Learn Git / Git Resources / Git Bash

TODO smalers 2017-01-16 Need to list here useful Git resources including third-party cheat sheets, template .gitignore and .gitattribute files in GitHub.

TODO smalers 2017-01-16 maybe include this in overview

This documentation includes the following sections:


Git Bash Commands

Git Bash is installed with Git for Windows and provides access to the git command. Git Bash is a Linux-like shell and Linux commands may not be familiar to Windows users. Git Bash provides many useful commands that can be helpful when running git from the command line and manipulating files. The following table summarizes useful Git Bash commands.

Command Description
cp file1 file2 copy file to file2 where each can be a path
exit exit the Git Bash shell
ls list files and folders in the current folder
ls -a list all files in the current folder, including hidden files and folders such as .git
list folder list the contents of the specified folder
pwd display the "present working directory" path, useful when the full path is not shown in the prompt
rm file remove file
rmdir folder remove a folder (directory)

Bash Git Utilities

The following are useful bash utilities to enhance the Git experience. The utilities will need to be configured in each independent development environment, for example for Cygwin, Linux, Git Bash, and each virtual machine that may be configured. These utilities are automatically installed in some tools (such as Git for Windows Git Bash) but need to be installed in others.

Use of the git-completion.sh and git-prompt.sh tools is described in the following Udacity Git training course: Udacity: How to Use Git and GitHub

The git-completion and git-prompt scripts can be enabled in the software developer's .bashrc file (executed for interactive shells), where the .bashrc should be sourced from the .bash_profile or .profile. The following calls the git-completion.bash and git-prompt.sh scripts that are described in the following subsections. The following example illustrates saving the scripts in the user's ~/home/bin folder but the scripts could also be named with a leading period and be saved in the home folder as a hidden file (developer needs to decide how to configure their environment). Local modifications can be made by the developer, for example to customize the prompt content and colors. Git for Windows (Git Bash) may already include the following scripts and therefore modifications are only needed if default behavior is not as desired.

The functionality has been tested in Cygwin, Git Bash, and Debian Linux.

On Debian Linux, the following can be inserted in the .profile (may be included by default):

# if running bash
if [ -n "$BASH_VERSION" ]; then
    # include .bashrc if it exists
    if [ -f "$HOME/.bashrc" ]; then
        . "$HOME/.bashrc"
    fi
fi

Then insert the following in the .bashrc file:

# Start Git utilities insert
# Enable tab completion for Git commands
source ~/bin/git-completion.bash

# Enable git-aware command prompt.
# See:  http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Bash-Prompt-HOWTO/x329.html
# https://tiswww.case.edu/php/chet/bash/bashref.html#Controlling-the-Prompt
cyan="\[\033[0;36m\]"
blue="\[\033[0;34m\]"
green="\[\033[0;32m\]"
lightblue="\[\033[1;34m\]"
pink="\[\033[0;31m\]"
purple="\[\033[0;35m\]"
white="\[\033[1;37m\]"
yellow="\[\033[1;33m\]"
# reset switches back to regular color
reset="\[\033[0m\]"

# Change command prompt to display the current Git branch and whether any changes have been made
source ~/bin/git-prompt.sh
export GIT_PS1_SHOWDIRTYSTATE=1
# '\u' adds the name of the current user to the prompt
# '\$(__git_ps1)' adds git-related stuff
# '\W' adds the name of the current directory
# Prompt will be:
#  user (branch) directory $
# where branch may be followed by:
#  * if unstaged files
#  + if staged files
export PS1="$white\u$lightblue\$(__git_ps1)$yellow \W $ $reset"
# End Git utilities insert

The resulting command prompt appears similar to the following:

git prompt

Auto-Completion with git-completion.bash

The complete example in the previous section uses the git-completion.sh script to enable auto-completion of Git commands. See the following original sources describing this script:

Set Prompt to Indicate Repository Information with git-prompt.sh

It can be confusing to know what branch is being edited with command-line tools, especially after being away from a project for awhile. The git-prompt bash script provides context by showing the Git branch in the shell prompt. The following provides the original git-prompt.sh script: