In this part of the conversation, we dive into the fundamentals of Git and GitHub. We explain that Git serves as a system for storing and collaborating on code, while GitHub enhances collaboration with additional features. Git is the offline method of conducting version control, while GitHub provides a remote repository for storing code. We highlight that GitHub now offers free private repositories and extends additional benefits to students and open source contributors. However, our focus in this episode is directed towards Git, exploring its built-in mechanisms for making changes. We delve into the various commands within the Git interface that allow for staging changes to be committed.
Moving forward, we explore different strategies for staging and committing changes in version control. Visual cues within the source control tab of VS Code represent uncommitted changes with a dot and two branches, providing a clear overview. Once changes are staged, they can be committed to source control. Repositories, or repos, are pivotal in tracking different elements of a project. The main branch, often named “main” or “master,” represents the version intended for production. Branches offer the flexibility to develop and experiment with different ideas without affecting the main branch. To illustrate the power of branching, we use the analogy of writing a book, where each chapter is written in its own branch, committed, and then merged back into the main branch. Git flow, a technique that leverages branching for feature development, ensures that developers do not interfere with each other’s work, minimizing the occurrence of merge conflicts. Merge conflicts commonly arise when multiple developers modify the same lines of code. VS Code provides valuable assistance in resolving merge conflicts by presenting options to view and select different versions of the code. It’s worth noting that merge conflicts are more prevalent on GitHub and less likely to occur with a local repository unless changes from multiple branches are merged.
Proceeding further, we transition to discussing remotes and command line operations in Git. We cover topics such as committing changes using the git commit command, creating branches using git branch and git checkout, and how tools like VS Code can simplify these tasks. Additionally, we touch upon the process of retrieving projects from GitHub using git clone and contributing to them by forking and sending pull requests. We touch upon updating Mastodon source code using git and highlight the significance of staying informed about new releases. When it comes to pulling and pushing changes, we clarify that git pull integrates remote changes into the local code, while git push propagates local changes to online repositories. We also introduce the concept of git flow, which incorporates branches like main, develop, feature branches, and hotfix branches to manage different versions of a project. In passing, we briefly discuss software releases, noting that GitHub typically serves as the platform for such releases, surpassing the command line or VS Code. Ultimately, we emphasize the distinction between Git features and GitHub features, notably pull requests, forking, and releases, underlining that these functionalities primarily belong to GitHub.
Understanding the features of GitHub and Git is of utmost importance, and we discuss the significance of conducting research to determine what suits individual needs best. While GitHub remains a popular choice for code storage, alternatives like GitLab also exist. Different Git providers may vary in terms of accessibility and features. We mention GitHub Copilot as a valuable tool and encourage listeners to find the tools and platforms that align with their preferences. Additionally, we briefly mention Xcode Cloud, which facilitates continuous integration and delivery for iOS apps, although it poses challenges in handling environment variables like API keys. We express our intention to explore potential solutions for Django apps in the future.
Finally, after approximately 30 minutes of engaging programming discussions, we extend our gratitude to the guest and conclude the episode. We encourage listeners to connect with us online, providing them with contact information for the show.