Why I’m Learning Git via the Command Line Interface

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Today we have a guest editorial from Kendra Little as Steve is away on his sabbatical.

I’ve learned a bit about Git in the last year: I’m now quite comfortable creating and managing Git Repos in Azure DevOps. I frequently do demos with SQL Change Automation and SQL Source control with Git on Redgate’s YouTube channel, and I’ve published a Git Cheat Sheet for the Command Line Interface.

I love learning Git now: I’m very comfortable with a small set of core commands which empower me to get a lot done and I’m able to regularly add new bits of knowledge into my repertoire.

I was interested in learning Git before, and I tried and failed to get started learning more than once. Each time, part of the problem was that I tried to use graphical tooling which I thought would make the whole thing simpler, but which I found to be difficult to start using – and also prone to quickly getting me into complex situations which I didn’t understand.

A big differentiator to me finally learning Git was embracing the built-in command line interface (CLI).

While command line interfaces are often harder to learn than graphical tools, in Git’s case I feel that it’s the opposite: the CLI helps you learn and focus. Here’s why:

You don’t need a lot: You mainly need to learn five or six simple, core operations which you will use 90% of the time – for everything else you’re generally going to use search engines and forum entries to figure it out case by case, anyway

It helps you learn: Mistype a command? It will list commands spelled similarly.

Simple add-ins take away the toil: Most of the pains I’ve had with Git have had to do with forgetting my current branch context, or not wanting to type out a whole command – add-ins like posh-git quickly solve these problems and let me have a simple-but-easy experience

There is a case when I’m happy to depart from the command line: when it comes to merge conflicts, I’m all about having an additional tool to help me sort out the mess. I’m a long-time fan of the editor Sublime Text, so I’ve recently been happily working with Sublime Merge (which allows you to try it out indefinitely for free).

But for everything else Git, I love learning with the CLI.

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