What is GIT and Why Software Developers Use It

What is GIT?

“Git”, put simply, is a version-control software for working on group project collaboration under the actual mechanics of sharing work back and forth mainly used for finding and monitoring changes in any set of files.

Let’s say for example that a month’s worth of shared project progress gets “accidentally” deleted, overwritten, mistakenly edited, or hours of work get lost in the matrix by a faulty file transfer, things can get, well, very ugly. Google Drive made it possible for multiple contributors to write, edit and add to the contents of a single text file, in the same way, Git is a computer program that makes it possible for multiple coders (and everyone on the team responsible for development) to work collaboratively on a project. Again, Git is a piece of software that you install on your computer, which then handles version control for you.

What is Version Control?

When working on a brand new project, It is natural to store all related files in a single new directory and as work progresses, these files will change – a lot. It will get disorganized in time and could at some point even be completely chaotic and at a certain point from there, you would want to go back in time to the most recent working version of your project, and thanks to git, it is. (It is like Google Drive’s “Version History” for online files) Installing git on your computer enables version control as it is built to create that new project directory, and keep track of all the changes being made to all files being added. As the work progresses and additions, changes are made, git takes a “snapshot” of the current version. You can then use git to step back and forth as necessary through each version of your project directory.

Why Do Software Developers Use GIT?

Programming, Developing, Coding is a hard task that is filled with multiple codes, different phases, and screw-ups happen every now then, and having Git is like having a super ability to go back in time and find the last good version before the screw up happened. Although Git is not the only version control system available, it is probably the most widely used. It is also essential for using GitHub, which is the most popular public website and platform for hosting and sharing projects, a hub for projects that use git version control.

Software Developers are fond of using it because of these benefits and conveniences as well:

  • Strong support for non-linear development
  • Distributed development
  • Compatibility with existing systems and protocols
  • Efficient handling of large projects
  • Cryptographic authentication of history
  • Toolkit-based design
  • Pluggable merge strategies
  • Garbage accumulates until collected
  • Periodic explicit object packing

How Does One Collaborate With GIT?

As previously said, what developers do is a hard task, and most of the time, teams work on a single project, just imagine making changes to your part of the project — working locally on your laptop at that — and your teammates are all doing the same on their share of work on the project on their own local tools. With Git, sharing the changes you made and also having the changes they make appear in your own local working version is made possible. Git’s distributed version control system commands allow one to “push” the changes made to others’ local tools, and “pull” the developments they made to yours.

There is more to GIT like …

  • Git also allows you to work on different versions of the same code base. If you are building a really complex feature that is not ready to go out in the world yet, you can put that in its own branch. Then if you need to go back and fix a small bug impacting production, you can switch to the main branch, make your fix, test and deploy it. And once that is done, switch back to your feature branch and pick up where you left off.
  • Git is also scriptable. If you have a set of steps you go through frequently, you can put them into a script and re-use that whenever you need.
  • Git was the first popular version control system to introduce a decentralized architecture. That means you can manage your repository completely locally, or you can manage it in the cloud. Even if you do manage it in the cloud, your revision history is stored locally, so you can switch between different points in time without needing access to the central git server (this comes in really handy if you are doing development on an airplane or somewhere else without Internet access).

What can GIT do for Non-Developers?

Git isn’t necessarily just for coding, if you are managing some other set of files that you need to to be able to look at previous versions of, or merge changes from other collaborators, you could use Git for that as well.

While Git is a powerful tool, it can be a little confusing to use when you first get started. It has a rather steep learning curve. That said, there are some great online classes to teach you the ins and outs. What matters more is this. If you are relying on software developers who are not using a version control system like Git, you should be concerned. If you have developers making modifications to your critical systems without some form of version control, they could easily make a change that breaks everything, waste massive amounts of time trying to figure out what went wrong, and set things right again, if they can even figure out what went wrong.

And if you ever find the need to use GIT, we at FULCRUM DYNAMIC can make it happen. Be it integration, automation, or even creating custom applications tailored to your needs, we make IT possible.


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Posted in Blog.