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📓 Git Configurations

After installing Git, we recommend a few Git configurations that will make using Git on your own device similar to the experience you will have at Epicodus. These configurations are already set up on the Epicodus machines and will not need to be implemented when in class.

Make VS Code the Default Editor

Mac users: To make Git use the VS Code text editor to interact with you instead of vim (or whatever your system's default terminal editor may be) run the following command within any terminal:

$ git config --global core.editor "code --wait"

Windows users: You should've already set up VS Code to be the default editor when you installed Git Bash.

Make Main Branch the Default Branch

Note: You probably won't need to do this because GitHub now uses main instead of master. However, we provide these instructions here if your repositories are still defaulting to master.

In the past, the name of the default branch in GitHub was master. Master can mean many things — for instance, mastering a new skill is good! Or creating a master list for all the errands you need to run means you are staying organized.

However, in the past the term master in the tech industry has often been paired with the term slave, particularly when referring to when a device or process controls another device or process. This use of the term master in this context has a very negative connotation. For this reason, GitHub made a formal change so that the default is named main, not master. If you started your GitHub account recently (such as with the beginning of this course), main should be the name of your default branch. However, if it isn't, you can change it with the following command.

$ git config --global init.defaultBranch main

Note that some of the example repositories you will be working with at Epicodus still have a master branch. This is because these repositories will all need to be rebuilt from scratch using a main branch so the commit history doesn't include a master branch. This is a lot of work! It will be a while before all the sample repositories we use will be updated. If you are working from an Epicodus repository that has a master branch, you can change the default branch to main with the following command:

$ git branch -m master main

Then, when you push the code to your own repository, you'll be able to do something like $ git push origin main.

Configure Color Output

Setting this global configuration will color code Git information in the terminal for easier reading:

$ git config --global color.ui true

Configure Global Author Settings

We can set up a global configuration for our git user name and email. You should only do this on your personal machine.

$ git config --global "Padma Patil"
$ git config --global ""

This sets the name and email for every save that is made in any directory anywhere on the device. If you are setting this on your personal device, you will only have to set this once for it to be set on every project.

Configure Local Author Settings

Note that you can override the global setting for a single repository by removing the global flag:

$ git "Jasmine Hart"
$ git ""

If Padma's credentials were set up globally and Jasmine's were set up in an individual hello-world project, when commits are added to the hello-world project, Jasmine's configuration would be used. Padma's would still be used for all projects not in the hello-world directory.

Ignore files

Once a Git repository is created in your project directory, Git will track every file and folder there, even the ones you may not want included in your project! For example, operating systems often add files without input from you. For example, Macs create hidden files in most directories called .DS_Store. Windows directories often contain files called Thumbs.db.

To ignore these files in all of your Git repositories, you can create an "ignore file" in your home directory with the global tag to indicate this is for every Git repository that is created anywhere on the device.

Here are the steps:

1. Navigate to your home directory:

$ cd ~

2. Create an empty, new file in your home directory called .gitignore_global:

$ touch .gitignore_global

3. Open your new file in VS Code (or you can use an editor in the terminal like Nano or Vim, if you prefer):

$ code .gitignore_global

4. Within the file you've just opened in VS Code, or a Terminal text editor (like Nano or Vim), add rules for the files and file types you want ignored by creating a list. Each kind of file should reside on a new line. (See example below)

At this point, you may not know what files you'd want to ignore globally. That's fine. To get started, copy and paste the list below into your .gitignore_global file (from GitHub's list). This will ensure that pesky files generated by your operating system will not fill up your project folders:

# OS generated files #

As you gain experience with the kinds of files you don't want cluttering your Git repository, you can return to your .gitignore file and add others.

5. Tell Git to use this file as a rule for all of the coding projects you set up on this computer:

$ git config --global core.excludesfile ~/.gitignore_global

One last thing: note that all file names that begin with a . are hidden, so files like .gitignore and .gitignore_global won't be visible either in the GUI (graphical user interface) or with the ls command. Instead, you'll need to use the all flag like this ls -a in order to see these hidden files.