Understanding GIT: Meaning, Definition and Purpose

GIT, which stands for Global Information Tracker, is a powerful and widely-used version control system commonly used for software development and other collaborative projects. The full form of GIT is just the beginning of understanding the powerful capabilities of this tool. GIT allows multiple developers to work on a project simultaneously while ensuring that their changes do not interfere with one another. It keeps track of all the changes made to the project and allows developers to revert to previous versions if necessary. 

In this article, we will discuss the definition, meaning and purpose of GIT, as well as its importance and how it works.

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Definition and Meaning

The GIT full form is “Global Information Tracker,” which is a little misleading because GIT is primarily used as a version control system rather than a global information tracker. However, the name is derived from the system’s ability to track changes to files, not just locally but globally, across a network. GIT works by keeping a record of all the changes made to a project and it allows multiple developers to work on the same project at the same time without interfering with one another. This allows for easy collaboration, especially for large, complex projects.

How GIT Works

GIT operates based on a decentralized model, meaning there is no centralized location for the “master” version of the project. Instead, each developer’s copy of the project is considered to be the “master” copy and changes can be pulled and pushed between different copies.

When a developer wants to make a change, they first create a new “branch” off of the current version of the project. This allows them to make changes without affecting the main version of the project. Once they finish making changes, they can “commit” their changes to the branch. This creates a new version of the project that includes their changes.

If other developers want to include these changes in their copies of the project, they can “pull” the changes from the branch. This merges the changes into their copies of the project.

If conflicts arise, GIT allows developers to easily “merge” the conflicting changes and resolve any issues. Once the conflicts are resolved, the updated version of the project can be “pushed” to the other developer’s copies.

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Purpose and Importance of GIT

The following reasons show why GIT is an important tool. 

  • Version Control: GIT allows developers to track the changes made to a project, which makes it easy to revert to previous versions if necessary.
  • Collaboration: GIT facilitates collaboration among developers by allowing multiple people to work on a project simultaneously without interfering with one another.
  • Branching: GIT allows developers to create branches of a project, so they can make changes without affecting the main version of the project.
  • Merging: GIT facilitates the merging of changes made by different developers and helps to resolve conflicts.
  • Revert: GIT makes it easy to revert to previous versions of a project, which can be helpful if something goes wrong.
  • Easier Back-up: GIT tracks all the changes made to a project, making it easy to create backups and restore previous versions.
  • Open-Source: GIT is open-source software, so it is free to use and developers can modify the source code to suit their needs.
  • Security: GIT uses encryption to secure data transfer and storage, which helps keep sensitive information safe.
  • Speed: GIT is a fast and efficient system which allows developers to work quickly and seamlessly on projects.
  • Auditing: GIT allows for easy tracking and auditing of who made what changes and when, which is helpful for accountability and transparency within teams and projects.

Disadvantages of Using GIT

Despite being useful, GIT does not come without its own set of drawbacks. Some of the major disadvantages of GIT include

  • Steep learning curve: GIT can be difficult for developers new to version control systems to learn. The command line interface can be intimidating and developers must understand many concepts and commands to use GIT effectively.
  • Storage and performance issues: GIT is not optimized for handling large binary files and storing large files in a GIT repository can cause performance issues. Additionally, if a repository contains too many files or a large number of commits, it can become slow and difficult to work with.
  • Merging conflicts: GIT does a good job of tracking and merging changes made by different developers, but it can sometimes be challenging to resolve conflicts when multiple developers have changed the same files. This can be time-consuming and frustrating.
  • Requires network access: GIT operates on a distributed model, meaning that developers need network access to pull and push changes to remote repositories. This can be an issue for developers working in environments with limited or unreliable network connectivity.
  • Lack of central authority: GIT is a distributed version control system, meaning there is no central point of control. In some cases, this can lead to confusion about which version of the code is the “official” version and who is responsible for maintaining it.

It is worth noting that most of these disadvantages can be mitigated with proper configuration and usage. For example, Git LFS can be used to handle large binary files and with a better understanding of the GIT commands and workflows, the steep learning curve can be overcome.

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FAQs on GIT Full Form

The following are important Frequently Asked Questions related to GIT. 

What is the difference between GIT and GitHub?

GIT is a version control system that allows developers to track changes to a project and collaborate with other developers. GitHub is a web-based platform that uses GIT as the underlying version control system. In addition to GIT’s functionality, GitHub provides additional features such as issue tracking, project management and a web interface for code review and collaboration.

How does GIT handle conflicts?

When multiple developers work on a project and try to merge changes that conflict with each other, GIT will highlight the conflicting changes and require the developers to resolve the conflicts manually. This can be done by editing the conflicting files and committing the changes or by using GIT’s built-in merging tools. It is also possible to use a merge tool like kdiff3 or p4merge, which will show the difference and allow users to resolve the conflicts.

Can GIT be used for binary files?

Yes, GIT can be used to track and version binary files such as images and videos. However, it is important to note that GIT is not optimized for handling large binary files and it can cause performance issues if your repository contains too many large files. In this case, using Git LFS (Large File Storage) extension can improve the handling of large files.

Can I use GIT without an internet connection?

GIT is designed to work offline as well as online. You can make commits, create branches and perform other GIT operations while offline. Once you regain an internet connection, you can push your changes to a remote repository or pull changes from other developers.

Can I use GIT for non-coding projects?

Yes, GIT can be used for any type of project that involves tracking and managing changes to files, regardless of whether they are code-related or not. GIT is commonly used for projects such as documentation, artwork and research data.

In conclusion, the GIT full form is “Global Information Tracker,” a powerful version control system widely used for software development and other collaborative projects. GIT allows multiple developers to work on a project simultaneously while ensuring that their changes do not interfere with one another. It keeps track of all the changes made to the project and allows developers to revert to previous versions if necessary. With GIT, developers can work efficiently and effectively, making it an essential tool for any software development project.

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