Git inside: Direct work with Git objects (bonus)


  • Explore the structure of the database objects.
  • Using SHA1 hashes for searching the content in repository.

Let us examine Git objects with some tools.

01 Searching for the last commit


git log --max-count=1

This command should find the last commit in the repository. SHA1 hash is probably different on our systems; however, you should see something like this.


$ git log --max-count=1
* 8029c07 2011-03-09 | Added index.html. (HEAD, main) [Alexander Shvets]

02 Display of the last commit

With the SHA1 hash of a commit, as above...


git cat-file -t <hash>
git cat-file -p <hash>

I see this...


$ git cat-file -t 8029c07
$ git cat-file -p 8029c07
tree 096b74c56bfc6b40e754fc0725b8c70b2038b91e
parent 567948ac55daa723807c0c16e34c76797efbcbed
author Alexander Shvets <> 1299684476 -0500
committer Alexander Shvets <> 1299684476 -0500

Added index.html.

This displays the commit object, which is in the head of main branch.

03 Tree search

We can display the tree referenced in the commit. This should be a file description (top level) in our project (for a specific commit). Use the SHA1 hash of the tree string from the list above.


git cat-file -p <treehash>

Here is my tree...


$ git cat-file -p 096b74c
100644 blob 28e0e9d6ea7e25f35ec64a43f569b550e8386f90	index.html
040000 tree e46f374f5b36c6f02fb3e9e922b79044f754d795	lib

I can see the index.html file and lib folder.

04 Display lib directory


git cat-file -p <libhash>


$ git cat-file -p e46f374
100644 blob c45f26b6fdc7db6ba779fc4c385d9d24fc12cf72	hello.html

There is a hello.html file.

05 Display hello.html file


git cat-file -p <hellohash>


$ git cat-file -p c45f26b
<!-- Author: Alexander Shvets ( -->
    <h1>Hello, World!</h1>

And there it is. Tree objects, commit objects and blob objects are displayed directly from the Git repository. That's all there is - trees, blobs and commits.

06 Explore by yourself

The Git repository can be explored manually. Try to manually find the original hello.html file from the initial commit with help of SHA1 hash references in the last commit.