Version Control is a way to make and keep track of changes to files. I took a Lynda tutorial for one type of version control, Git. I learned how to add and commit files to the repository (where everything is stored). Git gives users many options of how to add or delete files, to have branches of different changes, rename files and branches, all of which the user can refer back to. Git allows a team working on a project to all make changes without constantly overwriting each other. Members of a team can look at each other’s work, and merge it together. Here are some of the things I learned to do with Git.
Keeping track of files in the head (the last version checked out):
Viewing the different versions in the log:
Switching between branches:
The biggest difficulty I encountered using Kevin Skoglund’s Lynda tutorial were the differences between Git on a Mac versus Git on a PC. For this tutorial I was using a Windows machine, and Skoglund was on a Mac. The first major difference I encountered was how to open a directory in Git. For Mac or Unix computers it was “ls -la” , but Skoglund very briefly glossed over the Windows command, which he said was “dir”. The sources I found online seemed to agree. Yet no matter what I did, or what combination of the commands git and dir I entered, nothing worked. After working through these chapters across three days I retried the Mac and Unix command, and it worked. So, I suspect that the most recent Git version has updated its Windows version so it shares the same commands and is now consistent across platforms. I would recommend for users learning how to use Git from Lynda, to first try the Windows options, and if those don’t work to then see if the Mac/Unix commands work instead. With all that in mind, there are definitely sections of the tutorial that can be removed now that Git has been updated, since what Skoglund taught users in August 2012.
Another difficulty or something that would be better resolved earlier was the command prompt. Skoglund shows users how to change this in chapter ten, but this would have been much more useful earlier in the tutorial. My command prompt was long, as a list of all the folders until “explore_california”, it took up the whole line. So, it would have been nice to customize it earlier, to either my name, or just the branch I was in like the tutorial shows, this way the screen would have been cleaner and not so cluttered.
All that being said, the tutorial was clear and easy to understand. Skoglund moves quickly, but that just means as a viewer following along, you might have to pause the video frequently. Skoglund effectively explained multiple ways to complete commands. Git must not only be told which files to track or ignore, but it is also very wary of deleting files and changes. In chapter ten, Skoglund explained that Git will make sure the user wants to delete a branch that has content in them that is different from the master branch, just as a reminder, to check and see if those files are still relevant. At that point the user can continue on and delete a branch, or not if it turns out to be important. Similarly, Git will not allow the user to switch branches if a file has not been committed, assuring that you don’t lose any changes by accident.
In the future I could definitely see myself using a version control. Git was relatively easy to learn, so imagine that other version controls should be similarly straight forward. Anatoly Paraev discussed many types of version controls in his article “The Ultimate Guide to Version Control for Designers” . I think I would benefit from a version control tailored to graphic design. I have named files silly things like “1.psd”, “final.psd”, or “actual-final.psd” and I believe I would benefit from a different form of filing and keeping track of changes.