Updated on 2015-01-11 with new clone URLs, clarification on Git commands, and a new 'Further Reading' subsection.


Download Git for your operating system. Run the installer. The default settings work fine.

You probably want credit for the changes you made. Right-click anywhere (your desktop is fine) and open Git Bash. Run the following commands:

  • git config --global user.name "Your Fantastic Name Here"
  • git config --global user.email "yfnh@some.mail.domain.com"

Cloning Repositories

Open the folder that you want to store your local Git repositories in. Right click in that folder and open Git Bash. At the prompt, type (or copy/paste) one or more of the following commands:

  • Robot Program: git clone https://github.com/Partmedia/ftc-2014.git
  • Website: git clone https://github.com/Partmedia/robotics-www.git

Alternatively, if you have an account on GitHub and prefer to clone via SSH:

  • Robot Program: git clone git@github.com:Partmedia/ftc-2014.git
  • Website: git clone git@github.com:Partmedia/robotics-www.git

You never have to clone the repository ever again.

Making Changes

Make sure you are running Git Bash inside the repository you just cloned. You can close the original Git Bash and open another inside the newly-created folder. More adventurous people who think they're "tech-savvy" may attempt to use the cd command. This is left as an exercise to the reader.

Here are some common tasks and their commands, in no particular order:

  • Check the status of your working copy: git status
  • Check what modifications you made: git diff
  • Revert uncommitted changes in a file: git checkout -- <file>
  • Stage your changes in a file to be committed: git add <file>

Committing Changes (and using vim)

Make sure you have added the changes you want committed using git add. Then run git commit when you are satisfied.

Vim is a modal text editor. You start in command mode. To insert text, you need to enter insert mode by hitting i or a. Once your are finished, return to command mode by hitting ESC.

Remember that the first line of your commit message should be 72 characters or less and summarize your changes.

If you are satisfied with your commit message, save and quit. Make sure you are in command mode and type :wq, followed by ENTER. Git should now happily commit your changes into your local repository.

Submitting Changes

By now your changes should have been committed to your local repository, which lives on your computer inside the folder you cloned earlier. At this point you have two options:

Generating Patches

You must use this option if you do not have write access to the repository. Run git format-patch origin/master. This will create several files (one for each commit you made) in the folder you have open. Attach these files to an email and send them to someone with write access for review. Once your email is sent, you can (and should) delete these files.

Generally, you should start out by sending patches. Once you've sent in a number of good, high-quality patches (there is no magic number) someone will offer you write access. Pat yourself on the back!

Pushing Yourself

If you have write access to the repository, life is easy: git push.

This operation can fail: if so Git will tell you. Most likely someone else committed and pushed a change before you did. Take a deep breath and run git rebase. If the rebase operation is successful, git push again.

The rebase operation can also fail. If it does, this means that somebody else committed and pushed a change that stomps on yours. Ask for help. Remember, if you have write access you can seriously break things.

Keeping Up-to-Date

Git does not automatically keep your local repository in-sync (if it did that, your changes could be lost). Instead, you must run this often:

git fetch; git rebase

Further Reading

  • Pro Git by Scott Chacon (highly recommended)