - the simple guide - no deep shit!
One of the trickiest aspects of using GitHub is the new terminology. Some of the commands are fairly self-explanatory, others less so. This tutorial will try and briefly summarise new terms. It may also be helpful to have a glossary on hand to refer to. But in general it can be best to pick up terminology through using GitHub rather than trying to understand all of the terms before you begin using it.
For students and researchers GitHub offers free private repositories. These are not necessary but might be appealing if you want to keep some work private. Once you have downloaded the file, unzip it and open the app, following the instructions for logging in to your GitHub account. Once you have installed GitHub Desktop and followed the setup instructions we can start using the software with a text document. Version control systems like Git work best with plain text files. Plain text files are files with minimal encoding, whereas word and other word processors produce a lot of code that is not human readable.
Although there are many benefits to writing our documents in plain text files we quickly come across some limitations. We may want to emphasise parts of text with italics or with bold words. We may want to include headings or include quotations. Markdown is a way of including formatting into a plain text document. These markup languages also express information about the formatting and structure of plain text. Markdown, however, tries to minimize the syntax. However, it makes sense to explore Markdown once you have gone through this lesson and are comfortable with the basics of version control.
GitHub integrates its own version of Markdown syntax. If you add Markdown syntax to documents you version control with GitHub Desktop these will be rendered on the GitHub website. Arguably the best way to learn Markdown is to begin using it. To write in plain text we want to use a text editor. There are a huge number of free and paid text editors available. Some of these are very straightforward and simple to use while others have a learning curve and potential uses beyond simple text editing. In the long run using a more advanced and extendable text editor like Vim or Emacs may save you time but for now we can start with a simpler editor.
Atom is a good option for getting started.
Atom is a text editor built by GitHub and includes syntax highlighting for Markdown alongside integration with GitHub. TextEdit for Mac and Notepad for windows. If you decide to use Markdown beyond this tutorial then you will benefit from a text editor which includes syntax highlighting for Markdown alongside other features useful for writing. Include the above text or something similar in a new plain text document. This is the most popular file extension used for markdown files though others are sometimes used.
Make sure that it is saved in plain text format in a new folder. Sometimes your text editor will default to Rich Text Format. You should be able to change this in the preferences or options of your chosen text editor.
Make sure to name the file and folder with something meaningful. This may seem slightly confusing. Once you are setup with a text editor you like then the encoding of documents will not usually be an issue. To most effectively use Git to version control it is important to organize projects in folders. Git tracks the contents of a folder by creating a repository in the folder. It is best to create one repository for each major project you are working on, i. These folders are like the normal folders you would have on your computer for different projects, though the files in the folders have to be deliberately added to the repository in order to be version controlled.
There are a number of different ways to add files for GitHub Desktop to track. We can drag the folder containing the file onto GitHub Desktop. When you do this you will be asked whether you want to create a repository for this folder. Once we have added our folder we will be able to see it in a list of repositories on the left column. If we choose the repository we just added we will see the files contained in that repository. From this menu we can choose which files we want to version control.
On the right we will see the current document. This folder is how GitHub desktop tracks changes we make within our version controlled folder whether these changes be adding new files or modifying existing ones. Save the changes to your file and go back to GitHub Desktop.
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You will see that these new lines of text appear. A commit tells Git that you made some changes which you want to record. Though people sometimes save different versions of a document, often you are saving a document merely to record the version as it is when it is saved. Saving the document means you can close the file and return to it in the same state later on.
Commits , however, take a snapshot of the file at that point and allow you to document information about the changes made to the document. To commit changes you must give a summary of the changes and include an optional message. It is important that you think carefully about when to make commits. The advantages of version control taking snapshots of your changes regularly relies on you making commits. It is often tempting to just commit changes when you have finished working on a document but this might not reflect when important changes occurred.