CrimsonTome's blog

A ramble about GitHub


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A ramble about GitHub by someone fairly new to it

(This may become a series of posts on GitHub)

First, a little background information

A few years ago, back when I was in secondary school doing some group Python programming in year 9 I though to myself something like: This is interesting, working in a team on different parts then compiling them all together. But working on it all at the same time is a bit awkward to do. Is there a better way of doing this?
Introducing GitHub, the answer to all my questions. Sadly I only found out about GitHub's purpose years later once I was in college, and even then I never used it to contribute to open-source projects with others. I just browsed through lots of programs and just thought it was a place to archive code.

What about now?

Fast forward a few years to September 2021 and I had began to use GitHub 'properly', forking repos and making my own versions of things alongside working with others on communal projects like the Freeside Student Resource List and adding my blog to HullBlogs. Even the site you're looking at now relies on GitHub to run as Netlify fetches all the data is needs from the repository. I can honestly say it feels a bit like magic, the difference between contributing to projects years ago in secondary school and now is like night and day. It's always better when there's a community of people there to help you out, and for you to help yourself. For me that's Freeside at Hull. I've met a lot of people that have helped me get started with GitHub, setting up projects (this site in particular) and it's wonderful to feel like you're all part of a community. Anyway, I'm getting a bit sidetracked, what does GitHub allow you to do?
As mentioned, GitHub allows you to contribute to open-source projects. If you don't own the repository you want to contribute to this will mean it forking (making a personal copy) it, making your changes and then submitting a pull request (asking those with write access to 'pull' your changes into the main project). If all goes well your changes will be accepted and your work will now be part of something much larger. GitHub has its own resources on how to get started and also a cheat sheet.
If you happen to be a University of Hull student and don't already know about it, the Student Resource List mentioned above is full of lots of handy materials.
If you're looking for projects to contribute to https://www.firsttimersonly.com/ has a list of sites that compile projects looking for new users/those with less experience. Have a scroll through and after some time (depending on what you want to make and your skill level with what is needed) you should find something you'd be interested in. Usually a repo will have a CONTRIBUTING.md file containing guidelines on how to make a pull request, so make sure you pay attention to it or your request may be denied.

Enjoy this new found power, welcome to GitHub.