Viewing Local Changes

Now that you have some files in the staging area and the working directory, let's explore how you can compare different points in your repository.

Comparing Changes within the Repository

git diff allows you to see the difference between any two refs in the repository. The diagram below shows how you can compare the content of your working area, staging, and HEAD (or the most recent commit):

Git Diff Options

Let's try these commands on the repository:

$ git diff
$ git diff --staged
$ git diff HEAD
$ git diff --color-words

git diff will also allow you to compare between branches, commits, and tags by simply typing:

$ git diff <REF-1> <REF-2>
$ git diff gh-pages slow-down
$ git diff origin/gh-pages gh-pages
$ git diff 2710 b745

Notice that, just like merges, diffs are directional. It is easiest to think of it as "diff back to starting at " or "see what is not in but is in ".

There's a helpful alias for opening the remote directly from your command line. Check out the appendix if you'd like to know more!

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