Setting Up Git

Learning Objectives

  • Configure git the first time it is used on a computer.

  • Understand the meaning of the --global configuration flag.

When we use Git on a new computer for the first time, we need to configure a few things. Below are a few examples of configurations we will set as we get started with Git:

  • our name and email address,

  • to colorize our output,

  • what our preferred text editor is,

  • and that we want to use these settings globally (i.e. for every project)

On a command line, Git commands are written as git verb, where verb is what we actually want to do. So here is how Dracula sets up his new laptop:

$ git config --global "Vlad Dracula"
$ git config --global "vlad@tran.sylvan.ia"
$ git config --global color.ui "auto"

Please use your own name and CERN email address instead of Dracula’s. This user name and email will be associated with your subsequent Git activity, which means that any changes pushed to GitHub, BitBucket, GitLab or another Git host server in a later lesson will include this information.

Line Endings

As with other keys, when you hit the ‘return’ key on your keyboard, your computer encodes this input. For reasons that are long to explain, different operating systems use different character(s) to represent the end of a line. (You may also hear these referred to as newlines or line breaks.) Because git uses these characters to compare files, it may cause unexpected issues when editing a file on different machines.

You can change the way git recognizes and encodes line endings using the ‘core.autocrlf’ command to ‘git config’. The following settings are recommended:

On OS X and Linux:

$ git config --global core.autocrlf input

And on Windows:

$ git config --global core.autocrlf true

You can read more about this issue on this GitHub page.

Dracula also has to set his favorite text editor, following this table:

| Editor | Configuration command | |:——————-|:————————————————-| | Atom | $ git config --global core.editor "atom --wait"| | nano | $ git config --global core.editor "nano -w" | | BBEdit (Mac, with command line tools) | $ git config --global core.editor "edit -w" | | Sublime Text (Mac) | $ git config --global core.editor "subl -n -w" | | Sublime Text (Win, 32-bit install) | $ git config --global core.editor "'c:/program files (x86)/sublime text 3/sublime_text.exe' -w" | | Sublime Text (Win, 64-bit install) | $ git config --global core.editor "'c:/program files/sublime text 3/sublime_text.exe' -w" | | Notepad++ (Win, 32-bit install) | $ git config --global core.editor "'c:/program files (x86)/Notepad++/notepad++.exe' -multiInst -notabbar -nosession -noPlugin"| | Notepad++ (Win, 64-bit install) | $ git config --global core.editor "'c:/program files/Notepad++/notepad++.exe' -multiInst -notabbar -nosession -noPlugin"| | Kate (Linux) | $ git config --global core.editor "kate" | | Gedit (Linux) | $ git config --global core.editor "gedit --wait --new-window" | | Scratch (Linux) | $ git config --global core.editor "scratch-text-editor" | | emacs | $ git config --global core.editor "emacs" | | vim | $ git config --global core.editor "vim" |

It is possible to reconfigure the text editor for Git whenever you want to change it.

Exiting Vim

Note that vim is the default editor for many programs. If you haven’t used vim before and wish to exit a session, type Esc then :q! and Enter.

The four commands we just ran above only need to be run once: the flag --global tells Git to use the settings for every project, in your user account, on this computer.

You can check your settings at any time:

$ git config --list

You can change your configuration as many times as you want: just use the same commands to choose another editor or update your email address.

Git Help and Manual

Always remember that if you forget a git command, you can access the list of commands by using -h and access the Git manual by using --help :

$ git config -h
$ git config --help

Key Points

  • “Use git config to configure a user name, email address, editor, and other preferences once per machine.”

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