25 Jul 2008

The Launch of git-scm.com

I love Git. However, a lot of people have the idea that Git is hard to learn, which I really disagree with. I have been working with Git for a few years now, but I understand it vastly better than I ever understood SVN or CVS, which I worked with for many, many years. Why? Because it's cheap and easy to try things out, the model is ultimately very simple and understandable, and it's really pretty hard to really screw things up - Git almost never removes information. So, I found it easier to play with features and find what is really helpful to me, rather than being scared of costing myself more time than it's worth.
I assume that the main reason people think Git is difficult is because they've heard other people say Git is difficult and they didn't have a good teacher or learning resource, so when they fall back to their instinct - what SVN would have done or something - nothing works as expected and they get confused. Then they auto-complete for 'git-' and get 150 commands. How are they supposed to know that only about 20 of those are really going to be useful to them most of the time?
So, I'm trying to build some resources that will help newcomers love Git from day one. Really try to focus on the usability of the main site, make it easy to find reference or tutorial documentation, and eventually I'd like to build a really nice online book that answers learners questions when they need to know them and guides them through the learning process as naturally and easily as possible. I honestly don't think that Git needs to be made easier somehow, I think the learning process does. The current docs are wonderful for many of us that are more technical, but often it's easier to learn with screencasts and diagrams.
However, first I wanted to fix git.or.cz. I have always pointed to it as the git homepage, and Petr is awesome - he's always kept it up to date and is a core contributor himself. However, as a landing page for a project, it is very overwhelming. There are nearly 1200 words on that page - almost all of them at the same font size. It is very difficult to skim, and pretty difficult to figure out what Git really does in a second or two.
So, I've forked the source of that site (because awesome Petr made it open source) and created a new site, which is now being hosted at git-scm.com. I've broken the page up into 5 topic pages and drastically simplified everything I could. Hopefully it is easier to navigate and find what you're looking for. The version number should be updated automatically, and I've setup a mirror of the Git source code at GitHub that I will eventually be doing some fun automated statistics with. The source code for the website is at GitHub, if you have an idea or contribution to make, feel free to fork the site and send me a patch.
Now that is done, I'll work on the spiffy new documentation project, which will likely be another branch in that same repo. I'll do another post when there is enough to share, at which point I would be happy to have all the contributor help I can get.
By the way, in case you're wondering, the logo at the top is a Git. He's a BLOB that is COMMITed to storing TREEs. Little Git humor, there...
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