Version Control with Git

Imagine you are working on a coding project with a friend and you both need to work on the same files. If you take turns, each of you will waste time waiting for the other to finish, but if you work on your own copies and email changes back and forth things will be lost, overwritten, or duplicated.

A solution to this problem is to use version control to manage your work. Version control is better than mailing files back and forth:

Teams are not the only ones to benefit from version control: lone researchers can benefit immensely. Keeping a record of what was changed, when, and why is extremely useful for all researchers if they ever need to come back to the project later on (e.g., a year later, when memory has faded).

Version control is the lab notebook of the digital world: it’s what professionals use to keep track of what they’ve done and to collaborate with other people. Every large software development project relies on it, and most programmers use it for their small jobs as well. And it isn’t just for software: books, papers, small data sets, and anything that changes over time or needs to be shared can and should be stored in a version control system.


In this lesson we use GitHub from a web browser and Git from the Unix Shell. Some previous experience with the shell is expected, but isn’t mandatory.


Setup Dowload files used on the lesson.
00:00 1. Automated Version Control What is version control and why should I use it?
00:05 2. Setting Up Git How do I get set up to use Git?
00:10 3. Creating a Repository How can we create a new Git repository
00:20 4. Tracking Changes How do I record changes in Git?
How do I check the status of my version control repository?
How do I record notes about what changes I made and why?
00:50 5. Pushing and Pulling to and from GitHub How do I share my changes with others on the web?
01:10 6. Ignoring Things How can I tell Git to ignore files I don’t want to track?
01:30 7. Collaborating How can I use version control to collaborate with other people?
02:25 8. Conflicts What do I do when my changes conflict with someone else’s?
02:55 9. Forks and Pull Requests How do I contribute to repositories I have not been given permission to modify?
03:25 10. Open Science How can version control help me make my work more open?
03:35 11. Licensing What licensing information should I include with my work?
03:40 12. Citation How can I make my work easier to cite?
03:42 13. Hosting Where should I host my version control repositories?
03:52 14. Using Git from RStudio How can I use Git with RStudio?
04:02 Finish

The actual schedule may vary slightly depending on the topics and exercises chosen by the instructor.