Windows people like to do everything on their computers using GUI tools and WYSIWYG editors. And nothing is wrong with that. Personally, I like this approach – it conserves time while giving fast access to the most used options of a given tool (at least usually). Consider the SVN version control system. Initially, it was a console-based tool, but thanks to the great TortoiseSVN project, people may now forget about the command line. However, working with Git is different. Git was designed to be used from the command line, and using it in that way is a pure pleasure! Git commands are well crafted and easy to remember. If you are holding out on Git because it doesn’t give you the right GUI tools, you are holding out for a wrong reason.
Git comes with a bash like prompt which is very powerful. However, there is one problem. The bash prompt is launched within the standard Windows command line, and as probably anyone knows, the command prompt on Windows is one, big misery. So in this post I’m going to address this issue by showing how to set up a convenient command line environment for Git on Windows.
Git can easily be installed on Windows. Head over to http://code.google.com/p/msysgit/ and download Git-126.96.36.199-preview20100309.exe which is the latest version of Git as of this writing. When the installer asks about [Adjusting the PATH environment], select [Run Git from the Windows Command Prompt] as shown on the following screen.
Selecting this option allows to use Git from different shells, like PowerShell. Now that Git is installed, we can open a command line and verify it’s there.
We can also right click any folder in the Windows Explorer and select Git Bash Here – this will launch Git’s default bash shell.
Now it’s time to get rid of the ugly prompts shown above. Head over to the http://sourceforge.net/projects/console/ and download the latest version of the Console project. Launch it, and go to Edit->Settings, select Console from the tree on the left and pick up a new shell – the PoweShell. Under Windows 7/2008, it is located at %Windows_Dir%\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe. On previous versions of Windows, I believe it must be downloaded separately. Click OK and close the Console. Now launch it again, but this time with Administrator privileges, and issue the following command: [Set-ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted]. This command will allow running custom PowerShell scripts, which is needed for Git integration. Now you have a working PowerShell within nice, tabbed environment. We’re almost there!
It’s time to enable PowerShell-Git integration. To do that, download Posh-Git latest sources available at http://github.com/dahlbyk/posh-git and unpack them to %Sys_Drive%:\Users\%Login%\Documents\WindowsPowerShell. Change profile.example.ps1 to profile.ps1. Hurray! You have enabled Git integration! What does it give? When you are inside Git repository, the command prompt changes to show on which branch you are, and whether there are any modifications, and if there are any untracked files (via exclamation mark). To enable output coloring, issue the [git config –global color.ui auto] command.
Enjoy your cool, command line interface for Git!