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Git Essential Training

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A comprehensive, hands-on exploration of the essential aspects of the distributed version control system, Git. I have been cautiously using Git for a couple years now, nervously punching in commands and tensing with each merge; after taking this training, I now feel that I have a strong, foundational understanding of the version control system. I push, pull, and branch with confidence.

As with many Lynda.com reviews, this training begins with an introduction of concepts, including distributed version control and changesets. Also as with many Lynda.com reviews, however, this introduction to concepts and definitions is followed by a painfully slow introduction to software installation, including how to access the Git website and download the installer. The pace of this section is especially incongruous with the later, more advanced sections, where the pace is accelerated and these more rudimentary operations are left unexplained.

This training is best watched as a complete series: in other words, the individual tutorials would be less valuable viewed out of sequence. This is because each video builds on the past video, developing intricate examples with specific branch structures and version control histories that are used to explain concepts in later examples. Furthermore, the viewer should complete the exercises along with the video; this is the only way to truly absorb Git's abstract concepts.

The trainer expertly provides a layered understanding of Git's fundamentals: the basic Git workflow is introduced, then hash values, then the HEAD pointer, then branching, and so on. Remotes are introduced towards the end, which is refreshing as other, less successful, Git tutorials I have tried in the past attempt to bring in this concept at the very beginning, before the viewer has a real understanding of branches and repositories.

Since the trainer is using a Mac, there are a few instances where he uses Mac-specific software, which can be confusing if you are trying to follow along closely. TextMate is used to quickly edit multiple files, for example, and shortcuts specific to the Mac command prompt are used throughout the entire series. Furthermore, the speed of the videos picks up significantly as the topics become more complex; I paused these sections several times to catch up. During these sections, the trainer's pace implies that you are not supposed to follow along; instead, you should simply listen and understand the concepts. But, as stated above, following along is invaluable as each video builds upon specific details from previous videos.

Overall, this series was invaluable for me. The uneven pacing and Mac-specific segments hamper the experience somewhat, but I felt I ended the series with a strong, foundational knowledge of Git.