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Git Tips

Git is crucial to any programming project since it'll allow you to save versions of your work. Commit your work at crucial junctures, and if you get in over your head with a new feature, you can easily go back in time to the last working version of your project (among many other awesome features).

Install git

If you've followed the Python installation instructions here, you should have brew, so you can easily run brew install git in your terminal. Not on a Mac or don't have brew? Check out these instructions.

The very basic, important commands

  • git init: Starts a git repository in your current folder. Essentially, starts tracking changes in your project. Make sure you're at the top level folder for your project (and only track individual projects, don't init your entire computer. :P)
  • git status: Shows the current state of your project - which files have changes, which have been added, and which branch you're on.
  • git add [FILE]: Adds files to be tracked - new files aren't tracked by default. You can add all new files using git add . rather than naming the individual files as well.
  • git commit [FILE]: Commits the changed files - use when you've hit a good state. Generally, you'll want to commit all files and add a message, so you can use git commit -a -m "Message!" to do that (-a commits all files, -m indicates that you're adding a message.)

Your .gitignore file!

Git will track everything that is in your project, even things you don't really need (like the stuff you install via pip).

You can add a ".gitignore" file to your project, which tells git to ignore certain files. I created one here that works for the project that is built with Hello Web App:

Add this file to your top level directory like so:


(Make sure to keep the dot in front!)

FYI, if you look at your project in Finder or by using something like ls (Mac/Linux) or dir (Windows) in your terminal, you might not see this new file. It's because files with a "." in front are, by default, hidden.

Use ls -lah (Mac/Linux) or dir /a (Windows) in your terminal to see your directory including those hidden files.

Now, when you track your files, you won't track unnecessary files.


There are pretty much a billion other awesome commands, check them out here.