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Don’t ignore GitHub if you are a developer

All developers want to meet deadlines and keep the workload manageable. Therefore, using right tools and techniques will helps manage the development cycle effectively. GitHub is one of the most effective solutions for you.

General understanding of GitHub

For basic definition, Git is an open source program for tracking changes in text files and is the core technology of GitHub. This is the social and user interface.

You might know that GitHub is a code sharing and publishing service. Some people suppose that it’s a social networking site for programmers. All statements are true. However, they do not explain exactly why GitHub is a special solution. Basically, it is a Git repository hosting service. Besides, it adds a lot of its own features. Git is a command line tool. However, GitHub provides developers with a web-based graphical interface.

Additionally, GitHub gives you access control and several collaboration features, like a wikis and basic task management tools for every project. Moreover, GitHub is a website and cloud-based service. Generally, GitHub supports developers store and manage their code, track and control changes to them.

Two connected principles of GitHub

If you want to understand GitHub clearly, you need to learn about two connected principles including version control and Git.

Git - the heart of GitHub

Actually, Git is an open source project. Linus Torvalds created it 2005. A trainer at GitHub, Matthew McCullough, says that that Git is similar to other version control systems. It manages and stores revisions of projects. People usually use it for code. However, we can also use Git to manage any other type of file, like word documents or Final Cut projects. It's better to consider it as a filing system for every draft of a document.

There are some of Git’s predecessors like as CVS and Subversion. They have a central 'repository' of all the files associated with the project. If the developers makes changes, they can do directly to the central repository. When using distributed version control systems like Git, you can have many advantages. Accordingly, if you need to make a change to a project, copy the whole repository to your own system. You will make your changes on local copy, then 'check in' them to the central server. Therefore, this helps to encourage the sharing of more granular changes because you do not have to connect to the server every time you want to make a change.

Version control - outstanding feature of GitHub

Version control is the flagship functionality of GitHub. It helps developers follow and manage changes to a software project code. Once a software project grows, the version control feature becomes extremely important and essential. For instance, Facebook. This company has thousands of developers working on it at a time. However, none of them are rewriting each other’s code. What makes this magic result? The answer is Version control. It makes sure that an application always has one working, or 'master', version. If every developer can edit the master source code, this would not be safe and effective.

Basically, Version control allows each developer to be able to take a copy (AKA a branch) of the master source code. It is 'forking' – copying a repository from one user’s account to another. You can joint in a project that you do not have write access to and modify it under your own account. If you want to make changes, you will send a notification called a 'pull request' to the original owner. After that, with a click of a button, this user can merge the changes found in your repo with the original repo.

Significant benefits of GitHub

Before GitHub appears, if you wanted to contribute to an open source project, you must manually download the project’s source code. Then, you made your changes locally and created a list of changes called a 'patch'. You had to send an e-mail of the patch to the project’s maintainer. The maintainer would evaluate your patch, possibly sent by a stranger, and decide whether to merge the changes or not.

The network effect will begin to play a role in GitHub. Once you submit a 'pull request', the maintainer can see your profile including all of your contributions on GitHub. If he accept your patch, you will get credit on the original site and it immediately shows up in your profile. This profile is considered as a resume that helps the maintainer determine your reputation. When there are more people and projects on GitHub, the project maintainer will be able to get of potential contributors. Furthermore, patches can be publicly discussed as well.

In addition to public facing open source repositories, GitHub sells private repositories and on-premise instances of its software for businesses. That’s really meaningful.

Guide for using GitHub interface

On GitHub interface, you can see the various branches that people are working on and someone make a commit. The commits are critical because they show a summary of what has been changed on your file. This is similar to saving a file in Microsoft Word, but more informative. You can depend on way of setting up a repository to be able to create your own branch and do your own commits there.

When you make some changes, you can submit that code back to a branch by making a 'pull request'. Basically, it asks the person in charge of the branch to include your code. Additionally, this request helps that person view exactly what you’ve changed in the code.

When you plan to edit some (or all) of the source code on your own account on a more permanent basis, you can fork it. Click the “Fork” button up in the right hand corner. A fork is similar in concept to a branch. It copies the repository to your own GitHub account. This enables you to work on it in a more permanent way.


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