February 09, 2015
I never saw the need to use git or github. The dev process at my day job didn’t allow us to use any version control system. Most of my solo projects are just me solo in an environment I haven’t had the need to collaborate on with anything in a long time.
I had a little file issue with my Mac and my local setup just went away. Files were damaged; it was a big problem. Weeks on a Wordpress theme just down the drain.
I had a github account for there code snippet system “gists,” but I had no open repos or anything like that. It was not part of my workflow at all.
For my next project, I started using it with the command line. It was hard for me to remember all the syntax and get the performance I wanted right away.
I decided to use the Github Mac App. Now, I know some people are squirming at the prospect of using a GUI for a task such as git. But, it really broke down the barrier of entry for me and allowed me to get the process into my workflow. It was easy to open the app and type a message and make it sync. Using the command was not part of my process yet, and the app really helped me get it into my system.
Once you start getting really comfortable with the process, you can move to the command line to get a more robust set of options and settings.
Github has another feature that gives it a killer reason to add to your workflow, and that is Github pages. Pages solves a huge problem that I have when working on a project. It allows you to turn your project into a shareable URL.
Before we go any further, we need to talk about Branches. Each repository can have multiple branches of the same project. So you start off with a “master,” and you can break it off into a working branch or an experimental branch if you want to get weird with your project, or you can work straight off the master.
When you host your project on github, all you have to do is push code to a branch of gh-pages, and you have a working url and project site.
Another great usage is keeping all of your “todo’s” in one stop. You can make a new “issue” on your github page to keep all of your upcoming fixes in one spot and can easily allow others to add and give you feedback on the project.
Also, github is everywhere these days. People are building businesses on top of it. There are apps to expand on your gists, issues, and history. There are other ways to host your git histories. But, sometimes it is easy to start with the most popular. The documentation and process is clear and well released. There is even a way to take your github repos and use it to host your sites with paperplane.io.
There is no reason to not start using git and using it today. If the command line scares you, get the app and start pushing, synching, branching, and forking.
Written by John Siwicki who lives and works building interesting things. You should follow him on Twitter