GitHub 101 on Windows

This post is a continuation off of this post on Up and Running with Git and Visual Studio, if you have no idea what Git is, or how to setup git and git-extensions on windows I recommend you start there.

So you’ve installed git and git extensions, written a sweet hello world application, made some commits, split some branches and merged features in and out here and there, and now your looking to share that code with the world or you’ve decided that just having a local copy of your code isn’t good enough for a backup and don’t want or can’t go out and purchase another machine or setup remote hard drive. For whatever reason, you’ve decided to use GitHub to push a copy of your source code up to, either to share with the world, keep a local backup, or to share with a team.

First, you’ll need to create a GitHub account, which is free for public/shared repositories (example: Open Source Projects), and from $7-22 a month for private repositories, and $25+ for organizations and companies. Assuming you decide to go with a free account to try things out, you’ll land at a page that will look like this:

Pick a username, an e-mail address, and a password, click the signup button, and bam! You’re now a member of the GitHub community. You can now go explore, setup your profile, write a bio (Your picture is based on your e-mail address from the Gravatar service, the homepage explains it well enough)

Now, on GitHub your going to create a new repository, it’ll ask you for a project name, optional description and homepage. Enter all the details and click Create Repository (Note that Project Name doesn’t have to be unique in all of GitHub, just unique to the repositories and forks that you have on your user account)

Now obviously, if you have a paid account you’d have the option to create a private repositories that only you (and people you invite to see) can see, fork and access. Once you’ve created your repository, you’ll be greeted with instructions on how to set it up. If you’ve followed my previous post you should have already setup your e-mail address (assuming that it’s the e-mail address you used to sign up to GitHub) and name, and so any commits will automatically be associated to this account based on the e-mail address. Now, once you’ve created your account your going to have to add your public key. What the heck?

Ok, without getting into too much detail (You can read way more about transport layer security and public – private key encryption if you find it as interesting as I do…) GitHub is providing two way authentication by using an SSL key. Normally when you connect to a secure server over SSL the server identifies itself with the server name, certificate authority, and a public key, however, your computer remains anonymous and it wouldn’t matter what computer your using. By providing an SSL certificate, your telling the GitHub server “Not only do I trust that you are who you say you are, I’m also providing a strong encryption grade authentication method that proves who I am when I’m connecting to you.”

Details aside, the long and short of it is that you have to generate an SSL certificate and give the public key token to GitHub (obviously keeping the private key secret). Browse to your repository in GitExtensions and open “Generate or import key”.

Which will allow you to generate a key (You will need to save both the public and private key somewhere), by default I believe it generates an SSH-2 RSA 1024bit key which is what you need for GitHub as of this writing.

If you’ve already done this you can just use an existing key. Once you’ve saved it (optionally supplying a pass-phrase for the private key file), it’s time to tell GitHub what your public key is.

Log into GitHub, go to account settings, and go down into the SSH Public Keys section, in there, give your public key a title, and paste in the public key from putty. The text should look something like this:

ssh-rsa AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABJQAAAIEAkn1Hp72xRMjYtfmaHRbtwTrNBEt2oPVKyGh8uU1b8BPw
CjrtCzOGHF66YzBAitpHqaGOkLPyLXHHk1BrAKaWE06W2aVooNdqAEUYBwe0gJGR/bmf73Qhey2xW9
PBE5ocsEpVnW5HtEoMTpiKaPDqSTY6ogH/dt4FSclubb/5DKE=

And after saving it, you should have a new key:

These SSH keys uniquely identify you as a user.

Now that you’ve added your public key into Git, you need to add the remote repository to your local repository and setup PuTTY with your SSH key. Open up Git Extensions, browse to your repository, open up the Remotes folder, and you should see the following:

From here, enter a name for the remote repository, and pull the URL from the repository startup page, it should look like this: git@github.com:yourusername/Test-Project.git

Brows to wherever you’ve saved your private SSH key file for PuTTY, and click the Load SSH Key. If you saved it with a password, you’ll be prompted to enter the passphrase you protected the public key file with:

Enter your passphrase and click ok.

Once done, click the Test connection. If this is the first time you’ve connected to GitHub, you’ll be notified that this server’s RSA fingerprint isn’t in the registry:

Check to make sure it’s the same as the one shown on the GitHub website, and hit yest to cache the GitHub server host key.

And you should then see that you can authenticate:

Save your configuration, close out of the dialog and select the up arrow icon (or go into the menu and select push) and push all or some of your branches to GitHub:

And there you go! Remote repository pushing and pulling. Just like that.

And now that you’ve pushed your repository up to GitHub, you can also pull other changes:

And that’s all for now, if you’ve got questions or comments, leave them in the comments for this post and I’ll respond to them as soon as I can.

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