There are reasons why Git has become so popular, but the first encounter with it can a bit overwhelming. Even if you kind of learn how to do basic things, it’s not uncommon to feel like we’re only scratching the surface. The typical reaction when something slightly less typical is needed often sounds like: “There be dragons!”
Here comes “Version Control with Git” by Jon Loeliger and Matthew McCullough.
It starts with a good explanation of the basic concepts of Git. It explains all the building blocks of Git and internal organization of repository. It slowly introduces the basic commands and every time explains very well how a change is reflected in the repository or what a command is really operating on.
The distribution, collaboration, merging etc. are introduced fairly late, but somehow by that time the reader will have understood the core so much that everything just falls into place and is immediately understandable. Finally, it also shows some more arcane features and commands that probably are rarely used, but knowing that they are there and having the book handy for when the time comes doesn’t hurt.
Last but not the least, it explains common usage patterns as well as things that can be done outside the typical path, with appropriate warnings about possible negative impact.
This book is a must-read for all Git users. It’s usable on all levels, from absolute newbie to someone who feels fairly proficient with Git. I’ve been using Git daily for quite a while, and it really helped me understand what is going on. Everything is very accessible, with plenty of examples as small and practical as possible, as well as some images.