What Is Github? Why Does Developers Love It So Much?
By Abhishek Jain
The website and app developers need to use a different types of applications and frameworks, and programming languages for their work. There are so many options out there nowadays. However, the offshore software developers and web developers resort to some common resources for references and assistance from time to time. One such resource for web and software developers is Github. The site now boasts of 45 million users and nearly 100 million code repositories.
What is it?
This website/online platform enables the developers to host their codes online without charges. So, it can be described as online storage and resource that is extremely useful for the developer communities. Over the last few years, Github has become the biggest software development platform in the world. The software application development professionals use its cloud storage for storing and sharing source code. The platform offers support for widely used programming languages.
Why do the developers love using Github so much?
It is not without credible reasons Github has become the favorite online resource for thousands of web and software developers. Listed below are the top reasons for its overwhelming popularity among the developer community:
• Open source and free access- The most important factor that has led to its huge popularity is the platform’s Open Source nature. It can be used for free by any developer. This makes it ideal for beginners and freelance developers who have modest monetary resources. However, it would be wrong to assume that Github is used only by newbie developers or those php web development firms with tight budgets! Technology behemoths like IMB and PayPal like it. A tech giant like Microsoft acquired Github for a $7.5B deal three years back.
• It offers version control- This is a big reason for the developers to like and use this online platform. Github keeps track of all changes made to uploaded codes and the users who made the changes. You may equate it with document tracking in applications like MS Office. So, you can review a change log without fuss, anytime. This is absolutely beneficial in projects where collaboration takes place. Each developer becomes aware of the members in the team making changes to the uploaded and shared codes. This way, conflicts do not occur, and workflow does not suffer. It is also helpful for projects which have members located in remote locations.
• A thriving online community- Github is not run by a specific team of developers or any php development company. The online platform is made by contributions and collaboration of nearly 45 million users. When you post or share your own code, gaining insight on it becomes easier. You may very well access and use the code uploaded by ace developers without any problems. It is this thriving online community of developers that keeps the platforms running and growing in a consistent way. It is easy to seek the opinion of senior developers, and newbie developers find solutions to their problems quickly.
• Lots of flexibility in usage- The online platforms have an intuitive and customizable UI that makes things easier for beginners. It comes with embedded GUI tools. You may also make use of several third-party tools for obtaining platform-specific experience. The Git Wiki enables the developers to find all types of UIs and tools to streamline their workflow.
Github is also ideal for those developers who are particular about things they want. It has plenty of plug-ins that are of great use to the developers.
• Amazing integration with online tools and services- The developers who use Github for their projects face no hardship in integrating it with many other popular online services. There are apps using which you can connect Github with your Google Cloud and Amazon accounts. This proves to be beneficial for the developers.
• Reliable security- The software and web developers are wary about the security of online cloud platforms and services. When they collaborate with others for the projects, the security woes multiply. From the online usage safety perspective, Github is a safe option. When you use this platform, there is hardly any need to use other complex corporate security solutions. The platform protects code branches, controls access, and monitors all changes. The developers with deep pockets can also opt for the Github Enterprise package.
• A way to find and hire talent- The software and web development firms often make use of Github to look for new talents. It is commonplace to find programmers and developers working on similar projects who share their codes on the platform. This makes it easy for both parties to interact. Employers can spot professionals with the skill sets they are looking for.
• Expert recommendations and assessment- Github is ideal for those newbie web and software developers who lack expertise. They can submit their projects and codes. These will be then reviewed by thousands of ace programmers and developers who also use the platform. So, the newbie developers get expert advice, and they also get alerts about errors and recommendations for improving code quality, etc. They get such expert opinions free of cost here, mostly.
The basic working mechanism of GitHub
The major activities the Github users indulge in are- merging, forking, pull requests. By Forking a project, you get a copy that makes it easy for you to experiment, and the main project will not be affected. After you have made modifications to the source code and feel happy with the outcome, you may submit a pull request. The pull request is then forwarded to the project owner, and he/she reviews it. If the project owner is okay with your modifications to the original code, he/she will merge your pull request. This will make your changes permanent.
Wrapping it up
In less than a decade, Github has evolved to become the largest project code sharing and hosting platform, used by millions of developers. After the Microsoft acquisition, its future looks bright. Satya Nadella, the CEO of the tech giant, has assured that the essence of the platforms will be retained in the future. It will have a developer-first approach, and the open platform model will continue.