Exploring Unix, Git, and Github | Day 1

Following the relaxed morning in which the introductions and icebreakers were conducted, we moved on to the first lecture of our program on Unix, Git, and Github. Thankfully, I went through the Treehouse material on the command line, so the first part was more or less review for me. I had already covered the essential elements and understood concepts like piping; nonetheless, one interesting metaphor that emerged was that of the “atomic” structure of Unix. Each of the individual commands can be thought of as atoms (please, for the sake of the metaphor, ignore subatomic particles) and when you pipe then together, you create molecules. Simplistic and straightforward building blocks, when combined together, can create structures of enormous complexity.

As we progressed forward, Git was the next topic of discussion, although it was intermeshed actively with Github. Essentially, Git can be thought of as version control for a specific project and Github is an online platform that enables collaborative work on a given project. In other words, if Git is your Word document, Github is a Google Docs that you and your friends are working on. Git was simple enough to install and play around with. However, when I was following the lecture on my computer, I faced a barrier with regard to the SSH key that I forgot to set-up and hence was not actively engaged during the part where we were discussing the merger of branches – I need to follow-up on that. Despite that setback my coding neighbor, Ben, was helpful in getting me back on track.

When the lecture was completed, there were two assignments to work through, the first being individual work and the second being group work.  For the individual work, we engaged in actively creating and moving files around through terminal commands (woe upon the windows users who had to set up a virtual machine first) and committing changes regarding nested file structures to Github. The collaborative work was much more amusing where, using Github, groups of six sequentially wrote a story together. Of course the purpose was to get used to cloning repositories and pushing changes back to the original, but there’s nothing like adding randomness to a story (English major ftw). Did anyone hear about the Confederate Alliance of Household Gnomes? What? I intended them to get decimated by our protagonist’s rocket launcher but apparently it backfired and they danced around his dead body. Sadly, I guess you can’t win all the time – but, you can have a dancing troupe of victorious gnomes and that’s something to reflect upon and thereafter attain an instantaneous moment of enlightenment regarding the meaning of life.

Overall, it was a fantastic day – I don’t recall ever being this motivated for my university courses. I can see the commute from Brampton to Toronto being a constant drag throughout the course but at least it’s motivating me to get out of bed earlier. Looking forward to the days ahead – let’s see if I can maintain an active blogging schedule.

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