3 Quick Git “Show-Me” Videos From Our IDE Family

Git is a fantastic and wildly popular version control system. Once you get beyond the basics, though, it can be a bit cryptic for civilians. Fortunately, this is an area where JetBrains IDEs can help, by putting a visual face on the underlying git commands.

Our colleagues in PhpStorm and IntelliJ recently tried a fun new approach at showing this. Since Git/GitHub support is largely shared across all of our IDEs, why not do a series of task-oriented, bite-sized screencasts featuring two IDEs tackling a certain Git workflow? And since version control, like so many of our features, is shared across IDEs…why not share their first 3 videos with our PyCharm folks?

How do I switch branches without losing my work?

You’re in the middle of heavy development. Your work is on a branch, which is the way the gods intended. However, you need to do something else — fix a bug on the master branch, review someone else’s work on a branch, etc. But you can’t switch off of your branch when you have uncommitted work.

Rather than do a “maybe this works” commit, you have several choices. This bite-sized video shows Trisha and Gary in a real-world scenario, letting their JetBrains IDEs (IntelliJ and PhpStorm) put a friendly face on the operations. And remember, PyCharm is the same for version control as the other JetBrains IDEs. Items covered:

  • On a branch, in the middle of huge unfinished work porting to Php 7, but need to investigate a bug on that branch
  • Use the IDE’s shelve feature to move changes out-of-the-way, instead of committing
  • This restores the branch to its head state with no changes
  • Later, “unshelve” to re-apply the changes, possibly to a new branch

I often find myself in this pattern. For example, I’m working on some feature. I get a bee in my bonnet and do some unrelated work, get myself into a bind, and need to…do something. With this, instead of committing, I can get the work off the branch and into a place where it belongs.

How to Keep a Git Fork up to Date?

Forking on GitHub is a wonderful facility, allowing people to modify code and even submit improvements back, without being added as a contributor to the main code base. But once you’ve forked, how do you stay up-to-date with the original?

Gary and Trisha cover this, again using PhpStorm and IntelliJ to show:

  • A local checkout with two remotes — the “upstream” original and the “origin” containing the personal fork
  • Use fetch to non-destructively get a listing of the upstream’s changes, then a pull to get those changes from upstream into the local checkout
  • Push those upstream changes into your fork i.e. the “origin” remote

How Do I Start Working with Open Source and GitHub?

Of course these two videos presume you already have a project checked out and ready to go. But how do you get started with open source? How do you get a project on GitHub into a fork and into your IDE?

For both IntelliJ and WebStorm, Trisha and Gary show this in action:

  • Find an interesting project and fork it into your personal GitHub organization
  • Copy the URL for that fork and use it to start a new project in your IDE
  • Track the original by adding the repository URL for the “upstream” remote


These three videos tackle specific workflows related to Git. If you find this approach interesting and have a suggestion for another video, put in a comment on the YouTube page for one of the videos. In fact, the third video was selected based on an earlier comment.

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