Chapter 1. Before you begin


You may have heard of Git, the wondrous new software that puts the fun back into the laborious work of version control. You might even have browsed the many software offerings on GitHub, the popular social coding website. (You might even be confused about Git and GitHub!) Maybe you’re using one of those other version control systems, which are now considered old-school. Maybe you’ve been working without version control (gasp!), because you think it’s only for programmers (it’s not). Maybe you’ve become curious about how to contribute to open source software, but Git has always been a roadblock. However you got to this book, I’m glad you’re here exploring Git!

As more and more corporate IT shops begin to embrace open source software, more and more IT developers and administrators will encounter Git. Git has become the de facto source-code control system for open source developers. Tinkering and modifying open source software to suit your needs is one of the benefits of open source, but you’ll want to use the safety net of source-code control, and Git is that safety net.

As you use Git, you’ll see that it encourages an attitude of being careful about changes. Commit often is a mantra you’ll hear often in the Git community (as well as continuous integration and continuous deployment camps), and for good reason. Version control is the most important thing you can practice as a developer, and Git makes it easy.

1.1. What makes Git so special?

1.2. Is this book for you?

1.3. How to use this book

1.4. Installing Git

1.5. Your learning path

1.6. Online resources

1.7. Being immediately effective