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Git: What it is, why we use it and how it differs to Github.

For any developers reading, this will be a fairly straight forward question to answer and, thus, presumably will also be well versed in the commands used to operate Git. But for most its a bit of a grey area or a jargon filled, mine field of technical expressions and assumed prior knowledge. So I’ll try and abstract away from the stats and more about the origin and motive of how its come about and why its pretty important stuff.

WHAT: Git is a piece of source code management software, or technically, a software configuration management tool (SCM). Github is like a staging server, that uses git to send code to and from its servers to individual developers that want to contribute to a project or component or plugin (softwares).

WHY: Source code is the code used to build websites, softwares and programs and needs to be managed like many other things. Many of these are complex, time consuming and require numerous contributors, each with their own specialist knowledge. With all this precision and careful efforts, there needs to be a secure and stable system so no work is lost, overwritten or damaged by others contributing. These systems were already existing but they were slow, verbose and unscalable for larger projects.

BACKSTORY: With several SCM’s being built in the past, Linus Torvalds (creator of Git and Linux) saw the errors in these previous builds and deliberately attempted to avoid conventional approaches to solve these issues, leading to a unique design. (I’ll attempt to briefly in the next few paragraphs). This is the SCM that has massively superceded them all and he smashed the performance targets he set out to improve. This was the core reason why Git was built, to improve speed and security for code based projects. This is potentially why its difficult to explain what Git actually is because of its conceptual nature. So one has to acquaint with what it does.

HOW: Git tracks and records paths of workflows between repositories (i.e folder with a project in it to another folder with a project in it). A hidden folder within this project folder can be created via the terminal to start all the monitoring and tracking Git does so well (UI’s can be used as well). It tracks the progress each time the work is pushed to the staging or production servers that host the project. These are often publicly accessible and allow other developers to either view or pull back down from that server to their machine to work on the same project. This pushing and pulling (at its most basic) is essentially a collection of contributors working as sum of individual effort and then sending their latest updates back up to the server.

THE REAL POINT OF IT IS: With Git in charge of the source code distribution, it takes care of (nearly all) human errors and stores revisions of changes by creating tags attached to all push and pulls (theres a lot more here but I’m trying to keep it brief). It essentially takes snapshots of your project each time the encrypted communication between server and computer happens (push and pulls) and its stored in that hidden git folder for later possible analysis or modifictions. This prevents overwriting each other, easily create different versions or features without worry of loosing, fragmenting or damaging previous work. Carefree collaborative code conduct.

THE BEST THING IS: Providing you’ve retrieved the latest updates, every machine/person working on it all has the latest version, anywhere at anytime, with all the previous amends, tags, metadata, differences, revisions, features and files. So even if the production (live) server lost everything, there’s at least one other machine that has all the latest files that can be readily pushed back upto the server. This differs to previous centralized version control systems, and was less robust especially so in this scenerio. And on top of that, it weighs hardly anything when looking at the extensive retention of associated data it stores for each individual project.

SO TO ROUND UP WHY WE USE IT: It’s quick, secure, extensible, scalable, cheap on CPU resource, extremely organised and its free. It’s just a tad fiddly to learn at first. To me that seems like a reasonable trade off for the benefits of this tool, as with anything in life that you put more into. Without digging further (not the aim of this article) its difficult to really see its concepts visually as to why its so useful in alot of tech related projects today. More reading can be found at the official site and this is a relatively readable place to start: http://git-scm.com/about/branching-and-merging.

medium

2 Mins

The Quiet Life: Why Medium offers a contemplative alternative to the myriad of online publishing platformsI’ve always been a fan of design that’s simple. Design that concentrates on the essential aspects and ignores superfluous non-essential elements to communicate an idea or function. “Good design is as little as possible,” as Dieter Rams famously put it. A couple of years ago ‘flat design’, a web design approach that focuses more on […]

3 Mins

Originality in Design: Lessons from the Leaning Tower of PisaA few weeks ago we received an unprompted comment that some of our work was “a bit anonymous”. How intriguing! After investigation our generous, proactive commenter went on to display some archetypal errors in design philosophy, that I have been guilty of myself. Shortly afterwards I visited the leaning tower of Pisa and it struck […]

2 Mins

In the Net: This week fonts, a historical identity, passport design and hovering islandsThis week we travel across the pond to bring you Thomas Heatherwicks incredible plans for a floating island in New York City and the identity for the World Trade Centre. Whilst back in europe we find Norway’s beautiful passport designs and Sweden’s very own national typeface aptly named ‘Sweden Sans’. Enjoy.  Thomas Heatherwick’s hovering island […]

2 Mins

In the Net: Typofun this week! Type Genius, Aerial Bold, Google and a clever new font for dyslexics.This weeks In the Net is a full of typographic goodness. It includes a beautifully designed printed takeaway by Manual Creative, web tools to help you find the best type combinations and a new typeface designed to help dyslexics read faster. Enjoy.   Google Material design Google recently rolled out a new visual language across […]

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In the Net: Videos galore! Featuring Okay Go’s epic new video, an IKEA halloween and the 2014 John Lewis Christmas AdWhat a week! It’s lively in the studio here, and I bet it has been for you too. During all the hubbub, here’s what we caught from the noise on the world wide web this week. Okay Go — I Won’t Let You Down Well and truly getting away from the small-scale, but intricate affairs […]

In the net

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In the Net: This week Hoverboards, FKA Twigs X Google Glass and a library-based love storyThis week In the Net a charming new music video from film producers CANADA, the worlds first Hoverboard on Kickstarter and FKA Twigs directs and stars in a new concept film for Google Glass. CANADA music video for Verkeren The super cool Barcelona-based filmmakers and producers do it again with this library-based love story for Spanish […]

canvas conference

3 Mins

Canvas Conference 2014: The stories behind the brandsThis years Canvas Conference promised to deliver “the stories behind the worlds most interesting digital products and services” and it delivered healthily. Full of insights into the workings and design ethos behind the likes of BBC iPlayer, AirBnB, Google Maps and Spotify; here’s a short round-up of what we took away from the whole day. […]

2 Mins

In the Net: This week Kano, Urthecast and the brilliant new Hiscox AdThis week we take a look at the lego-like simplicity of the new children’s computer Kano, a thought-provoking website about the effects of Altzeimer’s and the making of the new Hiscox ad featuring famous faces. Kano Hearing their talk at this weeks Canvas conference made converts of us all. This easy-to-use and beautifully designed hardware […]

mike bennett

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We welcome in Mike Bennett as non-executive directorWe’re thrilled to be able to announce that we’ve appointed Mike Bennett, entrepreneur and co founder of the hugely successful digital agency e3, as non-executive director. We’re over the moon to have Mike join our team. He has demonstrated countless times that he has the knowledge and track record of successfully growing creative businesses. Having access […]

find your own way

3 Mins

So you’ve left university, now it’s time to find your own waySo you’re ready to start your career in design, congratulations and welcome. Welcome to the real world of art and design. Unfortunately the euphoria of realising you’re never going to experience another hand-in date again will be rather short lived. Becoming a graduate is best served with a great big slice of reality pie, and that’s normally […]

2 Mins

New-look site: How our new website design reflects our design principlesWe love to invite people into what we’re doing here at Fiasco Design and, since we recently undertook a big redesign of our own site, we thought we should explain a little about why we did it and what it’s all for. It’s probably best to start with our design principles. Our experiences over the […]

3 Mins

The Airbnb redesign: It’s time we looked at logos differentlyWhat more can possibly be said about the Airbnb redesign? In my view, the heart of the matter has still not been dealt with. Lets back up a bit. Two weeks ago a fiasco erupted in response to the latest brand update for the global apartment rental service Airbnb, designed by London based agency DesignStudio. […]

4 Mins

Better together: How to make the most out of collaborating with othersCollaboration is a key part of any design studio or creative project whether it be designers working with developers or working alongside clients to achieve the objectives of a project. But collaboration doesn’t have to be just the combination of individual skill sets. In my experience some of the most interesting ideas have arisen when […]

4 Mins

Between the sheets: Falling back in love with the printed wordI’ve always loved magazines. Since I was young enough to remember, spending money on magazines has been a bit of a hobby of mine and over the years I’ve built up a huge collection of varied titles, most of which are boxed up and are unlikely ever to see the light of day again. It’s their tangible […]

net awards 2014

2 Mins

Net Awards 2014: New Agency of the Year nominationMy oh my, how time flies. It’s been a month since we attended the 2014 Net Awards at London’s Grand Connaught Rooms. We were shortlisted from a list of twenty digital agencies from across the world in the New Agency of the Year category. We were up against some stiff competition with Australian creative studio […]

3 Mins

A Note to My Former Self, Aged 21  I am currently taking part in the West of England Design Forum (WEDF) Design Buddy scheme which is a unique mentoring opportunity set up to help third year graphic design students studying at Bath Spa University. It is a brilliant way to not only inspire the next generation of designers, but to also share with […]

ereader

3 Mins

The Tipping Point: Why tablets could make e-readers a thing of the pastWhen was the first time you read something long on a digital screen? Well, most likely it was an article or an essay that started as cursory research and you became engrossed. But what if we say something really long. Like a thesis, or a novel? I would bet that you haven’t done it at […]

2 Mins

The Importance of a Good RoutineTo have a routine means you must be organised, and being organised, simply means you get things done. Without realising we all fall into a routine whether it’s having breakfast at your desk every morning or making sure you always walk the same way to work. But these routines that might feel a little mundane […]