It’s hard to mention software or web development without mentioning GitHub; service goes hand in hand with programmers around the world and is a go-to collaboration platform for teams working on open source coding projects.
Collaborative code can get messy pretty quickly. Different programming styles combined with lots of changes over iterations and an ever-growing bank of files and folders can lead to exciting projects that turn into headaches. Many cooks can really mess up broth.
What GitHub offers developers a powerful suite of collaboration tools that simplify the process of tracking changes to project files while adding tools for task management, issue tracking, and continuous integration.
GitHub is an exciting platform for developers new and old, providing a playground for projects to improve and opportunities for newbie programmers to get their first taste of open-source development. The benchmark platform for open source projects supports an unlimited number of collaborators on unlimited projects, called “repositories” or “repositories”.
Adding to its list of features are Platform Pull Requests which allow developers to notify other people working on a given repository of changes they have made. Users can also accompany these changes with a written summary of the proposed changes to make it easier for collaborators to see what the developer has been working on.
The upload process in GitHub can be somewhat intimidating, especially for newcomers who are unfamiliar with its user interface which can be unintuitive for some. There are several options for uploading the source code to your own integrated development environment (IDE), but it’s a simple process once you’ve mastered it.
How to download a repository from GitHub
Public repositories contain open source codebases that users can download for free. They don’t even need a GitHub account.
Follow these steps to download an open source database:
1. Access the GitHub website at http://www.github.com.
2. Click “Explore” in the upper left corner of the page.
3. From the “Explore GitHub” menu, select “Topics”.
4. Choose a topic from the Featured Topics list. GitHub will list all public repositories matching the selected topic. You can also choose to filter repositories based on programming language, sort by most stars, and more.
5. Click the desired repository.
6. Navigate to the “Code” tab.
7. Click on the “Code” button on the right. A drop-down list should appear.
8. In the “Clone” menu, under the “HTTPS” tab, click on “Download ZIP”
The chosen repository will be downloaded as a ZIP file. Once the repository is installed on your device, use the “README.md” file for installation and usage instructions.
To note: It is not always possible to download private repositories from GitHub, as they are only visible to the owners and collaborators of the repository.
If you want to contribute to a project and make changes to the original code, creating a repository is the way to go. According to GitHub, “a fork repository differs from a clone in that there is a connection between your fork and the original repository itself.”
Forking lets you experiment with or modify a file on your computer without affecting the original repository. You can choose to submit changes to the original repository through pull requests, which are subject to approval by the project owner. Keep in mind that you need an active GitHub account to access fork and pull request functionality.
How to create a repository on GitHub
It is relatively easy to create a project on GitHub. Here’s how.
1. On GitHub, navigate to the public repository of your choice.
2. Click “Fork” in the upper right corner.
A copy of the original repository will be saved to your GitHub account. Then you will create a clone of the fork locally on your computer so that the changes remain local on your system. Use the following steps to create a local clone of your fork:
1. Hover over your Github username to view the repositories.
2. Navigate to the desired fork or clone of a repository.
3. Click on “Code” above the list of files.
4. Click the Copy File URL icon in the clone menu under “Clone with HTTPS” to copy the URL.
5. Change the current working directory to your preferred directory.
6. Type “git clone” and paste the URL you copied earlier. For example, to clone the Spoon-Knife repository, use the following command line: “$ git clone https://github.com/YOUR-USERNAME/Spoon-Knife”
7. Press “Enter”.
You now have a local copy of the fork of your desired repository. When you are done making local changes, you can push your local branch to GitHub by issuing a pull request.
Finally, GitHub also allows you to download an archive of your account data. Below are the instructions.
How to download an archive of your GitHub data
1. Go to your “Account Settings” page.
2. In the “Export account data” section, click “Start export”. GitHub will now send a download link to your primary email address.
3. Click the download link in your email and re-enter your password if prompted
By default, GitHub bundles your account data into a tar.gz file. The download link will automatically expire after seven days. GitHub stores repositories and profile metadata as part of personal account activity.
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