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What Does the Term Porcelain Mean in Git

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“Porcelain” is the material from which toilets are usually made (and sometimes other fixtures such as washbasins). This is distinct from “plumbing” (the actual pipes and drains), where the porcelain provides a more user-friendly interface to the plumbing.

Git uses this terminology in analogy, to separate the low-level commands that users don’t usually need to use directly (the “plumbing”) from the more user-friendly high level commands (the “porcelain”).

One of those programmer jokes…

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