Git is a Pain in the Ass

Everyone’s been talking about how great and wonderful git is, and I’ve tried using it for a few projects of my own, on a local basis, sort of like an advanced form of ‘rcs’. So I thought I’d try it out in a little bit more complicated setup, for a site I host on my web server. I want to have a main repository, that I “check out” (or ‘clone’, in git terms) on my laptop. My laptop can’t be the main repository, because I also want to be able to commit from the web server (once in a while a quick live update is called for), so I need a stable address. Ok, I’ll put it in my home directory on the web server, just to see how things work.

mkdir foobar
cd foobar
git init

Ok, so far so good. Now I try and clone it on my laptop, where I will then add files, commit, then push them.

Oops, that doesn’t work. You can’t clone an empty repository.

Ok, I add something on the server where I init’ed it, an empty file, just to give it some content. Now cloning it works on the laptop. Great, we’re in business! I add a bunch of files from the project to the laptop repository, commit, then push them. Seems to be ok so far… I do a checkout on the remote/server machine, and I see my files. Good. Ok, let’s try making a change on the laptop. I remove a file, commit it, push it (which is already an extra step compared to subversion… hrmph). I do a checkout on the server, but it won’t erase the file I removed on the laptop. Weird. I google around a bit, and find that this is supposed to be for my own good, so I won’t wreck things on the server. I need to do git reset --hard (which isn’t a very reassuringly named command) there, and then a checkout, and now things work.

That, however, is a lot of work just to commit and update stuff! I ask for some help on #git, where they mention the --bare option to init. Since I’m just messing around, I go back and redo the init step, wiping the old repository. Now I try and clone that to start over again. Oops, I forgot, I can’t clone it because it’s empty. Grrrrrr…. this is getting annoying.

So, the kind folks on #git tell me I should push to the new server repository from one that’s already populated. Ok, let’s try setting up the laptop:

git init
... add/commit some files ...
git remote add origin ...myurl...

Now let’s try pushing. Nope, still doesn’t do it, I’m missing something. Frustrating. A bit more fiddling and googling, and i find:

get push origin master

Aha! It worked! Weird. And now a simple git push works too. The whole thing seems kind of shaky in the sense that it’s not very confidence inspiring: I feel like it wouldn’t take much to make a wrong turn and find all my files gone forever. I can see some of the advantages, and will likely stick with it – git is quite convenient for local files that I might not have bothered putting under version control in the past, but it’s also a bit more “bureaucratic” in that you have more steps to do, and you have to fill in the forms just so… or else!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s