Quick Switch Between Git Branches

Today's little-known git feature (or maybe everyone knows but me? I only found this a few months ago) is for quickly switching between branches. Usually I would switch branches with:

git checkout [branchname]

However if you switch from one branch to another and want to switch back again (this happens when I'm reviewing changes and wondering if a bug is present on master as well), then you can do so by just doing:

git checkout -

Just a little timesaver in case it's useful to anyone else - I know I've been using it quite a bit!

PHP and Git Training Course Dates

I've had a little flurry of enquiries about training lately, so I thought I'd mention the courses I have coming up, as especially the PHP ones are topics that I don't run public classes on all that often. At the time of writing I have some space on all of these classes: Continue reading

GitHub-Powered Changelog Scripts

My current project does periodic releases, we build a few things, then we work on getting a bunch of user feedback and changing/fixing things before we actually release. This means we need to be organised with tags and branches. We're using GitHub for collaboration, including our issue trackers, commits which contribute to an issue have the issue number in the commit message, and when a branch merges in to the main line, we use the "fixes #42" notation to simultaneously close off the issue that it relates to.

This has been working pretty well, and today I got the question "what's new since I last saw this project?" - so I created a changelog. It's rather rough-and-ready but I had fun so I thought I'd share. Continue reading

Upcoming Git Courses

Three git courses are coming up in the next few weeks, and a few people have asked me which courses I'm running, so here's a quick roundup (feel free to drop me a line if you need any more detail):

  • Dublin, 30th January: Git and GitHub Foundations
  • Dublin, 31st January: Git and GitHub Advanced
  • London, 6th February: Git for Teams

I have fantastic partners for these events: the Dublin ones are with Github and the London ones with FLOSSUK, and I look forward to both. Right now they all do still have places remaining, visit my courses page for the links you need to book. Training days are a great opportunity to boost your skills and discuss specific aspects of technology that you can't really get from a textbook - hope to see you at one of these sessions, I am standing by for difficult questions :)

Git, Vimdiff, and Merge-Base

git merge-base is this week's favourite git command. I use it to show me in a vimdiff everything that has changed on a particular branch since it was created. This took a little bit of looking around to find how to combine the tools, so I thought I'd write it all down in one place. Continue reading

Open a GitHub Pull Request with Hub

Both in my professional life and in my personal life as an open source project lead, I spend a lot of time working with git in general, and GitHub in particular. GitHub publishes a command line tool called hub, which is a more convenient way than the website for doing a few specific tasks and in particular I've been using it more and more for opening pull requests. Continue reading

You're Not Using Source Control? Read This!

Last week I wrote an email to a client who hasn't yet implemented source control, but who is thinking about it. It turned into rather a long email as I attempted to convey WAY too much information in one long email. After some twitter banter, I repackaged my thoughts into a whitepaper on Source Control entitled You're not using source control? Read This! (PDF, no registration needed).

The document goes on to talk about the available tools (git, Hg, SVN) and give a sales pitch for _why_ source control has benefits for an organisation. There are also some action points to follow to implement source control if you haven't already taken the leap, which I hope will help anyone looking to take that step - it's kind of awkward in this day and age to admit that your organisation doesn't have source control, but however this situation arose, hopefully this document wraps up my thoughts on how to find a good way out! Continue reading

Confident Coding Report

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at Confident Coding in San Francisco. This was a one-day event for mostly front-end developers, covering the things everyone seems to know but which seem like silly questions to ask - and it has an all-female speaker lineup.
Continue reading

Git Cheat Sheet

Today I thought I'd share my "cheat sheet" for git - the commands that I use on a day-to-day basis. I've used entirely the command line tools, since those are the same on every platform. GUI tools and IDE plugins are available for git so it is worth taking a look at what is available for the development environment you use.


In git, you don't checkout code, you clone a repository. You end up with a local repository on your filesystem, which behaves as both the repo and as your working copy. In git, you always clone the whole repo, not a subdirectory, and the metadata is all stored at the top level, in a directory called .git.

When you are ready to clone the repo, create the directory to store it in and change into it. Then type:

git clone [url]

Here's an example, showing a clone of my private joind.in repo on github. Continue reading

Do Open Source with Git and Github

This article originally appeared in the May 2012 php|architect magazine.

Often I find absolutely competent programmers, who aren't involved in open source, either because they don't know how to approach a project, or because they just aren't sure how the process even works. In this article we'll look at one example, the conference feedback site joind.in, and how you can use GitHub to start contributing code to this project. Since so many projects are hosted on github, this will help you get started with other projects, too.

The tl;dr Version for the Impatient

  1. Fork the main repo so you have your own github repo for the project
  2. Clone your repo onto your development machine
  3. Create a branch
  4. Make changes, commit them
  5. Push your new branch to your github repository
  6. Open a pull request

This article goes through this process in more detail, so you will be able to work with git and github projects as you please.
Continue reading