The facts don’t lie. GitHub is a global giant. With around 32 million monthly visitors, this is a software-building platform unlike any other. To get a real sense of its impact, analytics site Alexa currently ranks GitHub as the 49th most popular website in the world. That’s right - after Google, Facebook, YouTube and several other international brands, a hub for software developers, programmers and coders is the most used website on earth. But GitHub’s success goes way beyond impressive raw data. It has quite simply revolutionized programming culture and practice forever.
GitHub has removed the chaos from version control systems
In the pre-GitHub era, there were a number of version control systems which battled valiantly to create a sense of order among the multitude of code changes, new releases and updated versions which are the foundation of software development. None quite succeeded until GitHub. Thanks to an intuitive platform and a great toolset for developers (most recently, allowing users to search projects by topic), GitHub has created the most efficient way yet for developers to store file changes. The result is clean, simple-to-track coding for the first time ever.
GitHub has put the ‘hub’ into software development
Collaboration has long been the essence of software development, especially when it comes to open source coding. However, GitHub has taken this kind of cooperation to a whole new level. It has established an accessible, well-organized central hub, which is overwhelmingly the first address for programmers. GitHub’s central functions are designed to encourage shared growth and to foster collaborative progress. Users can “fork” a new project, effectively adding a new project to an existing one. New “branches” can then be further developed. Meanwhile, creating a “pull request” allows users to gain recognition for a revision. This is hugely significant for tracking code ownership.
GitHub has democratized development
You would have expected the likes of Google and Microsoft to have monopolized the software development space by now. Although both initially created their own platforms, they too are now using GitHub to develop their own projects. In other words, GitHub has levelled the playing field for programmers and developers by creating a space to showcase great projects, wherever they come from. By making projects widely accessible, GitHub makes is easy to see exactly how well developed and precisely how active they actually are. And so, GitHub has created a developers’ meritocracy, where excellent work speaks for itself.
GitHub has brought programming to life
Long gone are the days when you had to wait in anticipation for a release, in order to get the first peek at new software. GitHub has developed what is essentially a staging platform for software development projects. As a result, it allows users to access a work in progress and take in on a ‘test drive.’ Users can actually experience software in development, making the entire process dynamic. This is a massive advantage too for developers themselves, who can publish projects still in development and receive feedback. Imagine a platform which welcomes the very best advice on an unfinished school paper before submitting it? That’s GitHub for developers.
GitHub has made coding more social than ever before
Thanks to GitHub, coding and programming is no longer hidden away, shielded from view among select individuals or elite groups of developers. These projects are out there for everyone to see and discuss. Revisions are debated publicly, projects and products are refined, and critical coding knowledge is amassed. Users can even ‘star’ a project that catches the eye (think Facebook ‘like’). And none of this has come about by chance. GitHub has been developed precisely to allow users to see what other people are working on and what they are connecting to.
GitHub has streamlined remote development
GitHub is a godsend for anyone coordinating a team of developers and programmers working remotely. Because it has become the industry-standard platform, you can be sure that pretty much all coders are well-practised GitHub users, wherever they are based. As such, new team members can be incorporated seamlessly and they can hit the ground running. GitHub is also an excellent recruitment tool – The ‘LinkedIn’ of the software development world. User profiles, resumes and past projects can be viewed at a glance, making it straightforward for team leaders to assess talents.