Configuring git for the first time


Hey, do you have a new development laptop and do you need to configure git? I always need to run the same commands, but I do it so rarely that I always forget how to do it properly.

This article is a guide for my Future Me. You are welcome, Future Carlos!

Set my name and email #

This is the minimum you need to get started with git. Go ahead and execute it with your information:

git config --global "My Name"
git config --global ""

Enable autocorrect typos #

Did you know git can automatically correct your misspelled commands for you? By enabling this feature with:

git config --global help.autocorrect 10 # time to delay, unit is 1/10th of a second

you will receive a suggestion with a correction that will automatically execute after 1 second, unless you hit Ctrl + C —for example running git sttus will print:

WARNING: You called a Git command named 'sttus', which does not exist.
Continuing in 1.0 seconds, assuming that you meant 'status'.

Use nano as the default editor #

Someday I will learn how to use vim (without rebooting my laptop because I didn't know how to close it). In the meantime I will use nano instead:

git config --global core.editor "nano"

Use Visual Studio Code for squashing #

So there is one disadvantage of using nano as the default editor: when running git rebase -i it can be pretty time-consuming to squash several commits, as I don't know how to replace multiple words yet.

I prefer to use vscode with the GitLens extension; it can be setup with:

git config --global sequence.editor "code --wait"

which will open a convenient rebase interactive tab when needed, like the one of the next screenshot:

Screenshot of GitLen's interactive rebase editor

Use a global .gitignore file (optional) #

I only had to use this feature once: when I was using a particular tool that generates files to be ignored, but because I was the only coworker using the tool I was not supposed to modify the committed .gitignore file 😒🤷🏽‍♂️🤨.

I am sure this technique may be useful in other situations as well; to use it, run:

git config --global core.excludesfile "~/.gitignore"

And create ~/.gitignore with your favorite editor.

Conclusion #

Hopefully you learned or rediscovered some cool things you can do with git 😄


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