Learn Git for a Hackathon



Hey there! Welcome to my blog.

If you are reading this post, I know your time is very precious and you need to learn how to use git quickly in time for a hackathon hack! Well don't worry because you have come to the best place, and I promise to go through everything quickly and clearly.

Before we get setup, lets go over some prerequisites and briefly explain what git is.


  • Know how to navigate folders using the command line
  • Mac Users: make sure you have homebrew installed

What is Git

Git is featureful and versatile a version control system (VCS). A VCS is used to track changes in computer files among multiple people (or just yourself too). Using git you can easily:

  • see who worked on the code and what they did
  • revert back to a previous version of the code
  • divert from the main code to build a certain feature, and then merge that feature back into the main code (accomplished by branches)
  • show off your code and commits on a site such as GitHub or Bitbucket

How to install Git

First, set yourself up with a Github account.

Next, follow the appropriate steps below to install git. Mac or Linux users must run the commands in the terminal.

For macOS:

brew install git

For Linux:

sudo apt-get install git

For Windows:

Install git for Windows (Note for windows users: When entering the following git commands, use git bash)

How to Setup Git

Open up your terminal / git bash. Next, enter the following commands with your own name and GitHub email. For example, I would write:

git config --global user.name "Dillion Verma"
git config --global user.email "dillionverma@hotmail.com"

How to Use Git

Scenario 1: Brand new repository

First, lets consider the scenario where you are making a brand new repository.

  1. Go to github.com and create new repository
  2. Now you will be presented with many steps on GitHub which are self explanatory. Here is a quick recap

To make a brand new repository from the command line:

echo "# test-repo" >> README.md
git init
git add README.md
git commit -m "first commit"
git remote add origin https://github.com/dillionverma/test-repo.git
git push -u origin master

To push existing code to GitHub:

cd test-repo   # navigate to your folder
git init
git remote add origin https://github.com/dillionverma/test-repo.git
git push -u origin master

Scenario 2: Contribute to repository

Let's consider a scenario where your group members have already created a git repository on GitHub, and you want to write code for this repository.

  1. Go to the repository url. It should look something like this:
  • https://github.com/username/repository_name
  1. Click on "clone or download" button and copy the "clone with HTTPS url" git clone image
  2. Open terminal / git bash and navigate to your desired code folder and clone the Github repo:
cd Documents/workspace
git clone https://github.com/username/repository_name.git

The purpose of git clone is to copy all contents of the repository from GitHub to your machine. The alternative solution would be to download as a zip. Now you are ready to dive into the code and modify it with your favorite text editor.

Once you are done making your changes, go back to the terminal/git bash and follow these steps:

cd Documents/workspace/repository_name
git add . 
git commit -m "worked on landing page" 
git push origin master

I will try to break down the commands by using a container analogy to explain what the steps mean.

To start, git add is a way to add files to the staging area. Think of this as placing your code into a container. The . is a way to specify the current directory. Hence, git add . adds all files in current directory to staging.

Next, git commit -m "worked on landing page" is used to write a commit message. Think of this as closing your container of code, and labeling the container with whats inside.

Lastly, git push origin master is a way to push your code to the origin on the master branch. Think of this as a way to ship your container to the main floor of an apartment building. If you look closely at scenario 1 you can figure out where we set the url of the origin. For scenario 2 we don't have to set the origin url because when we clone, we already get that information.

And your code is now on GitHub!

Thank you for reading and I hope you have learned just enough git to get going on your hackathon hack. Good luck!

Here are some extra resources to learn more about git: