Pittsburgh Java User Group: Get Going with Git on Java Projects

Tonight the Pittsburgh Java User Group (PittJUG) had another meeting at the Pittsburgh Technology Council. Matthew McCullough of GitHub gave a talk “Get Going with Git on Java Projects”.

I arrived early and couldn’t help admiring the view outside before entering the building as there was still daylight. Here are the Birmingham Bridge and the Monongahela River:

View of Birmingham Bridge from Pittsburgh Technology Council

View across Monongahela River from Pittsburgh Technology Council

I had a good time tonight.

Social time

PittJUG meetings are advertised as starting at 5:30 PM, although the talk starts at 6:00. These days I always try to get there by 5:30 in order to get a good seat, settle in, and eat pizza and socialize, and that’s what I did today.

The talk

Matthew McCullough of GitHub speaking on Git at PittJUG

Matthew McCullough gave an energetic and clear presentation on some fundamentals of Git. There were good questions from the audience throughout, and he answered them well.

The title of the talk was, I suppose, inaccurate, because there was not much that was Java-specific. It was more of a general introduction to Git. He is going to be doing GitHub’s Git Foundations Workshop tomorrow, covering much more of Git and details of Java environments. I am not attending this workshop, but based on his introductory presentation today, I’m sure it will be great.

I’m not sure how to summarize his talk, since I came to it already having spent quite a bit of time learning and understanding Git from various sources, including working through many tutorials, reading excellent Web references and other books, and actually using it on a daily basis for some time now.

My learning style

I am definitely not yet an “expert” at Git (I have done some interactive rebasing, but nothing more complicated than that), so I felt it would be very useful to get an integrated personal view of what is important about Git and why, and Matthew was great at telling a story with his own words and emphases and personal anecdotes, such as moving Groovy over from Subversion to Git. I did end up taking quite a few notes even though I already “knew” most of what he talked about, because I liked various tips or analogies that he made. I find it highly valuable to get different narratives whenever deepening my understanding of something; in school and outside of school, I have always read multiple books in parallel, finding myself some book other than the “official” one, in order to broaden my perspective and as a robustness/redundancy measure, in case (as always happens), one source is flawed or confusing in some section.


I enjoyed this PittJUG meeting and am motivated to continue to improve my understanding and use of Git. Actually, at work I am about to transition a legacy Subversion repository to Git. I expect we will get a lot of benefits from this transition, and I will report on the results after I effect the transition and observe how everyone operates under the new system.

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