Saturday, January 29, 2011

Can't Git enough

Couple of weeks ago I attended the January offering of GitHub's online Git class taught by Matthew McCullough. I had been using Git for a little over a month and was starting to plateau off. I grokked the basics (at least so I thought) and stayed within the lines. The timing of the course was perfect for me. It helped solidify some concepts, explain the git idiom and presented several aha! moments. It was the kind of course that leaves you energized and exhausted at the same time. Energized because you learned something that you could apply immediately (like during the lunch break :-) and exhausted because you were facing a fire-hose of information for 7 hours!

The course material was well organized starting with just enough background information used to set the stage. Demonstrating Git's pedigree (been around for over 10 years) in the SCM space lent credence to those not impressed with its slavish following in the industry. The material was in resonance with what Matthew was saying -- amplifying his point where necessary, enumerating steps, screenshots where appropriate and links for additional information. Another sign of his thoroughness was demonstrating setup in all major platforms and not leaving the student high and dry having to connect the dots. Over the course of 7 hours (Six 50-min sessions with an hour for break) the class covered everything from setup to 3-stage thinking, branching, remote repos, with just the right amount of peek under-the-hood to explain how Git works.

The format of the course was as hands-on as you wanted it to be. The attendees were provided instructions in advance of the class on setting up their local environment. During the course Matthew helped us connect to the GitHub repository he was referencing. This allowed as to follow along with the steps he was doing as he was doing it! If that wasn't your style you could just watch and listen. It was very stimulating and engaging -- especially when several of us were simultaneously pushing our changes to the same remote repository!!


Matthew McCullough did a first rate job of the online class. It was conducted over WebEx and went over without any major hitch. I was impressed with how Matthew kept up with several stimuli vying for his attention. He addressed the questions being posed over WebEx, emails sent to him andeven tweets all the while staying on course! I wonder if he did a git clone matthew before the class! He answered questions and addressed issues seamlessly as if it were part of the course material.

Matthew belongs to a rare breed that is at the locus of knowledge of the subject, desire to teach and thoroughness of preparation. He set the bar very high at other fora at which I have watched him teach. This Git class did not disappoint. He did his homework and came prepared to teach. From attending several software symposia I can tell you that this is a rare trait. Presenters tend to lean heavily on the content. Yes, content is King. However one should know how to deliver it. Think: Otherwise I could just read the book. Matthew's passion not just for Git but for teaching shone through even at hour-7 of the class!

If you are new to Git you could not do any better than having Matthew as your teacher.

4 comments:

Erik Weibust said...

I was in the class too and echo your praise for the class, Matthew, and Git.

Erik

Matthew McCullough said...

It was my pleasure to have you in the class Sri. It is a great reward to hear an attendee derive a lot of value from the time invested.

Daniel said...

Was the class general enough for someone using running their own git server, and not using github?

Sri Sankaran said...

@Daniel: The reliance on github was as clone source and as the remote for subsequent push operations.

You can apply the concepts introduced in the class with any pair of remote and local repositories.

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