5. Creating a Syllabus File
The next step is to initialize the project folder that we want Git to track. Even though we configured Git for our computer, Git doesn’t start tracking every single file on our computer. That would turn into a headache quickly. We only want Git to track changes for files within specific folders/projects.
When we initialize a folder, we are telling Git to pay attention to it. This only needs to happen once because what is actually happening through this process is Git is adding a hidden subfolder within your folder that houses the internal data structure required for version control. After initialization, Git is ready to track the files within the folder. The folder is now considered a Git repository. First, use
cd, navigate to the
git-practice folder (inside
projects). From your home directory, you can do all of them in one command by typing the following into your terminal:
$ cd Desktop/projects/git-practice
Next we’re going to initialize our repository using the
git init command, which should generate the following output:
$ git init Initialized empty Git repository in /home/<your-username>/projects/git/.git/
Now Git is tracking our directory. However, it has not done any versioning yet. This is because 1) we haven’t told Git to take a snapshot yet, and 2) there are no files in the folder to take a snapshot of. For now, Git knows this folder exists and is prepared to take a snapshot of the files when you tell it to. Before version control is useful, we’ll have to create a text file for Git to track. For this session, the file we will track will be a course syllabus—we’ll create that next.
Creating a Syllabus file
To create a plain text file, we’re going to switch to our text editor, Visual Studio Code, to create and edit a file named
syllabus.md and save it to our
git-practice folder. The
.md extension indicates that it is a Markdown file, which is a special file format we will dive into in the next section.
If you have not installed Visual Studio Code, review the installation instructions here. In terminal, check to make sure you are in your
git-practice folder. (Hint: use
pwd to see what directory you are currently in.)
Next, open the
syllabus.md file in Visual Studio Code using:
$ code syllabus.md
You should see a window appear that looks similar to this:
If Visual Studio Code does not open when you use the
code command in your terminal, open it using the Start Menu on Windows or Spotlight Search on macOS as you would any other software. Then click
File > Open File and use the dialog to navigate to the
/Users/<your-name>/Desktop/projects/git folder and create a
syllabus.md file there.
We’ll be typing our markdown into this file in the Visual Studio Code window. At any time, you can save your file by hitting control + s on Windows or ⌘ + s on macOS. Alternatively, you can click the
File menu on the top right, then select
Save from the dropdown menu.
Saving frequently is advised. When we get to the version contol functionality of Git, only changes that are saved will be preserved when a version is created.