📝 Penn Week 5a – Git and GitHub, Individual Meetings

📓 Asynchronous Notes: Git and GitHub

  • 💡 Note: You will need to review these instructions to turn in your Explainer project. These notes tell you how to get a URL.

1. What is Git?

What is it used for
Git is the underlying software that we use when we use GitHub. It’s a version control system – this means that it saves your work so you don’t have a myriad of files. When you save your work to GitHub, you’re able to view all previous versions of the files and revert to them if you wish. Super handy when you make a mistake! It’s also helpful when working in teams.

Where did it come from?
Git was created by Linus Torvalds, a Finnish software engineer. He also created Linux kernel which is a low-level operating system that was very influential in modern computing.

2. GitHub and GitHub Desktop Installation

What is GitHub?
GitHub is a website that makes it easy to access Git files. It is a for-profit service now owned by Microsoft. 

👉 Action Item
  1.  Go to https://desktop.github.com/ and download for macOS or Windows. This is the GitHub desktop app. Expand the zip file and open it up.

  1. If you already have an account on GitHub.com, you can use it. If you don’t have one, create one now and verify your email address.
It then asks you a bunch of questions about how you plan to use GitHub, none of that really matters, and then select “Free” for the plan you want.


  1. Once you finish the onboarding and you’re on the GitHub website, select “Create repository.” Every project stored in Git is called a “repo” (short for repository).

  1. Create a repository name that has the same name as your username with .github.io appended to it. Example: nikaclass.github.io (Remember! All lower case, no spaces). Create a public repo. Do not select any of the checks under “Initialize this repository.”
This is what a new repo looks like!
You can ignore all of this and go back to GitHub Desktop. Now that we have an account you can sign in. GitHub will ask you to authorize desktop, say yes. 

You can see the repository you created on the GitHub website on the right. Go ahead and click it and then select “Clone.” Cloning means that you’re downloading these folders from online. It’s called cloning because we’re cloning the entire directory and are then able to access its entire history.

Now you have this repo on your computer. You can verify this by following the local path that was provided to you, and you can see where this is on your desktop.

3. Uploading and Storing Code

Now that we have the repository set up, we can begin to upload and store code. This new directory is going to replace the local folder we created previously (nika_art21). Move all of the folders within nika_art21 into this new folder. This new folder is what you’ll use for the rest of the semester.

Once you do this, go back and look at GitHub Desktop. You’ll notice that it will notify you of all the changes in your repository.