Git version control is a popular for many development teams today. But to use it, you need to know the Git best practices.

Do you use native Git? Do you use a code hosting tool, such as Helix TeamHub, GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket? Do you have files outside of source code you need to version, such as binaries? Can Git handle them? What happens when your team grows — will Git scale?

Consider this your guide to Git best practices.

Read along or jump to the section that interests you most:

How Git SCM Works

Git SCM was developed by Linus Torvalds. It launched in 2005. Anyone can use Git for free, because it’s open source.

All you have to do is:

  1. Download (or update) and install it on your operating system.
  2. Use git config to configure it for your environment.
  3. Get a Git repository (by turning a local directory into a repository or cloning one).
  4. Add a file.
  5. Create a commit.
  6. Create a new branch.

Git is great because developers know it. And because it’s open source, most developers have used it. (Especially if they’re fresh out of school.) And many enterprise teams take advantage of Git projects, particularly for using open source code in proprietary software.

However, there can be some challenges with using native Git.

If you’re using Git SCM, consider:

Git Best Practices For Teams

There are many Git best practices that will help your team operate smoothly. Here are of the best practices you need for your teams:

  1. Commit early and often.
  2. Test before you commit.
  3. Write good messages.
  4. Use branches.
  5. Choose an effective workflow.

But when it comes to specific Git best practices, here are two of the most important.

Use Git Commands

One of the most important things to do when using Git is to get familiar with basic commands. Using Git commands helps you improve performance and work more efficiently.

Just getting started? Get a Git cheat sheet for basic commands.

Want to go more in-depth? Explore specific Git commands:

Manage Git at Scale

If you’re managing a team that’s working in Git, there are other best practices you should consider.

In particular, it’s important to figure out how to scale Git — especially if you’re working on enterprise team. It’s also important to consider security and how you’ll lock down Git. (This is especially critical if you’re using native Git.)

Go deeper and learn how to:

Git vs. Other Options

Git isn’t the only version control option. There are plenty of reasons to use Git. But there are also good reasons to use other tools — especially if you have complex development challenges.

You might want to consider another solution if you have hardware and software teams who need to collaborate and reuse code and files. Or it could be the case if you’re working at a large scale, with 1,000s of developers and 100s of petabytes of data.

Or you might be using a legacy version control and considering a move to Git.

Either way, compare Git to your other options:

When You Need Tools For Git

Git on its own is rarely enough. You’ll need to add tools for Git to make it work for your team.

Consider tools for managing:

There are a range of of Git solutions. Some are free, but they often only solve one problem (like Git LFS). Others are more comprehensive tools that can host Git and make your workflows run more smoothly (like Helix TeamHub). These tools add functionality for your Git developers.

But what if you have a Git project you need to bring into the pipeline alongside binary files and digital assets? Then it’s time to look for a next-level Git tool — like Helix4Git from Perforce.

Apply Git Best Practices With Perforce

Perforce Git solutions include Helix4Git and Helix TeamHub. Both add Git functionality with Helix Core — and help you apply Git best practices.

Helix4Git is a high-performance Git server inside a Perforce server. Helix TeamHub can host Git repositories and facilitate Git code reviews. Contact us to learn more and get started.

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