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Intro to Git

Friday, February 1st, 2019 from 2:00 to 3:00 pm CST

Presenter: David Sondak, Ph.D.

David Sondak is a lecturer at the Institute for Applied Computational Science at Harvard University, where he teaches courses on computational science and data science. David received his PhD in Aeronautical Engineering in 2013 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute during which time he was funded through the Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Fellowship program. He received a Master's degree in Applied Mathematics, also from RPI, in 2011 and a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University in 2008.

Instructions to Prepare Before the Webinar

Please visit the GitHub website and follow the steps to create an account.

First, use the command line to see if Git is installed. (Windows users may check their list of currently installed programs.)

git --version

To install or update Git using your package manager:

  • CentOS, RedHat:
sudo yum install git

sudo yum update git
  • Debian, Ubuntu:
sudo apt-get install git
sudo apt-get update git
/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL  https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"

brew install git

brew upgrade git


Set up Git with your access credentials to GitHub with the following commands:

git config --global user.name "your_username"

git config --global user.email "your_email_address@example.com"
  • You can review the information that you entered during set-up:
git config --global –list
  • You may need Xcode developer tools to make your life a little easier during the webinar. Go to the Xcode website and click the blue download button on the top right and install the software package.


While there are many text editors to choose from, Atom is recommended due to its ability to be customized and integrated with GitHub/Git.

Install Atom: https://atom.io/

Atom has several packages which enhance the user experience and some of them you’ll need for the workflow. The packages can be installed by entering the Settings screen and choosing Install. There are thousands of packages, so try some out and have fun.

  • Necessary Packages:
    • git-plus (integrates Git)
    • git-checkout (allows checking out remote branches within Atom)
  • Optional but Recommended Packages:
    • linter (aids in code validation, will also need linter package for each language)
    • minimap (displays thumbnail version of the document along with your location within it)
    • todo-show (provides visuals for TODO and FIXME tags)
  • Navigate to the GitHub repository in your web browser. Copy the SSH address to your machine’s clipboard.
  • (Optional) Consider adding your SSH key to your GitHub profile so you are not prompted for credentials after every commit. To add your public SSH key to GitHub:
    • Click on your user image in the top-right of the GitHub window.
    • Select Settings.
    • On the left, click SSH and GPG keys, then New SSH key.
    • Paste your public SSH key in the box, provide a title, and save by clicking Add SSH key.
  • Now, back inside Atom, open the Command Palette. On Mac, press shift+command+p. In Windows/Linux, press control+shift+p.
  • Type git clone and press enter.
  • Paste the SSH address in the resulting window. You may also modify the location of the local folder.
  • Wait for the repository to clone.
  • Now you can see the files have populated into the folder you specified. These files represent a local copy, to which you will make changes.


Recording of the Webinar

Additional Resources

Here is a bit of documentation on using Git, GitHub, and the Atom text editor.

Once you follow the link you can select from other Git topics on the left.