by Ryan Irelan
Git logs allow you to review and read a history of everything that happens to a repository. The history is built using
git-log, a simple tool with a ton of options for displaying commit history.
A Git log is a running record of commits. A full log has the following pieces:
Git logs can be whatever you want them to be. Git-log offers dozens and dozens of options but let’s start with the simplest.
This outputs the most basic log:
commit 98aa8d722bdecc4e56156cfe1a793a4d16848eb8 Author: Ryan Irelan
Date: Sat Jan 10 23:26:40 2015 -0600 Adding in new homepage Includes the assets needed for Foundation commit dd8d6f587fa24327d5f5afd6fa8c3e604189c8d4 Author: Ryan Irelan Date: Tue Jan 6 20:07:17 2015 -0600 added origination declaration at bottom of RSS feed
This is a snippet of the log, showing two commits. We have a commit SHA1 hash, the author, the date, and the commit message, explaining what happened in the commit. This layout is the default look of the log.
Git has something called Commit Limiting to make it easier to narrow down hundreds or thousands of commits to the ones you want to review.
The default log is great for grabbing a quick look at what just happened in the repository. But it takes up a lot space and you can only see a handful of commits at once.
When I’m developing a project, I sometimes only want to know what happened in a specific directory. Let’s say I’m working on some CSS or Sass and only want to know about changes in my Sass directory. I can get much more specific with git-log and restrict it only to a specific directory.
git log scss
This will only return commits that had changes in the
We can use a similar syntax as directory restriction and build a log for just one branch. We only need to specify the branch we want to see.
git log develop
We can clean that up a little by removing any merge commits (which can bulk up the log if there are a lot of merges, like there would be a
git log develop --no-merges
To learn more about Git-log, like time-restricted logs, search logs, and more, check out our Intermediate Git course that will make you a Git power user.
Filed Under: Git