Girders Blog
Notes on building internet applications

Git is a framework for creating a Version Control System

Sep 4, 2013

TL;DR - Git is a low-level library. All development and deployment environments differ, so build your own development work flow system on top of git to build your best work flow environment.

The git version control system became hugely popular once it was introduced, and along with Github, achieved a dominant role in open source to enterprise development.

Git is powerful, even complicated, but also allows a novice to start with minimal training. The more I use git, the more I start finding odd corners that I need to head to google to find out more how to use it. There are some parts of it that are just darn incomprehensible unless you understand the internals, so it becomes hard to guess where to look to find your answers.

The .gitconfig file allows you to customize git, adding default flags, abbreviations, etc., to help you build up your work flow.

Github adds a layer on top git with pull requests, issues, and more. Their “hub” package enhances git to smooth over some cruftiness and integrate command line git with their service.

The git-flow package also adds a convention of work flow and best practices for a team using git.

All these tools point to the fact that git doesn’t fit every need. Each team, organization, deployment practice and scenario require a unique requirement for a version control system.

You need to determine your own requirements and build a version control system, based on git (or really, any other). You can integrate development, review, deployment, billing, issues, testing, continuous integration, or whatever, into a single point of control and procedure.

For single-developer projects, perhaps a well-crafed .gitconfig is all you need. You can even extend the git command by adding subcommands that execute multiple git commands or any other system command.

For a small team, perhaps a shell script or app can usher change through proper channels. Perhaps you find that off-the-shelf solutions like git-flow fit well enough.

Before you start, you need to work it manually for a while to understand the pain points of your situation, and find the solutions that solve them, or enhance how you currently operate.

Every shop needs a serious git advocate on staff, who can answer those edge questions like “how do I delete a remote branch?” to “where did my commit go?” Like any other piece of software, you have to know why it works, and how it’s implemented so when things go awry, you can get back on your feet in no time.