10. History

Goals

  • To learn to view the project’s history.

Getting a list of changes made is a function of the git log command.

Run:

git log

You will see …

Result:

$ git log
commit fa3c1411aa09441695a9e645d4371e8d749da1dc
Author: Marina Pushkova <marina (at) githowto.com>
Date:   Wed Mar 9 10:27:54 2011 -0500

    Added HTML header

commit 8c3228730ed03116815a5cc682e8105e7d981928
Author: Marina Pushkova <marina (at) githowto.com>
Date:   Wed Mar 9 10:27:54 2011 -0500

    Added standard HTML page tags

commit 43628f779cb333dd30d78186499f93638107f70b
Author: Marina Pushkova <marina (at) githowto.com>
Date:   Wed Mar 9 10:27:54 2011 -0500

    Added h1 tag

commit 911e8c91caeab8d30ad16d56746cbd6eef72dc4c
Author: Marina Pushkova <marina (at) githowto.com>
Date:   Wed Mar 9 10:27:54 2011 -0500

    First Commit

Here is a list of all the four commits to the repository, which we were able to make so far.

01 One line history

You fully control over what the log shows. I like the single line format:

Run:

git log --pretty=oneline

You will see …

Result:

$ git log --pretty=oneline
fa3c1411aa09441695a9e645d4371e8d749da1dc Added HTML header
8c3228730ed03116815a5cc682e8105e7d981928 Added standard HTML page tags
43628f779cb333dd30d78186499f93638107f70b Added h1 tag
911e8c91caeab8d30ad16d56746cbd6eef72dc4c First Commit

02 Controlling the display of entries

There are many options to choose which entreis appear in the log. Play around with the following parameters:

git log --pretty=oneline --max-count=2
git log --pretty=oneline --since='5 minutes ago'
git log --pretty=oneline --until='5 minutes ago'
git log --pretty=oneline --author=<your name>
git log --pretty=oneline --all

Details are provided in the git-log instruction.

03 Getting fancy

This is what I use to review the changes made within the last week. I will add --author=marina if I want to see only the changes made by me.

git log --all --pretty=format:"%h %cd %s (%an)" --since='7 days ago'

04 The ultimate format of the log

Over time, I found the following log format to be the most suitable.

Run:

git log --pretty=format:"%h %ad | %s%d [%an]" --graph --date=short

It looks like this:

Result:

$ git log --pretty=format:"%h %ad | %s%d [%an]" --graph --date=short
* fa3c141 2011-03-09 | Added HTML header (HEAD, master) [Marina Pushkova]
* 8c32287 2011-03-09 | Added standard HTML page tags [Marina Pushkova]
* 43628f7 2011-03-09 | Added h1 tag [Marina Pushkova]
* 911e8c9 2011-03-09 | First Commit [Marina Pushkova]

Let’s look at it in detail:

  • --pretty="..." defines the output format.
  • %h is the abbreviated hash of the commit
  • %d commit decorations (e.g. branch heads or tags)
  • %ad is the commit date
  • %s is the comment
  • %an is the name of the author
  • --graph tells git to display the commit tree in the form of an ASCII graph layout
  • --date=short keeps the date format short and nice

So, every time you want to see a log, you'll have to do a lot of typing. Fortunately, we will find out about the git aliases in the next lesson.

05 Other tools

Both gitx (for Mac) and gitk (for any platform) can help to explore log history.

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