path: root/Documentation/tutorial.txt
diff options
authorJ. Bruce Fields <>2007-05-18 04:51:42 (GMT)
committerJ. Bruce Fields <>2007-05-19 05:00:27 (GMT)
commit93f9cc675d6ca9d9170f72def005ecffd9590e9c (patch)
treeb0ed24310eb0f7cde1900ce1d23c7154381e541a /Documentation/tutorial.txt
parentcd50aba918c2d801602278db7b461a92a811b430 (diff)
tutorial: revise index introduction
The embarassing history of this tutorial is that I started it without really understanding the index well, so I avoided mentioning it. And we all got the idea that "index" was a word to avoid using around newbies, but it was reluctantly mentioned that *something* had to be said. The result is a little awkward: the discussion of the index never actually uses that word, and isn't well-integrated into the surrounding material. Let's just go ahead and use the word "index" from the very start, and try to demonstrate its use with a minimum of lecturing. Also, remove discussion of using git-commit with explicit filenames. We're already a bit slow here to get people to their first commit, and I'm not convinced this is really so important. Signed-off-by: "J. Bruce Fields" <>
Diffstat (limited to 'Documentation/tutorial.txt')
1 files changed, 45 insertions, 49 deletions
diff --git a/Documentation/tutorial.txt b/Documentation/tutorial.txt
index 8094172..f55d408 100644
--- a/Documentation/tutorial.txt
+++ b/Documentation/tutorial.txt
@@ -44,42 +44,67 @@ Initialized empty Git repository in .git/
You've now initialized the working directory--you may notice a new
-directory created, named ".git". Tell git that you want it to track
-every file under the current directory (note the '.') with:
+directory created, named ".git".
+Next, tell git to take a snapshot of the contents of all files under the
+current directory (note the '.'), with gitlink:git-add[1]:
$ git add .
+This snapshot is now stored in a temporary staging area which git calls
+the "index". You can permanently store the contents of the index in the
+repository with gitlink:git-commit[1]:
$ git commit
-will prompt you for a commit message, then record the current state
-of all the files to the repository.
+This will prompt you for a commit message. You've now stored the first
+version of your project in git.
Making changes
-Try modifying some files, then run
+Modify some files, then add their updated contents to the index:
-$ git diff
+$ git add file1 file2 file3
-to review your changes. When you're done, tell git that you
-want the updated contents of these files in the commit and then
-make a commit, like this:
+You are now ready to commit. You can see what is about to be committed
+using gitlink:git-diff[1] with the --cached option:
+$ git diff --cached
+(Without --cached, gitlink:git-diff[1] will show you any changes that
+you've made but not yet added to the index.) You can also get a brief
+summary of the situation with gitlink:git-status[1]:
+$ git status
+# On branch master
+# Changes to be committed:
+# (use "git reset HEAD <file>..." to unstage)
+# modified: file1
+# modified: file2
+# modified: file3
+If you need to make any further adjustments, do so now, and then add any
+newly modified content to the index. Finally, commit your changes with:
-$ git add file1 file2 file3
$ git commit
This will again prompt your for a message describing the change, and then
-record the new versions of the files you listed.
+record a new version of the project.
Alternatively, instead of running `git add` beforehand, you can use
@@ -87,7 +112,8 @@ Alternatively, instead of running `git add` beforehand, you can use
$ git commit -a
-which will automatically notice modified (but not new) files.
+which will automatically notice any modified (but not new) files, add
+them to the index, and commit, all in one step.
A note on commit messages: Though not required, it's a good idea to
begin the commit message with a single short (less than 50 character)
@@ -96,45 +122,15 @@ thorough description. Tools that turn commits into email, for
example, use the first line on the Subject: line and the rest of the
commit in the body.
Git tracks content not files
-With git you have to explicitly "add" all the changed _content_ you
-want to commit together. This can be done in a few different ways:
-1) By using 'git add <file_spec>...'
-This can be performed multiple times before a commit. Note that this
-is not only for adding new files. Even modified files must be
-added to the set of changes about to be committed. The "git status"
-command gives you a summary of what is included so far for the
-next commit. When done you should use the 'git commit' command to
-make it real.
-Note: don't forget to 'add' a file again if you modified it after the
-first 'add' and before 'commit'. Otherwise only the previous added
-state of that file will be committed. This is because git tracks
-content, so what you're really 'adding' to the commit is the *content*
-of the file in the state it is in when you 'add' it.
-2) By using 'git commit -a' directly
-This is a quick way to automatically 'add' the content from all files
-that were modified since the previous commit, and perform the actual
-commit without having to separately 'add' them beforehand. This will
-not add content from new files i.e. files that were never added before.
-Those files still have to be added explicitly before performing a
-But here's a twist. If you do 'git commit <file1> <file2> ...' then only
-the changes belonging to those explicitly specified files will be
-committed, entirely bypassing the current "added" changes. Those "added"
-changes will still remain available for a subsequent commit though.
-However, for normal usage you only have to remember 'git add' + 'git commit'
-and/or 'git commit -a'.
+Many revision control systems provide an "add" command that tells the
+system to start tracking changes to a new file. Git's "add" command
+does something simpler and more powerful: `git add` is used both for new
+and newly modified files, and in both cases it takes a snapshot of the
+given files and stages that content in the index, ready for inclusion in
+the next commit.
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