24 Git Interview Questions For Developers

Git is a very popular version control tool in the software community. Almost every fortune 500+ organizations use Git. This contains basic to expert level Git interview questions that an interviewer definitely asks. These questionnaires will help to prepare for a job interview in a short time.

Often, these questions and concepts are used in everyday programming. But these are most helpful when an Interviewer is trying to test your deep knowledge of Git version control.

Basics: Every Developer Should Know

Original author (Developer) Linus Torvalds
Released on 7 April 2005
Stable release 2.23.0 / 16 August 2019
Languages used in C, Shell, Perl, Tcl, Python
Operating system Windows, Linux, macOS
Type Version control

Git is a Distributed Version Control System (DVCS) as well as it is a Source Code Management System (SCMS) which is used as a track that changes the file also allows to revert back to any particular change.

Git uses ” C “ programming language which ensures that the overhead of runtimes associated with high-level languages that reduced and make it fast. Also, it is open-source software distributed under the terms of the GNU ( General Public License ).


Q1. Classify the version control system and its types?


Answer.
Version Control System is the process management system that maintains the change records in the file or set of files over a period of time. And every change is maintained as a version. It is also called Revision control systems.

Features of VCS are:

  • The version control system includes the tag system which helps to differentiate between alpha, beta, or various release versions for different documents.
  • Up to date history is available for the document and file types.
  • It doesn’t require any other repository system and it can be cloned as per the need and availability.

There are 3 types of the version control system are:

  • Local Version Control System

It maintains the track of files within the local system and its approaches is very basic and mild. This type is also error-prone which means that the chances of accidentally writing to the wrong file is high.

  • Centralized Version Control Systems

In CVCS, all the changes in the files are tracked under the centralized server. It includes all the information of versioned files and a list of clients that check out files from that central place.

  • Distributed Version Control System

This approach comes into the picture to overcome the drawback of the centralized version control system. The clients were able to completely clone the repository including its full history. If any server is not working properly the client repositories can be copied on to the server which helps to restore the files.


Q2. What are the advantages of using Git?


Answer. Advantages of using Git:

  • Free and open-source
  • Fast and small
  • Secure
  • Implicit backup
  • Easier branching
  • No need for powerful hardware

Q3. Name a few Git repository hosting services.


Answer. There are three main popular Git repository services-

  1. GitLab
  2. GitHub
  3. Bitbucket

Q4. What is the Git life cycle?


Answer.
The files in the Git project have various stages like creation, Modification, Refactoring, and Deletion and so on. Irrespective of whether this project is tracked by Git or not, these phases are still prevalent. However, when a project is under Git version control system, they are present in three major Git states in addition to these basic ones. Here are the three Git states:

  • Working directory 
  • Staging area 
  • Git directory 

These stages are the essence of Git. You get great flexibility in tracking the files due to these stages that files can reside in under Git. 

Working Directory

  • It considers a project residing in your local system, this project may or may not be tracked by Git. In this case, the project directory is called as your working directory.
  • Let’s assume that this directory is now tracked by Git. That is we’ve created a Git repository in this existing project directory, a hidden .git folder is initialized therein. In this state, Git is just aware of the files in the project. It won’t track the files yet. To track the files, you’ve to commit these files by first adding the files to the staging area.

This brings you to the next state in Git life-cycle.

Staging Area

  • While you’re in the working directory, you select the files that have to be tracked by Git. Why do you need this? Why don’t you track everything in the project? That’s because some files in the project like class files, log files, result files and temporary data files are dynamically generated. 
  • It doesn’t make sense to track the versions of these files. Whereas the source code files, data files, configuration files, and other project artifacts contain the business logic of the application. These files are to be tracked by Git are thus needs to be added to the staging area.

In other words, the staging area is the playground where you group, add and organize the files to be committed to Git for tracking their versions. 

  • It’s important to make a quick note of the term called indexing here. Indexing is the process of adding files to the staging area. In other words, index constitutes of files added to the staging area. This term will be explained again in the coming tutorial on Git terminologies. 

Git Directory

  • Now that the files to be committed are grouped and ready in the staging area, you can commit these files. So, you commit the group of files along with a commit message explaining what is the about. Apart from the commit message, this step also records the author and time of the commit.
  • Now, a snapshot of the files in the commit is recorded by Git. The information related to this commit (names of files committed, date and time of commit, author of commit, commit message) is stored in the Git directory. 

Thus, the Git directory is the database where metadata about project files’ history will be tracked. 

Q5. What do you understand by Git protocol?


Answer. Git protocol is a mechanism for transferring data in Git. But Git protocol does not support any authentication. So on plus side, this is a very fast network transfer protocol. But it lacks authentication.

Git can communicate using four protocols-

  1. Local,
  2. HTTP,
  3. Secure Shell, and
  4. Git.
  • Local protocol uses when the remote repository is on the same disk but in a different directory and is generally used in cases where users share a common filesystem. The file-based repositories are easy to set up but not the easiest to set up when you want users to be able to work remotely.
  • Secure Shell (SSH) is an authenticated protocol which comes with the advantage of being easy to set up, efficient read and write. It is easy to set up, and the connection is secure as the data transfer is encrypted.
  • HyperText Transfer Protocol(HTTP)/ HyperText Transfer Protocol Secured (HTTPS) is probably the simplest protocols to set up. It is also not resource-intensive for the server. Once the repository is placed under a web server, all the users who can access the server have access to the repository. However, there will be a considerable amount of network overhead, and cloning might take longer.
  • Git protocol is available with Git and is one of the fastest protocols. However, it lacks robust authentication features and is generally suitable to offer read-only access to public projects. It is not uncommon to pair it with SSH for specific users who need to write access. It listens on a dedicated port 9418 which provides services similar to the SSH protocol

Q6. What is “git commit -a”?


Answer.
“git commit -a” is used to write a commit message in Git. The -a is to instruct the git to commit the new content of all tracked files that have been modified.

If any new file needs to be committed for the first time, “git add<file>” is used before git commit.

Q7. Define conflict in git? How you can solve a conflict in git?


Answer. A conflict in Git arises when the commit that needs to be merged in one file, and also the current commit has changed in the same place in that file. And in this case, It is not able to predict which change should take precedence.

For solving any conflict in Git, we need to edit the files for fixing the conflicting changes and then we need to run git add command to add the resolved files.

After that git commit command that needs to be run to commit the repaired merge.

Q8. What are the advantages of git over SVN?


Answer.
The differences between Git and SVN are:

Git SVN
Git is a decentralized version control tool.SVN is a centralized version control tool.
The entire repository can be cloned
on the local system.
Version history is stored on a server-side
repository.
Commits are possible even if offline. Only online commits are allowed.
The work is shared automatically on commit.The work is not shared automatically.
Push/Pull operations are faster in Git Operations are slow.

Q9. Why a developer need branching in git? How to create a new branch in git?


Answer. Branching is used to create a new own branch till some commits and then can easily switch between those branches. Git allows the developers to have multiple local branches that can be entirely independent of each other. This will definitely help the developers to go to their previous work keeping the recent work intact.

Use the following command to create a new branch in GIT:
$/> git checkout –b <branchname>

Q10. Difference between “git merge” and git rebase”? And when do you use git rebase instead of git merge?


Answer. Rebasing and merging are the two most popular ways of applying changes from one branch into another one. They both give similar results at the end but work differently.

In Git, the rebase command integrates changes from one branch into another. As well as it is an alternative to the better-known merge command. Most visibly rebase differs from merge by rewriting the commit’s history, in order to produce a straight, linear succession of commits.

Merging is the way of putting forked history back again. The Git merge command to let the developers take the independent lines of development created by the Git branch and integrate them into a single branch.

With rebase you say to use another branch as the new base for your work.

when to use git rebase instead of git merge:

  1. If you have any doubt, use Git merge.
  2. The choice for Git rebase or merge based on what you want your history to look like.

Q11. Suppose you have to remove a file from git without removing it from your file system. How can you do it?


Answer. Syntax:

git reset filename          # or
 echo filename >> .gitingore # add it to .gitignore to avoid re-adding it

Q12. Explain the git-flow workflow?


Answer.
Gitflow workflow employs two parallel long-running branches to record the history of the project, master and develop:

  • Hotfix

    Maintenance or “hotfix” branches are used to quickly patch production releases. Hotfix branches are a lot like release branches and feature branches except they’re based on master instead of developing.
  • Master

    It is always ready to be released on LIVE, with everything fully tested and approved (production-ready).
  • Develop

    It is the branch to which all feature branches are merged and where all tests are performed. Only when everything’s been thoroughly checked and fixed it can be merged to the master.
  • Feature

    Each new feature should reside in its own branch, which can be pushed to the develop branch as their parent one.

Q13. What do you mean by git fork? Explain the advantage of forking workflow.


Answer.
fork is a remote, server-side copy of a repository, distinct from the original. A fork isn’t a Git concept really, it’s more a political/social idea.

The main advantage of the Forking Workflow is that contributions can be integrated without the need for everybody to push to a single central repository that leads to clean project history. Developers push to their own server-side repositories, and only the project maintainer can push to the official repository.

Q14. What is the difference between git fetch and git pull?


Answer.
The difference between git fetch and git pull.

Git FetchGit Pull
git fetch really only downloads new data from a remote repository – but it doesn’t integrate any of this new data into your working files.

Fetch is great for getting a fresh view of all the
things that happened in a remote repository.

Use command:
$ git fetch origin
git pull, in contrast, is used with a different goal in mind: to update your current HEAD branch with the latest changes from the remote server.

This means that pull not only downloads new data; it also directly integrates it into your current working copy files.

Use command:
$ git pull origin master

Q15. What is git stash? Is it possible to create multiple stashes in Git?


Answer. Git stash is a temporarily shelves or stashes that help you with the changes that you have made to your working copy so you can work o some another project also, and then come back and re-apply it later on.

The Git stash will take the working directory in the current state and index it to put on the stack at a later stage so that what you get is a clean working directory. This means that if you are in the middle of some task and need to get a clean working directory and together you want to keep all your current edits then you can use the Git stash.

Yes. You can run git stash several times to create multiple stashes, and then use git stash list to view them.

Q 16. Explain git revert command?


Answer. The git revert command is a forward-moving undo operation that offers a safe method of undoing changes. Instead of deleting or orphaning commits in the commit history, a revert will create a new commit that inverses the changes specified. Git revert is a safer alternative to git reset in regards to losing work.

Q17. What is a commit message? How you fix a broken commit?


Answer. A commit message is a comment that we add to a commit. We can provide meaningful information about the reason for commit by using a commit message. In most of the organizations, it is mandatory to put a commit message along with each commit. Often, commit messages to contain JIRA ticket, bug id, defect id, etc. for a project.

To fix any broken commit, you will use the command git commit—amend. By running this command, you can fix the broken commit message in the editor.

Q18. Explain the term sub-git and how it is useful in your project?


Answer.
SubGit is a tool that is used for a smooth, stress-free SVN to GIT migration. It is a solution for a company-wide migration from SVN to GIT.

The widely used for the following reasons:

  • It is much better than git-SVN.
  • There is no requirement to change the infrastructure that is already placed.
  • Allows using all features of Git and SVN.
  • It provides a genuine stress-free migration experience.

Q19. Why git better than subversion?


Answer. Git is decentralized, so all your local copy acts as a repository to compare and keep in under view, while the remote repository is inaccessible. Whereas the subversion is centralized that the repository can get offline and affect the work. That’s why developers found Git better than Subversion.

Q20. Difference between pre-receive, update and post-receive hooks in git?


Answer.
The pre-receive hook is invoked when a commit is pushed to a destination repository. Any script attached to this hook is executed before updating any reference. This is mainly used to enforce the development of best practices and policies.

An update hook is similar to a pre-receive hook. It is triggered just before any updates are done. This hook is invoked once for every commit that is pushed to a destination repository.

Post-receive hook is invoked after the updates have been done and accepted by a destination repository. This is mainly used to configure deployment scripts. It can also invoke Continuous Integration (CI) systems and send notification emails to relevant parties of a repository.

Q21. Do you differentiate between Head, working tree and index?


Answer. Differentiate between:

HEAD: It is a reference to the last commit in the currently checked-out branch.

Working Tree: It is the directory tree of sources and files that you edit and see. Also known as a workspace and working directory.

Index: This is the single, large, as well as a binary file in <baseOfRepo>/.git.index , which lists all the files in the current branch.

Q22. What are the various branching strategies for a developer in git?


Answer. Various branching strategies are as follows:

Feature Branching: 

A feature branch keeps all the changes for a particular feature inside a branch. When the feature is fully tested and validated, then it is merged into master.

Task Branching: 

In Task branching, each task is implemented on its own branch with the task key included in the branch name. With this, it is easy to see which code implements which task, just need to find the task key in the branch name.

Release Branching: 

We can clone a branch to form a release branch once the develop branch has acquired enough features for a release. Creating the release branch starts the next release cycle, and hence no new feature can be added after this point, only bug fixes are allowed.

Q23. Major difference between Git and GitHub.


Answer. Git v/s GitHub.

Git GitHub
Git is a distributed version control system
which tracks changes to the Git creates a local repository to track
changes locally rather than store them on a
centralized server. source
code over time.
GitHub is a web-based hosting service for Git
repository to bring teams together.
It is a command-line tool that requires an interface to interact with the world.It is a graphical interface and a development
platform created for millions of developers.
Git creates a local repository to track
changes locally rather than store them on a
centralized server.
GitHub is open-source which means code
is stored in a centralized server and is
accessible to everybody.
It stores and catalogs changes in code in a repository.It provides a platform as a collaborative the
effort to bring teams together.
It can work without GitHub as other web-based Git repositories are also available.It is the most popular Git server but there are other alternatives available such as GitLab and BitBucket.

Q24 Describes the function of “Git Clone” and “Git config”?


Answer.
Git Clone: It is a command which creates a copy of an existing Git repository, and to get a copy of a central repository. Cloning is the most common way used by programmers to secure their projects.

Git config: It is a command that convenient way to set configuration options for your Git installation. The behavior of a repository, user info, preferences, etc. can be defined through this command.

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