If you’re in the programmers crowd, whether with the pros or the amateurs, you must have met their loyal companions. Not programming geeks, no, but the sites that any programmer must turn to on their academic or practical journey.
We’re here to talk about the famous GitHub platform. Microsoft recently took over the site and panic spread all around about the possibility of turning both git and github to tools, with programmers all around the world awaiting its dreaded fate. However, up until now, we don’t know what Microsoft is thinking, and thankfully they are still free.
So, why should you learn to use Git and Github?
The short answer is: to be a professional programmer. The only difference between pros and amateurs is that the amateur did not yet get a chance to work in real projects, and that’s where you come in. Working on the programming projects in these two sites will give you the experience you need.
In addition, you can also do many other activities like remote programming, participating in open-source programming projects, and cooperating with a team to finish tasks remotely. Git and Github allow team work to be more efficient by being able to work on the same project without their tasks being affected or confused with one another.
There are a number of rules that help you use git and github more efficiently, if you follow them, getting a ton of practical experience in your field is guaranteed.
First: Create a repository for every new project
This rule is clear as day, you just need to save any and every code you write in its own repository no matter how silly or worthless it may seem. Following this rule and getting used to it, saving every stage you go through, and storing any project you did, will help you know your level and the stages of development you went through to reach your current one. It will also help you recognize your weaknesses. Keeping every folder separate in its own repository is the first step towards using github efficiently.
Second: Create a branch for each new feature you add
Let’s say you’re updating your own website and want to add a new feature, it is best if you create a new branch of the project and give it a unique name that references its purpose, then write the codes of that new section you added to the branch. This will help you work in a more organized fashion and sort your codes more professionally which will make editing easier later on.
Your team will help you work in different, big projects, while at the same time keeping your own copy of your work separately from their copying and editing. This makes team work much easier and increases productivity and organization.
Third: Use Pull Request to add programming instructions to original project
Every repository starts with a pre-made branch when creating it, but you shouldn’t edit that branch, instead you need to use the branch technique mentioned above.
Afterwards, use Pull Request in case you want to participate in an open-source project. Someone will look into your request and review your work before accepting it and adding it to the original source file. Github will also test your files and tell you whether there are any mistakes. It will notify you when there is a clash between your codes and the original ones, this can also happen whenever a programmer changes any instructions in the original file that conflicts with the ones you wrote.
After your programming instructions are reviewed, tested, and approved, the reviewer will give you the right to add your instructions to the original project or they will add it directly after your work is discussed and approved. It’s like working inside a programming company and your boss is keeping a close eye on you, watching what you do and telling you if there are any mistakes.
If you ever worked on an open-source programming project (if you haven’t, do so as soon as possible), you have to understand these three basic rules to work comfortably and in a more organized and professional manner. If Microsoft’s policies change after they took over our favorite tools, there are many other sites designed for programmers.
In the end, if you’re still nervous about learning a new technique, start simple and don’t overthink it, you don’t have to be a pro by tomorrow! Just keep those three rules in the back of your head and with practice, using Git and GitHub will be more like a normal routine. You’ll be a pro user faster than you can imagine.