Intro to Git & Github

Ever make changes that broke your code and forgot how it was working before? Want to work together with someone on a code project, but aren't sure who has the latest version of a particular file? Version control can solve these and other problems!

Git is a popular version control application that can track your code changes, as well as help you to be more methodical in your programming. Win-win! This session will introduce the basics of version control, how to use git to keep track of your changes to a project, and using GitHub (a hosting service) to collaborate with other developers.

This class will be broken up into two sections. The first section will be lecture-based and will cover:

  • the basic concepts of version control
  • the differences between git and other version control applications
  • fundamental git commands to track changes to a small project
  • the basics of collaborating on code with other developers
  • how to use GitHub

The second section will be a lab where put that new knowledge to work by creating a GitHub account and setting up git on your machine. The remaining portion of lab will be spent play githug, a git game that we will pull down from -- you guessed it -- GitHub. This lab is freeform, so students are welcome to skip the game portion of the lab if they would prefer to work on their own GitHub projects with instructor assistance.

Want to try Git for yourself? Github has a 15-minute tutorial you can go through on your own here.


This class will not use actual code when committing to a GitHub repository, so no need to worry about knowing a particular programming language. A willingness to use the command line to execute commands is necessary. We will be changing directory, listing directory contents, and using git from command line throughout the class.

About the teacher:

Sarah is an English Major and general language nerd. After finishing her BA, she fell into a technology job, fell in love, and never looked back. After several years of working in IT, she went back to school and got a computer science degree from UPenn. She is now a polyglot programmer and software engineer at The Neat Company in Philadelphia. You can find out more about her adventures in programming at

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  • Sarah G.

    Quick reminder: we will be having an informal meet-up at Chapter House (620 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147) on Tuesday the 22nd at 6 PM for folks who want to additional help using git with GitHub.

    1 · October 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi Sarah! Can we get please presentation shared? It`s going to be helpful for our homework :)

    2 · October 13, 2013

    • Sarah G.

      Also, the cheat sheets should be on your local machine if you forked & cloned the reptiles repo. Look inside the git_resources directory inside of the repo :)

      October 14, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Oh, yes the one about reptiles and alligators :). Have it. If there is another event like this one, I am in!

      1 · October 15, 2013

  • Karen M.

    I want to fork everyone's repo now.

    4 · October 12, 2013

    • Lisa B.

      Yeah, I'm ready to git init!

      1 · October 14, 2013

  • G o n d a

    What do we need to bring! Where is this command line going to be?

    October 10, 2013

    • Sarah G.

      Everybody should be a laptop, power cable, and should have administrative right for their machine since you'll be installing git on your computer. I'll send out an email reminder to the class tonight with some additional details on what to expect on Saturday.

      October 10, 2013

  • Karen M.

    hi Gals. Is Github a good choice for developing WordPress sites? the CSS in particular?

    September 9, 2013

    • Sarah G.

      Git with Github is an excellent tool for storing, documenting, and developing projects of any kind. Basically, it's a clean way to store your projects in manageable chunks and document those chunks as you go. For example, let's say you are writing some new CSS for your WordPress site. You could use git with GitHub to make two different versions of the CSS and compare them without a need to overwrite or swap files (git term: branches). You could even mix and match portions of those CSS files to make a hybrid of the two (git term: cherry-pick). Does that answer your question? Was that helpful?

      1 · September 9, 2013

    • Karen M.

      Thanks Sarah. Awesome answer. I did some Github learnin' by myself and have a Github account. I think my next step is to...take a class with Sarah Gray.

      3 · September 9, 2013

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