Git from the Bottom Up

John Wiegley recently wrote a great article about git called Git from the Bottom Up (pdf). I found it to be very helpful in clarifying how git works and that understanding makes git feel more accessible.

Understanding commits is the key to grokking Git. You’ll know you have reached the Zen plateau of branching wisdom when your mind contains only commit topologies, leaving behind the confusion of branches, tags, local and remote repositories, etc.

Even after reading his pdf it took me two days for this idea to sink in. I finally had my “ah-ha!-moment” after I poked around in the .git/refs folder for a while.

Git Pieces

Git Pieces: Taken from John Wiegley’s article, “Git from the Bottom Up”

I think I resisted learning the git internals for a while because I didn’t want to understand it I just wanted to use it. The problem was I wanted to use it like svn and git requires a mental paradigm shift. After reading John’s article I’ve come to realize once again that there are no shortcuts to progress and often the quickest way to learn is to first take the time to understand.

I’d highly recommend that anyone that still working on “grokking git” should take the 30 minutes required to read John’s article.

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  • Adam Avilla

    Great. Thanks for posting that. I would really like to start using git more and little articles like this are helpful.

  • Peter Kehl

    The above links don’t work anymore. The PDF is at currently at

    - Peter Kehl