Git Recipe Explained

Git is a complex tool, so most novices try to cheat their way through with arcane recipes.

As it’s always better to understand what you’re doing instead of a google-and-paste approach, let’s analyze a pretty common one. Use it to describe your network automation lab.

git init

Git tracks changes you make in a distributed, eventually consistent database implemented with many small files in the .git directory. git init initializes that database within the .git subdirectory of the current directory. Use it in an empty directory you plan to use for your project.

git remote add origin

Git can synchronize the local database with multiple remote databases (repositories). Remote repositories are added with the git remote add command that takes at least two arguments:

  • The nickname of the remote repository;
  • The URI to access the remote repository.


The remote repository must exist before you run the git remote add command. For example, you must create a GitHub repository first, then do git remote add in an empty folder where you executed git init.


  • The URI git uses to access a remote repository can use non-HTTP(S) methods, such as SSH.
  • All recipes call the remote repository origin (the default value), but you can give it any descriptive name, for example git remote add github url.
git branch -M main

In the old days, the initial Git branch was called the master branch. The Politically Correct movement forced numerous Git-based platforms to change the name of the initial branch to main. While I don’t care how that branch is called, the git CLI tool does not necessarily share that sentiment, leaving you with an inconsistent branch naming scheme.

If you need to rename the local branch, use the git branch -M new_name command. For example, the above command accommodates a remote Git platform that insists on naming its most initial branch main.

echo "# netops-labs" >>  # or windows equivalent

They wanted to say make the changes you want to make, but that would be too obvious.

git add some_file.text    # or 'git add .' for all

git add adds a snapshot of the specified files to the staging area (prepares them for commit). If needed, remove the files from the staging area (git status will tell you how) or replace them with newer versions with another git add command without modifying git repositories.


To see which files have been modified (or haven’t been added to the git database yet), use the git status command.

git commit -m 'a comment'

git commit saves (commits) the changes from the staging area to the local repository. You can specify the commit message in the –m parameter or use a text editor to write a longer message.

git push -u origin main

git push synchronizes the changes made in the local repository with a remote repository. Git keeps a mapping between local branches and remote branches so that you can use git push with no extra parameters to push changes to the remote repository. However, when you push changes for the first time, you have to specify the remote repository (origin) and remote branch (main), and tell Git that you want to create a new local-to-remote mapping with the -u or --set-upstream parameter.