From time to time we all need advice from our peers, or even our superiors. We have grown up asking the advice of our friends, parents, and teachers. Every challenge can benefit from a second set of eyes scanning over it. One of the most important developments of late in the realm of coding is GitHub.
What is GitHub?
GitHub, can be divided into the Git, and the Hub.
The Git implies the version control system; a tool which allows developers to keep track of the constant revisions to their code. A version control system, also known as a revision control system, is the system used in managing the changes to documents, computer programs, large websites and other collections of information.
The Hub, not nearly as difficult to grasp, is the community of likeminded individuals who participate. It is all about the collaborative effort of the community, in reviewing, improving, and deriving new ideas from the uploaded code. As we’ve all experienced, it can be intimidating to introduce yourself to a community of strangers, let alone strangers with a technical knowledge that might far surpass your own.
For years now, GitHub has provided a space for developers to securely store file changes, and aid each other in ensuring the file integrity of their code. As such, GitHub can, and will continue to be, a means of sharing volumes of information with other coders, for personal, and of course, commercial use.
They go about many of these improvements through the process of forking a repository. Forking is the process of copying someone else’s repository, or repo, and contributing to it yourself. GitHub encourages users to create a repository into which you can place your current work for others to either view, or indeed edit or correct. It introduces the important distinction between open source and closed source. The difference, to oversimplify it, is public access versus private access.
As stated from the GitHub site, a fork is:
‘a copy of a repository. Forking a repository allows you to freely experiment with changes without affecting the original product.’
‘Most commonly, forks are used to either propose changes to someone else’s project or to use someone else’s project as a starting point for your own idea.’
It allows people to store their work, as well as network with like minded folks. The system facilitates the interaction of these people, who can view, or even access, each other’s work, and discuss errors, and of course, potential solutions.
A code which runs from start to finish without error is the ideal. That is what GitHub attempts to assist. It provides an environment that encourages the improvement of code. It also provides a system with which coders can keep track of their changes made during the coding process.Sometimes it can be difficult to grasp the labour involved; the amount of hours needed to string together those thousands upon thousands, often millions, of lines of code. Even the most basic App requires a very fine attention to detail or it will fail to operate. Sometimes a second set of eyes, or even or a helping hand, is required, be they from a colleague or a stranger.
Sometimes it can be difficult to grasp the labour involved; the amount of hours needed to string together those thousands upon thousands, often millions, of lines of code. Even the most basic App requires a very fine attention to detail or it will fail to operate. Sometimes a second set of eyes, or even or a helping hand, is required, be they from a colleague or a stranger.
Thankfully, never before have such opportunities existed to take on the challenge. Opportunities such as The Code Academy or even the technology giant that is MIT have been opening doors for amateur coders with their open-source teaching methods, and are definitely worth a look. Professional institutes too, have offered a means of participation outside of the traditional university route.
So, a basic understanding of what GitHub is as follows: An environment for either collaborative or independent projects to develop, the hosting and management of software projects, and the storage of data.
It’s a very accessible and user-friendly site, so why not take a look for yourself? You never know- that could be your code under scrutiny one day.