Anyone who has been programming for a decent amount of time will have heard of GitHub. Anyone who hasn’t will learn about it fast. GitHub is a central repository for source code. Despite the name, it’s actually completely separate from Git. The two are heavily connected though.
So tied together that learning how to use GitHub will naturally lead you to learn Git.
What Is Git?
Git is one of the most powerful VCSs in use today. It lets you create multiple “branches” or copies of your source code. It’s both fast and easy to switch from one branch to another. This speed enables you to simultaneously work on two or more features without fear of one breaking the other.
Mistakes are easy to fix. Changes are easy to manage. Most importantly, Git makes coordinating with multiple people simple and clean.
Behind all this power is a complicated piece of software. Entire books have been written for some of its more advanced features. Its basics, however, are easy to grasp. Commands such as push, pull or merge are easy to figure out with a quick google search.
GUI tools make the process even easier.
he main weakness of Git is that it only saves your files on your computer. A problem if you end up with a failed hard drive.
This is where GitHub comes in.
GitHub Is At The Center
In simple terms, GitHub is a central location that holds all of your code. It provides a single location for every person on your team to get the most recent version of your code. With Git – it also provides an easy place to send all of your changes to.
But GitHub provides more than that.
Although it is possible to make your repositories private – GitHub, by default, makes them public. That means that anyone can look at your code and provide helpful advice or even contribute to it themselves.
And so can you.
GitHub is home to millions of repositories including massive projects like the Linux kernel. Although you won’t be contributing to anything big like that anytime soon. But GitHub IS filled with smaller projects that you CAN contribute to. Even small changes can make big impacts.
Having access to this much source code provides another benefit. Go into a big repository and explore the source code. Read through it. Try to figure out how it all connects together. Maybe even grab a copy of it and try to make a minor change on your computer.
I guarantee that you will become a better programmer by using GitHub to its full potential.