What is GitHub and Why Should I Use It?

Interested in learning about version control? Keep reading.

Software developers.
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GitHub is a repository hosting service. Think of it as the "cloud" for code. 

GitHub will host your source code projects in a variety of different programming languages and keep track of the various changes made to every iteration. It is able to do this by using git, a revision control system that runs in the command line interface.

Using GitHub has numerous benefits including easier collaboration with colleagues and peers, ability to look back on previous versions, and tons of easy integration options. 

Why Should I Use GitHub?

Four reasons why you should use GitHub on your coding projects. (If you aren’t already yet.)  

Reason #1: Have your code reviewed by the community

Your project is a skeleton - it does what you want it to do, but you’re not always sure how the wider population will implement it. Or if it even works for everyone.

Fortunately for you, if you post your project on GitHub, the wider community of programmers and hobbyists can download and, as a result, evaluate your work. This means they can give you a heads-up on possible issues such as conflicts or unforeseen dependency issues, etc.  

Reason #2: GitHub is a repository

This was already mentioned before, but it’s important to note– GitHub is a repository.

What this means that it allow your work to get out there in front of the public. Moreover, GitHub is one of the largest coding communities around right now, so it’s wide exposure for your project. (And more importantly: you.)

Unless you have some big backing, you’d be silly to not post your project onto GitHub if you want the most people viewing it at any time.

Reason #3: Collaborate and track changes in your code across versions

Much like using Microsoft Word or Google Drive, you can have a version history of your code so that previous versions are not lost with every iteration.

GitHub also tracks changes in a changelog, so you can have an exact idea of what is changed each time. (This is especially helpful for looking back in time.) 

Reason #4: A ton of integration options

GitHub can integrate with common platforms such as Amazon and Google Cloud, services such as Code Climate to track your feedback, and can highlight syntax in over 200 different programming languages.

What Else Is Out There?

GitHub isn’t the only version control option.

There are other services such as:

These offer a lot of the same things that you can get from GitHub. However, the sheer size of the community should be important to you if you want your project to be seen by as many people as possible.

The other difference is a question of cost:

GitHub only offers private repositories at an additional cost. (Paid on a monthly basis.) A few of the other version control services offer private repositories for free. (However, typically with limited storage/bandwidth.)

Conclusion: Give GitHub a Try

If the above reasons didn’t convince you to check out GitHub for your coding project, then take a look at some of the ways that people have chosen to use GitHub for non-coding purposes, such as travel logging

In the end, GitHub is a powerful tool and can be a powerful ally in making any project of yours the best it can be.