Notebooks, Python, Git


In this session, we will provide a brief introduction to:

  1. Command line (terminal/shell)
  2. Version Control (code management using git)
  3. Programming in Python (using Jupyter Notebook)
  4. Geospatial Fundamentals (optional, self-study)

You will need a working knowledge of git and terminal for this hackathon. We will provide an overview of these topics and also share resources for self-paced learning.

Introduction :: Command Line (Terminal/Shell)

Shell Basics

  1. What is Terminal or Shell?
  2. Navigating Files and Directories
  3. Working with Files and Directories

Shell: More Details

Detailed self-paced lesson on shell: Shell Lesson from Software Carpentry

Introduction :: Version Control (Git and Github)

What is version control, git, github, and how to set it up?

Version control is managing and tracking changes to your documents (program source code, images, websites, data files, etc.). git is a popular tool used for version control of software code. is popular platform that provides remote server hosting for git repositories. A repository is a collection of various files that you are tracking for changes and versions (think of it as a directory with files that are being tracked for changes, using git for taking snapshots of versions as you are developing).

This section is a step-by-step guide to set up git on your 2i2c JupyterHub instance (referred to as 2i2c JupyterHub in these instruction). We will also configure git to use your account for managing your repositories hosted on There are 5 main steps with substeps, includes instruction for addressing github’s new approach for token authentication.

Step 1: Create a github account

To complete the setup, you will need an account on If you don’t have an account, please visit, create an account (free) and come back to this guide for setting up git.

Step 2: Fork a repository

A fork is a copy of a repository from another github account (for example NASA-Openscapes account) to your github account (for example, my account virdi) that then you have permission to edit. To help you finish this setup correctly, we have created a demo repository on Openscapes github account named check_github_setup. You can fork this repository into your github account following these steps:

  1. Log in to your account

  2. Go to the demo repository at NASA-Openscapes github

    Demo repository on NASA-Openscapes github

  3. Click on the fork icon in the top right corner, as shown in the image below and click your user name if prompted to do so

Step 3: Clone the repository that you just forked

Now you have a fork of the demo repository in your github account that we can clone it in your 2i2c instance. In the code below, commands beginning with git is a git command for version control and synching; commands that don’t start with git are bash/linux/command line commands.

  1. Start your 2i2c JupyterHub and open a terminal

    File >> New >> Terminal

  2. Make sure you are in your home directory by usingpwd command and verifying the output as below


  3. Configure git with your name and email address.

    git config --global "Makhan Virdi"
    git config --global ""

    Note: This name and email could be different from your credentials. Remember git is a program that keeps track of your changes locally (on 2i2c JupyterHub or your own computer) and is a platform to host your repositories. However, since your changes are tracked by git, the email/name used in git configuration will show up next to your contributions on when you push your repository to (git push is discussed in a later step).

  4. Configure git to store your github credentials to avoid having to enter your github username and token each time you push changes to your repository(in Step 5, we will describe how to use github token instead of a password)

    git config --global credential.helper store
  5. Copy link for the demo repository from your github account. Click the green “Code” button and copy the link as shown.

  6. Clone the repository using git clone command in the terminal

    To clone a repository from github, copy the link for the repository (previous step) and use git clone:

    git clone

    Note: Replace YOUR-GITHUB-USERNAME here with your username. For example, it is virdi for my account as seen in this image.

    Use ls (list files) to verify the existence of the repository that you just cloned

  7. Change directory to the cloned repository using cd check_github_setup and check the current directory using pwd command (present working directory)

  8. Check status of your git repository to confirm git set up using git status

    You are all set with using git on your 2i2c JupyterHub! But the collaborative power of git through github needs some additional setup.

    In the next step, we will create a new file in this repository, track changes to this file, and link it with your account.

Step 4. Creating new file and tracking changes

  1. In the left panel on your 2i2c JupyterHub, click on the “directory” icon and then double click on “check_github_setup” directory.

  2. Once you are in the check_github_setup directory, create a new file using the text editor in your 2i2c JupyterHub (File >> New >> Text File).

    Name the file lastname.txt. For example, virdi.txt for me (use your last name). Add some content to this file (for example, I added this to my virdi.txt file: my last name is virdi).

  3. Now you should have a new file (lastname.txt) in the git repository directory check_github_setup

  4. Check if git can see that you have added a new file using git status. Git reports that you have a new file that is not tracked by git yet, and suggests adding that file to the git tracking system.

  5. As seen in this image, git suggests adding that file so it can be tracked for changes. You can add file to git for tracking changes using git add. Then, you can commit changes to this file’s content using git commit as shown in the image.

    git add virdi.txt
    git status
    git commit -m "adding a new file"
    git status

  6. As seen in the image above, git is suggesting to push the change that you just committed to the remote server at (so that your collaborators can also see what changes you made).

    Note: DO NOT execute push yet. Before we push to, let’s configure git further and store our credentials to avoid entering the credentials every time we invoke git push. For doing so, we need to create a token on to be used in place of your password.

Step 5. Create access token on

  1. Go to your github account and create a new “personal access token”:

    Generate Personal Access Token on

  2. Enter a description in “Note” field as seen above, select “repo” checkbox, and scroll to the bottom and click the green button “Generate Token”. Once generated, copy the token (or save it in a text file for reference).

    IMPORTANT: You will see this token only once, so be sure to copy this. If you do not copy your token at this stage, you will need to generate a new token.

  3. To push (transfer) your changes to github, use git push in terminal. It requires you to enter your github credentials. You will be prompted to enter your github username and “password”. When prompted for your “password”, DO NOT use your github password, use the github token that was copied in the previous step.

    git push

    Note: When you paste your token in the terminal window, windows users will press Ctrl+V and mac os users will press Cmd+V. If it does not work, try generating another token and use the copy icon next to the token to copy the token. Then, paste using your computer’s keyboard shortcut for paste.

  4. Now your password is stored in ~/.git-credentials and you will not be prompted again unless the Github token expires. You can check the presence of this git-credentials file using Terminal. Here the ~ character represents your home directory (/home/jovyan/).

    ls -la ~

    The output looks like this:

    drwxr-xr-x 13 jovyan jovyan 6144 Oct 22 17:35 .
    drwxr-xr-x  1 root   root   4096 Oct  4 16:21 ..
    -rw-------  1 jovyan jovyan 1754 Oct 29 18:30 .bash_history
    drwxr-xr-x  4 jovyan jovyan 6144 Oct 29 16:38 .config
    -rw-------  1 jovyan jovyan   66 Oct 22 17:35 .git-credentials
    -rw-r--r--  1 jovyan jovyan   84 Oct 22 17:14 .gitconfig
    drwxr-xr-x 10 jovyan jovyan 6144 Oct 21 16:19 2021-Cloud-Hackathon

    You can also verify your git configuration

    (notebook) jovyan@jupyter-virdi:~$ git config -l

    The output should have credential.helper = store:        =         = Makhan Virdi
    credential.helper = store

Now we are all set to collaborate with github on the JupyterHub during the Cloud Hackathon!

Summary: Git Commands

Commonly used git commands (modified from source)
Git Command Description
git status Shows the current state of the repository: the current working branch, files in the staging area, etc.
git add Adds a new, previously untracked file to version control and marks already tracked files to be committed with the next commit
git commit Saves the current state of the repository and creates an entry in the log
git log Shows the history for the repository
git diff Shows content differences between commits, branches, individual files and more
git clone Copies a repository to your local environment, including all the history
git pull Gets the latest changes of a previously cloned repository
git push Pushes your local changes to the remote repository, sharing them with others

Git: More Details

Lesson: For a more detailed self-paced lesson on git, visit Git Lesson from Software Carpentry

Cheatsheet: Frequently used git commands

Dangit, Git!?!: If you are stuck after a git mishap, there are ready-made solutions to common problems at Dangit, Git!?!

Cloning our repository using the git Jupyter lab extension.

If we’re already familiar with git commands and feel more confortable using a GUI our Jupyterhub deployment comes with a git extension. This plugin allows us to operate with git using a simple user interface.

For example we can clone our repository using the extension.

git extension

Introduction :: Programming in Python

Switch to Jupyter Notebook for an introduction to programming in Python

Python Learning Resources

Self-paced lesson on Programming with Python from Software Carpentry

Introduction :: Geospatial Fundamentals (Optional)

Detailed self-paced lesson on Fundamentals of Geospatial Raster and Vector Data with Python from Data Carpentry

The end!