Interactive Visualization with Git

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Git: Interactive Visualization


Students learn from an interactive visual git simulator / game. This activity cover both local (on your laptop) and remote (internet-based code repository) Git functionality.


Intro to GitHub (Activity) and Work Locally with Git from the Command Line (Activity) or an introductory understanding of what SCM is about, and basic git commands.

Learning Objectives After successfully completing this activity, the learner should be able to:
  • Create and checkout a branch.
  • Create and checkout a tag.
  • Merge a branch into another.
  • Rebase a branch onto another.
  • Cherry-pick commits.
  • Use relative commit references to refer to commits.
  • Move branches to a different commit.
  • Detach and move around HEAD.
  • Explain the difference between a branch, a tag, and HEAD.
  • Clone a remote repository.
  • Fetch changes from a remote repository.
  • Merge changes from a remote repository.
  • Rebase changes from a remote repository.
  • Describe the difference between _rebase_ and _merge_.
  • Push changes into a remote repository.
  • Describe the relationship between `git fetch`, `git merge`, and `git pull`
  • Describe the relationship between `git fetch` and `git push`.
  • Delete a remote branch.
  • Push changes into a remote repository after remote history has diverged.
Process Skills Practiced


Is there background reading material?

What is the rational for this activity?

  • Getting familiar with git from the command line is not easy. This activity makes it a game!



ACM Body of Knowledge
Area & Unit(s)

SE - Software Engineering / SE Tools and Environments

ACM Topic(s)

Software configuration management and version control

Level of Difficulty

Medium, as the advanced commands become more difficult to follow.

Estimated Completion Time

2-4 hrs

Environment / Materials
  • Access to Internet/Web and web browser
  • Github account (or any online Git hosting)

Stoney Jackson, Nick Yeates



The MIT License (MIT) Copyright (c) 2012 Peter Cottle

Suggestions to Open Source Mentors

Suggestions for an open source community member who is working in conjunction with the instructor.

  • Mentors might show what websites and resources (Stackoverflow, IRC, etc) they often utilize when they are stuck or something unexpected happens upon committing or branching.
    • What troubleshooting steps do they use in their head?
    • Do they chat or talk to fellow project-members or work colleagues?
Personal tools
Learning Resources
HFOSS Projects