Git for Beginners

Psst, if you like video, scroll to the bottom for an awesome video intro series from Gabby, featuring onesies! 😺

Why Git?

We use Git because it is an amazing structured collaboration process that enables thousands of people to work on projects without central coordination. There is a learning curve but it is worth the effort.

Git is like a central collaboration trunk with a million services that work on top of it.

The first one we use is Github: it's a hosting service for Git repositories.

Gitbooks is another service we use: it turns all the files you see on into the nice browsable, searchable, portable package you can see at

Another Git-based service we use is Waffle, which is like a kanban board for Github issues.

Everything we're doing to improve Enspiral is tracked in public through the Improvements system which you can see at That's a Waffle board, automagically built from the issues list on

Git lingo: issues, repos, pull requests, and merging

Repo is short for repository: in Git, all the files for a project live in a repo.

A Github issue is a public discussion for work-in-progress.

So for instance, when I see something wrong with Loomio, I go to the Loomio repo on Github and say "I found a bug, this thing is broken!" Then we have a discussion about how to fix it. Sometime later someone can propose a fix, and reference the issue, so when the proposal is accepted, the issue gets closed.

In git lingo, the proposal is a pull request and it is accepted by merging in the changes.

Put your new Git skills to good use

Now that you have some Git skills, why don't you try proposing a change to this handbook, or suggesting a new issue on the Improvements board

If you have any questions that aren't answered by this guide, you can ask them by creating a new issue.

The amazing Github intro video series

Gabby made these excellent videos introducing Github for beginners. Some of the details are out of date but the bulk of the content is right on. And there are onesies!

What is Github and Why use it for org documentation?

Visiting the repo

Posting issues

Practice now:

And a place to practice your new Github skills:

If you can see room for improvement, please feel free to edit this page. Find out how.

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