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Mastering Git: Using Diff-Tree and Show Commands to List Files in Commits

Git is a powerful tool used by programmers and developers to manage their codebase and collaborate with their team members. It allows them to keep track of changes made to the code over time and helps in debugging issues that arise.

However, mastering Git can be daunting, especially for beginners. In this article, we will discuss two commands of Git, namely `Git diff-tree` and `Git Show`, and provide an overview of their usage and purpose.

Viewing files in Git commits through command line

The first command we’ll discuss is `Git diff-tree`. This command allows us to compare the changes made to a file between two Git commits.

It is a plumbing command that is primarily for comparing the differences between past versions of files in the repository. To use the `Git diff-tree` command, we need to provide it with some input data.

The input data will be the two Git commit IDs that we want to compare. We can get these IDs by using the `Git log` command, which shows the history of all the commits made to the repository.

Once we have the two commit IDs, we can run the `Git diff-tree` command with the appropriate arguments. One of the most common uses of the `Git diff-tree` command is to compare file names between two commits.

We can do this by using the `–name-only` argument in the command. The output of this command will display the names of all files that have been changed between the two commits.

Another useful feature of the `Git diff-tree` command is that it allows us to compare sub-trees of the repository. We can do this by using the `-r` argument, which recursively compares all the files in the sub-tree.

Git Show command

The second command we’ll discuss is the `Git Show` command. Unlike `Git diff-tree`, this command is a porcelain command, which means that it is user-friendly and easy to understand.

The `Git Show` command provides a more user-friendly way of viewing the changes made to a file between two Git commits. It allows us to see the actual diff, i.e., the modifications made to the file, rather than just the names of the files that have been changed.

To use the `Git Show` command, we again need to provide it with the two Git commit IDs that we want to compare. Once we have the commit IDs, we can run the `Git Show` command with the appropriate arguments.

One of the advantages of the `Git Show` command is that it displays the changes between the commits in a way that is easy to read. We can see the details of each change, including the lines that have been added or removed from the file.

Conclusion

In this article, we have discussed two commands of Git, namely `Git diff-tree` and `Git Show`. We have provided an overview of their usage and purpose, and shown how they can be used to view the changes made to a file between two Git commits.

Understanding these commands is essential for any programmer or developer who uses Git, as they can help in debugging issues and tracking the progress of their codebase over time. Git is one of the most popular version control systems out there, helping developers manage their code repositories in a collaborative environment.

One of the crucial functionalities provided by Git is to enable developers to track changes to their repositories over time. This feature has led to the development of numerous commands that allow developers to compare, view and retrieve information from their repositories at specific points in time.

In this article, we will discuss two such commands, namely `git diff-tree` and `git show`, and how they can be used to list files in Git commits.

Using Git diff-tree command to list files in Git Commits

The `git diff-tree` command is considered the preferred method when it comes to listing files in Git commits. The command takes two inputs, and it compares the contents of the files, as well as the directory structures of two commits, to determine the differences between them.

Syntax and Arguments

To use the `git diff-tree` command, we need to provide the two commits hash values that we want to compare as arguments. One of the most commonly used arguments with this command is the `–name-status` argument.

This argument tells the command to list only the names of the files that changed between the two commits, along with their status. The status can be one of three values:

– `A`: This indicates that a file has been added to the repository.

– `M`: This indicates that a file has been modified. – `D`: This indicates that a file has been deleted from the repository.

Example

To list all the files that have changed between commits `a1da3` and `1aadf2`, use the following command:

“`

git diff-tree –name-status a1da3 1aadf2

“`

The output will be in the following format:

“`

A file1.txt

M file2.cpp

D file3.py

“`

Output Explanation

The output of the command has three lines, with each line representing a single file. The first column of each line represents the files status, while the second column represents the files name.

Using Git Show Command to List Files in Git Commits

The `git show` command is another command that can be used to list files in Git commits. However, compared to the `git diff-tree` command, this command is less preferred due to its output format.

Syntax and Arguments

To use the `git show` command, we need to provide the hash value of the commit we want to view along with an optional flag `–pretty=””`. This flag specifies how the output should be formatted.

The most commonly used value for this flag is `oneline`. We can also use the `–name-only` or the `–name-status` flag with this command.

The `–name-only` flag lists only the names of the files that were changed in the commit, while the `–name-status` flag lists the file names and their respective status.

Example

To list all the files that have changed in the commit `a1da3`, use the following command:

“`

git show –name-only a1da3

“`

The output will be in the following format:

“`

file1.txt

file2.cpp

file3.py

“`

Output Explanation

The output of the command has three lines, with each line representing a single file. The file names are listed in alphabetical order.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we have discussed two commands of Git `git diff-tree` and `git show` that allow developers to list files in Git commits. The `git diff-tree` command is the preferred option to use due to its output format, which includes the file status in addition to the file name.

The `git show` command, on the other hand, is less preferred, as it lists only the file names by default. By using one of these two commands, developers can gain insights into the changes made to their repositories over time, making code management easier and more efficient.

In this article, we have discussed two Git commands, namely `git diff-tree` and `git show`, which developers can use to list files in Git commits. While `git diff-tree` is the preferred option due to its output format, which includes the file status in addition to the file name, `git show` is also useful.

By employing these commands, developers can gain insights into the changes made to their repositories over time, making code management easier and more efficient. The takeaway from this article is that utilizing these Git commands can help developers track their code base effectively, which is essential for collaboration and debugging, ultimately enhancing the efficiency of code management.

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