Understanding the Git Workflow

The git workflow is made up of three main areas: the working directory, staging area (index), and repository. We will also discuss the purpose and flow of changes through these areas, as well as differentiate between modified, staged, and committed files.

The Working Directory

The working directory, also known as the working tree, is the place where you make modifications to your project files. It represents the current state of your project and contains all the files and directories that make up your codebase. When you make changes to a file in the working directory, Git recognises it as a modified file.

For example, let's say you have a file named "script.py" in your working directory. You can open this file in your favorite text editor or IDE and make changes to the code.

The Staging Area (Index)

The staging area, also referred to as the index, acts as a middle ground between the working directory and the repository. It is a place where you can selectively choose which changes you want to include in the next commit. Think of the staging area as a snapshot of your project at a specific point in time.

To add changes to the staging area, you need to use the git add command. This command allows you to specify the files or directories that you want to stage for the next commit. Once you add a file to the staging area, it becomes a staged file.

For example, let's assume you modified the "script.py" file in the working directory. To stage this change, you would run the following command:

git add script.py

The Repository

The repository, also known as the Git repository or simply repo, is where Git permanently stores your project's history. It contains all the committed versions of your files and directories, along with the associated metadata. The repository is typically stored in a hidden directory named .git at the root of your project.

When you are satisfied with the changes in the staging area and want to record them as a new version, you need to create a commit. A commit represents a logical unit of change and serves as a checkpoint in your project's history. It captures the state of the staging area at the time of the commit and includes a commit message that describes the changes.

To commit the staged changes, you can use the git commit command followed by a commit message. For example:

git commit -m "Add script.py"

Once the commit is created, the changes are stored in the repository, and the staging area becomes empty again. The committed files are now considered committed files, which means they are part of the project history.

Modified, Staged, and Committed Files

It's important to understand the differences between modified, staged, and committed files in the Git workflow:

  1. Modified files: These are the files that have been changed in the working directory but haven't been staged or committed yet. They represent the current state of your project's files.

  2. Staged files: These are the files that have been added to the staging area using the git add command. Staged files are ready to be included in the next commit and represent the changes you intend to commit.

  3. Committed files: These are the files that have been included in a commit using the git commit command. Committed files are part of your project's history and are stored in the repository.

It's worth noting that you can modify multiple files simultaneously, stage specific changes from different files, and commit multiple changes as a single unit. Git provides flexibility in managing your project's changes.

File changes flow through these areas, from modifying files in the working directory to staging them in the index and finally committing them to the repository

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