The Git Commit Hash

The Git Commit Hash

The Git Commit Hash. The sign of a commit which is built up of a few components: the commit hash. The magic 40 character string that is attached to every commit you do. This blog post will focus on the commit hash, a seemingly random mish-mash of letters. I assume you have basic knowledge of Git and have at least committed a few times.

This might look familiar to you. The sign of a commit which is built up of a few components: the commit hash - a 40 character long string, followed by the author, date and lastly the commit message.

This blog post will focus on the commit hash, a seemingly random mish-mash of letters and numbers that you sometimes have to copy and paste about. What is it? How is it made? Can it change? All those questions answered in this blog post (hopefully).

Reading this, I assume you have basic knowledge of Git and have at least committed a few times and hopefully used branches.

This blog post is intended as a primer to the commit hash. There is a lot more logic & magic behind the scenes that goes into making and using the git commit hash which is beyond the scope of this article

What is a hash?

Before we dive into the git specifics, I thought I would give a very brief overview of what a hash is.

There are many different hashing algorithms - MD5 and SHA-1 are examples of these. What a hash allows you to do is take an arbitrary amount of content (be it one word, 100 words or the whole contents of a JavaScript library) and produce a unique fixed string of characters representing that. The length of the string is dependent on which method you choose.

The string (in “theory”) cannot be reverse engineered (e.g. given the hash it is difficult to work out the contents), but would allow you to compare two things to see if they are the same.

Note: I put theory in _`"`, because there are workarounds to hashing; so be wary if you are using a hashing algorithm to encode passwords_

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