What is Github? - Brown Surfing

What is Github?

Posted on: August 23rd, 2022
By: Efrain Lemus

GitHub is considered an invaluable tool for software developers, and its popularity is unrivaled. Currently, it has more than 25 million users. That’s a significant number of professionals turning to GitHub for workflow and collaboration improvements.

At a high level, GitHub is an intuitive website or cloud-based service that enables developers to store and manage their code, to track and control changes. 

To figure out exactly what GitHub is, you first need to understand two fundamental principles:

  • Version control
  • Git

Here, we’ll explain those two principles first. Then, we’ll discuss GitHub and how to use it with WordPress.

Let’s get started!

What is Git in programming?

Git is a distributed version control system that tracks source code changes during software development. It was originally developed in 2005 by Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux operating system.

Git allows developers to work on code collaboratively, making it easy to track and merge changes from multiple developers. Any team member with granted access can manage the source code and its history of changes using Git command line tools.

In addition, git is fast and has excellent support for branches, which makes it ideal for developing new features or fixing bugs. Therefore, it has become the go-to version control system for many programmers.

Understanding Gitignore

Git is a powerful tool for tracking file changes, but it can be challenging to keep track of each change made to every file in a large project. That’s where Gitignore comes in. Gitignore is a simple text file that tells Git which files to ignore when tracking changes. 

This is useful for two reasons. First, it helps to keep the Git history clean and organized by only tracking the most significant changes. Second, it can prevent sensitive information from being accidentally committed to the Git repository. 

What is version control?

In computing, version control is tracking changes to files over time. It is most commonly used in software development, where multiple developers may work simultaneously on the same codebase.

Version control allows developers to track different versions (or “revisions”) of a file and view a history of changes made to that file. This can be extremely useful when identifying and debugging issues in code. 

Additionally, it can help developers avoid accidentally overwriting each other’s work and seamlessly merge changes from different branches of development branches. 

Why is version control useful?

So why is version control useful? In a word: collaboration. Version control allows multiple people to work on the same project simultaneously without stepping on each other’s toes.  

It also makes it easy to experiment with different ideas without worrying about losing your original code. And if something bad happens, you can simply revert to an earlier codebase version. In short, version control is essential for anyone working on large projects with multiple people.  

Now Understanding GitHub

GitHub is a cloud-based internet hosting service for software development initiatives that use the Git revision control system. 

GitHub provides paid plans for private repositories and free accounts for open source projects. It is the largest code host in the world, with over 100 million repositories. 

Has collaborative tools

In addition to Git, GitHub provides tools for collaborative work on code development, such as code review, issue tracking, and wikis. 

It facilitates both distributed version control and source code management (SCM) functionality of Git. It also offers collaboration features such as bug tracking, feature requests, and task management for every project.

GitHub’s interface is user-friendly enough that even beginners can take advantage of Git. Furthermore, GitHub allows anyone to create a public code repository for free, which makes it popular among open-source developers.

How to Get Started With GitHub?

Getting started with GitHub is simple. You can use GitHub with your team for free. A basic plan includes unlimited repositories and collaborators but only 500 MB of storage space.

Take a look at GitHub’s paid plans for a more comprehensive look at GitHub’s extensive features.

Configuration of a GitHub repository

Repositories, or repo, serve as the hub of your project. There may be one file or a collection of files containing code, images, or text.

Follow these steps to get started:

1. Create a GitHub account. If you already own one, proceed to the next step.

2. Choose a username and enter it in the “Username” field. This will be your display name on GitHub.

3. In the “Repository name” field, enter a name for your new repository. This will be the URL of your repository on GitHub.

4. Choose visibility for your repository. The options are:

Public: Anyone can see and fork your repository.

Private: Only you and your guests can see and fork your repository.

5. Choose whether to initialize your repository with a README file. It is a text file that explains your project and how to get started with it.

8. Click Create repository.

You’ve now created a GitHub repository for your project!

Adding a license to a repository

Every GitHub repository comes with a license. If you want your repository to be truly open source, you’ll need to license it so that others can use, change, and distribute it.

Creating GitHub branches

You can generate different versions of a repository by creating branches. A developer can determine how it will affect the master project when integrated by making project changes to the feature branch.

Here’s how you can set up a feature branch:

To create a branch, follow these steps:

1. Go to the main page of your GitHub repository.

2. In the “Branch” menu, enter a name for your new branch.

3. Click Create branch.

4. Now, you can make changes to your new branch and commit them to your repository.

5. When ready, you can merge your branch into the main codebase.

You have set up a feature branch that looks identical to the master branch. It can be modified freely without affecting the project.

GitHub Commits

A commit is a saved change to your codebase. This is called a commit when you make a change and save it. Commits are how you save progress on your project.

To make a commit, follow these steps:

1. Make the changes you want to your codebase. This could be adding or removing files or making changes to existing files.

2. Enter a commit message in the “Commit changes” section. This is a short description of the changes you’ve made.

3. Click Commit changes.

Your changes are now saved in a commit!

GitHub Pull Requests

A pull request is a way to propose and collaborate on changes to a repository. It’s usually used when you want to contribute to someone else’s project or when you want someone else to review and merge your changes into their repository.

To create a pull request, follow these steps:

1. Go to the repository’s main page you want to contribute to.

2. In the “Branch” menu, select the branch you want to make changes to.

3. Click the New pull request button.

4. Enter a description and a title for your pull request.

5. Click Create pull request.

Your pull request is now created! The repository owner will now be able to review your changes and merge them into the main branch.

Stunning features of GitHub

GitHub is a place where designers and programmers work together. They communicate, contribute, and fix bugs together. It offers plenty of open-source projects and codes of various programming languages.

Some of its distinguishing features are as follows.

  • Git repositories hosting
  • Graphical representation of branches
  • Integrated issue and bug tracking
  • Team management
  • Project management
  • Track and assign tasks
  • Code hosting
  • Conversations
  • Wikisc and more

What big companies use GitHub?

GitHub is being used by some of the world’s biggest companies. These are a few examples:

GitHub isn’t just for developers

For years, GitHub has provided developers a secure place to store file changes and collaborate to maintain code integrity.

All this talk about how GitHub is a great tool for programmers makes you think it’s only beneficial for them. 

Even though it’s less common, you can use GitHub for any file type. For example, if you have a team constantly making changes to a word document,  you could use GitHub as your version control system.  

GitHub can and will continue to serve as a means of sharing information with other coders for personal and commercial purposes.

Have any questions or comments? Write them below!


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