Tag Archives: version control

GitList: View Your Git Repositories on the Web

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could host your own private GitHub, for browsing your local repositories or remote ones you host on your own server? Well, there’s a new PHP application in town that lets you do exactly that. GitList, the self-described “elegant and modern git repository viewer” adds a simple web interface for your repositories, allowing you to browse commits and code. It’s still in its infancy, but it has the basics.

Setup was a little bit of a hassle at first, due to some dependency issues with the development version I was trying to install. I would definitely recommend downloading the stable version from GitList.org. The installation instructions are simple enough, though the script seems to prefer having its own domain or subdomain. (GitList doesn’t use absolute URLs, and there is no documented configuration option to set a base directory other than the domain root.)

Once you get it up and running, it’s a convenient way to view commits. I’d probably be using it regularly if I wasn’t already hosting my private repositories on BitBucket.

Try Git: Learn Git in 15 Minutes with an Interactive Tutorial

Want to learn about Git and GitHub? It can save you hours of frustration by versioning your code and making it very easy to roll it back to an early date, or even create temporary branches where you can make major changes, and only merge them into the main code base once you’re sure nothing will break.

Despite its usefulness, however, the initial learning curve puts off some people. It can be a little difficult to wrap your head around if you’re not already familiar with the concept of version control.

That’s where Try Git comes in. It aims to teach you the basics of Git with an interactive tutorial that features an in-browser command prompt. The tutorial walks you through different commands, and helps you see how everything works.

If you’re not using Git yet, check it out! And keep in mind that there are alternatives to GitHub if you don’t want to host your code publicly. You can use Git locally, on your own server, or a service like BitBucket that doesn’t charge for private repositories.

Git: The Simple Guide

Have you been trying to wrap your head around Git, the version control software that everyone is talking about? It works a little differently than tools like Subversion, so you’ll have to unlearn some habits if you’re familiar with other version control packages.

A fancy new one-page website has been circulating Twitter and Reddit of late, serving as an easy into to Git. Git: The Simple Guide helps you install the software, create a repository on your local computer or check out an existing remote one, and start using Git.

It’s a good tutorial, and the design looks great. I like the differently-colored segments with the large text and rounded styling on the <code> elements. (The page is actually hosted on GitHub Pages, which seems fitting, given the subject.)

Alternatives to GitHub

GitHub is great for open source projects, but the lack of free private repositories can be limiting for projects that you would rather not be shared with the entire world.

While it does make sense to pay for a tool if you use it extensively for commercial purposes, you may not be ready to if you’re an indie developer just beginning a project that won’t hit the shelves for awhile. Also, if you’re using it for versioning and deploying websites, you may not want to have all of your source be public.

GitHub’s business model is primarily the sale of premium accounts with varying numbers of allowed private repositories, starting at $7/month for five private repositories and up to one collaborator. It’s not a bad deal at all, as GitHub is by and large open source projects, but you may still want to find a better offer. Fortunately, there are a couple of solid competitors.


BitBucket is very much like GitHub, functionally. It has the same sort of social collaboration tools, and most of the same features. But that’s where the differences end. Their pricing scheme is to give you all of the repositories you could possibly want, both public and private, while charging to add extra collaborators to your private repositories. You get five for free, and can upgrade to ten for $10/month, twenty-five for $20/month, etc.. Oh, and they support both Git and Mercurial.

I’ve been using BitBucket lately for some of my projects, and it’s been great so far.


Beanstalk only does private repositories, offering plans limited by disk space and the number of repositories, as well as the number of authorized users. Aside from their 100MB single-repository trial plan, their offerings start at $15/month for 3GB of space, 10 repositories and 5 users. One of their unique selling points is their integration with tools like Basecamp and Lighthouse. They also have quite a few corporate customers.

So I Finally Figured Out Why Everyone Likes Git Repositories so Much…

Until recently, I didn’t really use version control software all that much. I primarily used SVN for a few WordPress plugins, as WordPress maintains a free repository on their SVN server for each plugin a developer submits. While I found it interesting, I didn’t really see the need to use version control for other projects…especially since that would require setting up a server or paying for someone else to host it.

After seeing the six thousandth post/comment/tweet raving about Git, another version control system, I decided to finally give it a closer look. The lightbulb finally clicked on. I now know what’s so special about Git.

Git, unlike, SVN is distributed. You can version your code entirely on your computer, only pushing to a server when you’re ready…if you’re using a remote server at all. When you commit changes, it’s still just updating the revision records on your local computer; you have to use a separate command to push the changes to the remote repository. This means if you’re working alone, without other contributors, you can version files without needing a special server hosting your code, although you lose the convenient off-site backup. This is great for small projects.

Then you have the Github service, with it’s magical socially-networked code repositories. Suppose you have an improvement upon an open source project hosted on Github. You just click a button to “fork” it, creating a new repository under your account with a copy of the original’s contents. You then pull the files down to create a working copy on your system, make your changes, and push them back to your Github repository. If the developers maintaining they original project like your changes, they can merge the changes in your repository back into the main one. That concept amazes me.

I think I’m starting to see why people rave about Git so much. I’ve been aware of it for awhile now, but the concepts didn’t quite “click” until recently.

Version Control With Dropbox

I’ve mentioned Dropbox before here, but I didn’t mention this neat trick you could do with it…

Anyone in the programming industry will recommend that you use version control software like SVN or Git to save yourself headaches when you make a mistake and need to roll back a file to a previous state. What if you used Dropbox for that? You get 2GB free, and files sync automatically without you having to do anything.

Dropbox has file versioning built in, actually. When you edit or delete files, Dropbox keeps prior versions in case you wish to restore them. With a couple of clicks you can overwrite the current version with an old.

Dropbox revisions

While that’s great for basic applications, you could take things a step further and store a SVN repository in your Dropbox (with a local SVN server powering it). It would work fine for a single user, but it wouldn’t work well with more than one committer.

Subversion Picked Up by the Apache Software Foundation

The popular version control software Subversion (or SVN) is moving to the Apache Software Foundation.

While Subversion is undergoing incubation at the ASF, CollabNet will continue to host the project at http://subversion.tigris.org. In addition, third party-certified binaries of the software configuration management system will continue to be available from CollabNet, as well as from other vendors, both during and after the incubation period.

This was brought to my attention by @ArtemR on Twitter. It’s interesting, and certainly important to the project. I think that it can only make things more efficient though. I highly doubt that the ASF is going to cause the sky to fall, or whatever it is everyone’s afraid of.

Version Control with Git

There’s an interesting tutorial up on Net.Tuts+ that caught my attention: Easy Version Control with Git.

Git seems like a powerful tool, and one I’d definitely like to look into in the future. It seems like it can do a bit more than SVN, as WhyGitIsBetterThanX.com happily points out, and may even be easier once you get used to it.

Git is a open-source code managemen tool; it was created by Linus Torvalds when he was building the Linux kernel. Because of those roots, it needed to be really fast; that it is, and easy to get the hang of as well. Git allows you to work on your code with the peace of mind that everything you do is reversible. It makes it easy to experiment with new ideas in a project and not worry about breaking anything.

Version control systems are great for anybody doing serious coding work, or design even. You could keep your blog’s theme in a repository, for example, so when you make changes to it you can roll them back if things break or you just want to revert back. You would be able to store the files remotely on a Git server, work on them locally (in your WAMP/MAMP server), and when you want to make you changes live you could just checkout the files to your production server.