What is GitHub and What is it Used For?
GitHub is a project management and a code version control system as well as a social network platform made for developers. But what is GitHub used for? Well, amongst all, it allows you to work collaboratively with other people around the world, plan your projects and track your work.
What is Git?
Before we jump further, we have to understand Git as the heart of GitHub. Git is a version control system developed by Linus Torvalds (the man who created Linux).
What is a version control system?
When developers make a new project, they always continue making updates to the code. Even after the projects go live, they still need to update the versions, fix bugs, add new features, etc.
The version control system helps track the changes made to the code base. Even more, it records who made the changes and can restore the erased or modified code.
There are no overwritten codes since Git saves multiple copies in the repository. If you are interested in Git, you can learn more about Git here.
What is Hub?
If Git is GitHub’s heart, then Hub is its soul. The hub in GitHub is what turns a command line, like Git, into the biggest social network for developers.
Besides contributing to a certain project, GitHub allows users to socialize with like-minded people. You can follow people and watch what they do or who they’re connecting with.
Repository or repo is a directory where your project’s files are stored. It can be located on GitHub’s storage or a local repository on your computer. You can store code files, images, audios, or everything related to the project in the repository.
The branch is a copy of your repository. You can use the branch when you want to make a development in isolation.
Working on a branch will not affect the central repository or other branches. If you’ve done the work, you can merge your branch into other branches and central repository using the pull request.
Pull request means you inform others that you’ve pushed the change you made in a branch to the master repository. The repository’s collaborators can accept or reject a pull request. Once it is opened, you can discuss and review your work with the collaborators.
Follow the steps below to create a pull request in GitHub:
- Navigate to the repository and find the branch menu
- In the branch menu, choose a branch that contains your commit
- Click New pull request button next to the branch menu
- Insert the title and description for your pull request
- Hit Create pull request button
Forking a Repository
Forking a repository means you make a new project based on the existing repository. In plain English, forking a repo means you copy an existing repository, make some changes needed, store the new version as a new repository, and call this your own project.
This is a great feature that boosts project development. Because it is a totally new project, the central repository won’t be affected. If the ‘master’ repository is updated, you can also apply the update to your current fork.
Follow the steps below to fork a repository in GitHub:
- Find the repository you want to fork
- Click the Fork button
GitHub is not limited for developers only
GitHub is a great platform that changes how developers work. However, everyone that wants to manage their project efficiently and work collaboratively can use GitHub too.
If your team works on a project that needs constant updates and wants to track the changes made, GitHub is suitable for you. There are other alternatives like GitLab, BitBucket, but GitHub should be in your consideration.