Working with git and github

From Joomla! Documentation

Revision as of 08:56, 1 January 2014 by Partic (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! CMS?

Joomla is an award-winning content management system (CMS), which enables you to build Web sites and powerful online applications. Many aspects, including its ease-of-use and extensibility, have made Joomla the most popular Web site software available. Best of all, Joomla is an open source solution that is freely available to everyone.

Find out more about Joomla

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:

Getting Started

Setup a 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.

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.

Methods of Using Git

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

Using Eclipse

For updated information on working with Eclipse and Git, see Working with Git and Eclipse.

Working on Joomla! Code

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.

Creating patches

The most painless method seems to be the command line as described on the git home page as a quick start "Cloning and Creating a Patch"

$ git clone git://
$ cd joomla-cms
$ (edit files)
$ git add (files)
$ git commit -m 'Explain what I changed'
$ git format-patch origin/master

It seems also possible to create patches in eclipse eGit

You can also use git-diff to create patches, to create a diff with the latest commit

$ git diff --no-prefix ^HEAD

Beyond the Basics

Further steps

To be continued ...

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Trouble Shooting

If you get a message about unpacking try adding .git to the end of the remote repository url.