Working with git and github

From Joomla! Documentation

Revision as of 20:36, 19 May 2011 by Elin (Talk | contribs)

This document will provide a brief overview of working with the Joomla Platform repository on for people who are interested in making code contributions and using eclipse as an IDE. Much will also apply for people who just want to follow development, but that is much simpler.

Some preliminary information.


What is Git?

Git is distributed version control software. Such software (another example is Mercurial while subversion and CVS are non distributed version control systems) allow many people to contribute code to a single project and also allow for well defined tracking of code changes and provide mechanisms for recording commit by commit records of changes.

What is Github?

Github is a host for git repositories. It is located at

What is the Joomla! Platform?

The Joomla! Platform also known as the Joomla! Framework is the set of libraries that are used to build the Joomla! CMS and other applications.

The platform is managed separately from the CMS and has its own release cycle; each release of the CMS uses one specific version of the platform.

The platform repository is located at:

First steps: Github account

First, you will need to register at git hub.

Once registered, you will probably want to go to and click follow. Then whenever you log in you will see the latest things that have happened in the repository.

If you are going to code, you will also want to click on fork. This will give you your own copy of the platform to work with. You'll probably want to follow that too.

Second steps: Install git

Now you will want to install git on your local workstation. Github provides excellent instructions on how to do this that will detect your operating system. Simply click on the Set Up Git button.

You will need to set up SSH. As it says on the Github instructions " Setting them up is fairly easy, but does involve a number of steps." Some will be specific to your operating system, so follow the instructions at github.

You will also need to tell Git your user name and password so that it can connect to your repositories on github.

Third steps

Command Line

If you like using the command line, git by itself provides commands to create a local copy of your fork at github. There are a number of tutorials and reference sites for git including:

Github itself has many documents about how to use git on its help site


Git can also be used with Eclipse, a popular integrated development environment (IDE).

Setting up Eclipse to work with git and github involves a number of steps.

Important references are: and

First, you will need to install eGit and Mylyn. Mylyn is probably not really necessary but it will let you access other features of github. Note that Mylyn has dependencies and you will need to install them first (see the user's guide).

To install eGit from eclipse, go to Help>Eclipse Marketplace. Search for git and click install.

Follow the instructions to fill in your github account information to identify yourself, defaults and other settings.

Once installed, if you click File>Import you should see Git listed as an option and projects from Git as a sub option.

Note the following owes a lot to a number of sites including

One important thing to note before starting is that we will be working with the fork you made in Step 1 (If you didn't make a fork then, do it now). Thus we will not be making a new repository. When reading help materials make sure not to follow instructions to create a new remote repository.

Your fork on github will have a set of three links (ssh, http, git read-only) . You will need the http link.

Click File>Import. Choose Projects from Git, click next. On the next screen, click Clone and add your http link. The other fields except your password will autofill. (If you haven't st up your username previously you will need this too).

Click Next, select master (that is all you will have if this is your first time). Set a directory. Click finish and the files from git will be cloned which means they will be downloaded to your folder.

Next Eclipse will want to create a project. Do not do it!! Instead, in a way that works for your operating system create a hidden file called .project.

In the file put:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

But change joomla-platform to the name of your folder.

Now your folder should appear on the list of projects. Select it and finish.

You should now have a git local repository.

Getting to Work

Once you have your repository you are ready to start working on code. Whenever you have some code that you are happy with, you should commit it locally. Note that unless you commit, your local changes will not enter into version control. To commit, you click Team>commit.

To be continued ...