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😀 Some useful git commands and configurations


Git is a distributed version control system (DVCS) for many people to work together on the same project. It helps you keep track of what your code looks like any time and, if necessary, you can go back in time to do something about the code previously commited easily.

Some basic configurations:

Git supports colored terminal output:

$ git config --global color.ui true

You can configure your git to remember your credential for a period of time:

$ git config --global credential.helper "cache --timeout=3600"

You can list the files changed for a specific commit:

$ git config --global alias.files '!f() { git diff --name-status $1^ $1; }; f'

You can select / unselect the files in the working tree that cannot be updated even if there are changes:

$ git config --global alias.hide 'update-index --assume-unchanged'
$ git config --global alias.unhide 'update-index --no-assume-unchanged'

Able to visualize a tree easily and more beautifully compared to just doing git log

$ git config --global alias.lg "log --graph --pretty=format:'%Cred%h%Creset -%C(yellow)%d%Creset %s %Cgreen(%cr)%Creset' --abbrev-commit --date=relative --all"

Global flags: you can use -g flag to change your setting globally.

$ git config “Shih-Min Lee”
$ git config -g “”

Some other lazy configurations

If you’re super lazy you can do git df instead of git diff… etc

$ git config --global alias.df diff

You can open a file editor and see the difference one by one:

$ git config --global alias.dt difftool
$ git config --global status

Mac-specific configs

  • on a mac. .gitconfig is locate at $HOME/.gitconfig. you should be able to find your git settings there.
  • the default git on mac is something called Apple git, you might want to switch it to a real git. You can simply do
$ brew install git

but the current git is pointed to default apple git location. you need to add the path to the $PATH variable

export PATH="/usr/local/bin:$PATH"

in ~/.bash_profile to solve this issue.

Reason why you want to switch away from Apple git is because you might want to install something like bash-completion, which behaves just like git autocomplete in ubuntu when you press the Tab key.

$ git --version

> Shih-Mins-MacBook-Pro:project1 ssmlee04$ git --version
> git version 2.3.2 (Apple Git-55)

Once you update your git you should be able to install other useful packages.

Some basic commands

You can use this command to clone projects to your local machine.

$ git clone

For example meanio is a open source project that you think is useful and would like to make a copy and something yourself. You can simply do git clone to get a copy of the source code.

In the future if you feel your changes could contribute to the project you can push your code and submit a pull request to notify the project manager so they can review your code and merge your code into the codebase.

$ git checkout -b new-branch-name
$ git checkout -b new-branch-name develop

you can create a branch new-branch-name with above methods. Also you can create a branch directly from a specific branch

$ git branch

list the branches that exists in the local repo. This list might not be in sync with your remote repo and if you want to list the remote branches you might want to do one of the following:

$ git ls-remote --heads
$ git remote show origin

Some extremely stupid things you might want to avoid

  • Get rid of all the credentials in your code before pushing your code to the remote repository, especially if you’re pushing to a public repo (been there done that..)
  • If you have to push config file to the repo for the first time. You can tell git to stop tracking this file by doing git update-index --assume-unchanged <file> and specify the files in .gitignore so later when you enter the credentials you don’t need to worry about credentials leaked.
  • What I do is have a config file with something like this
  mongo: {
    user: process.ENV.MONGO_USER,
    pass: process.ENV.MONGO_PASS

and then you just set the environment variables on your server or on your local machine

Trim intermediate commits

you can do the following to get rid of intermidiate commits on local and remote (generally speaking you shouldn’t change info of your git tree when you have pushed to remote already)

$ git reset --soft HEAD~5
$ git commit
$ git push --force origin master


  • If the folder is empty, it will not be added into project. But you might want to do something like this to add a empty folder:

  • How can I add an empty directory to a Git repository?

  • when you switch between projects you will sometimes have no access to private repos under that organization. Make sure you are a logged-in user under that orgnization by doing

$ ssh-add ~/.ssh/id_rsa_organization

and then use

$ ssh`

to verify that you have loggedin successfully under that orgnization.

  • a successful Git branching model: