Why learn Git from the Command line?

There are two ways to learn Git:

  • From the command line (CLI: Command line interface), or
  • From a visual tool (GUI: Graphic user interface)

Most people prefer to first learn Git using a visual tool. And when I first started using Git, I also thought the same thing. But there's a fundamental problem: servers don't use GUI's (Graphical user interfaces; aka. visual programs).

Server run entirely on the command line. So if you learn Git using a visual tool before learning the command line, you're actually limiting yourself. You'll be able to use Git and GitHub with a GUI, but you won't be able to deploy code on your server. And as a developer, the end goal is to always get your program up on the web. But if you only know how to use a GUI, you're now stuck...

The other downside to learning a GUI over the command line is you won't fully understand how things are working. Beyond not being able to deploy or debug code on a remote server, you also won't know the methods (and sometimes consequences) of your actions until you see it from the command line.

Everybody I've met that's become proficient with Git (and GitHub/GitLab/Bit Bucket, etc) has agreed with me: learn the command line first!

Once you've learned how to use Git from the command line, then definitely feel free to use a visual program. Visual programs are nice, and fast, and.. well... visual!

But if you learn Git using a GUI first and then try to learn Git using the CLI, you're going to run into a lot of problems and it'll only make learning Git even harder for you. Whereas learning Git on the command line first and then using a simple graphical program afterwards will be a lot easier to learn in less time.

Related tutorials

Get notified about new Wagtail content.