Getting started with Git

If you browse the projects hosted here, you'll notice many of them have source code links to GitHub. This is one of the most popular Internet sites for hosting projects, usually software projects, but not only - really anything you can save in a file on your computer. The name comes from GIT, a widely used system for keeping track of changes to text files. It was specially designed for complex software projects, and works well at any scale. If you're a programmer, chances are you've used it by now. If not, imagine a Dropbox with some additional features to make working on projects online more effective and fun.

You don't need to be a programmer to use top notch Internet collaboration tools! We like GitHub especially because it's easy to use, accessible from everywhere, and is social in the way we're already used to. If everyone uses one place to store their notes, code, sketches and data, hackathons can run more efficiently. You can quickly create an account, configure your computer, and within minutes make contributions to projects in a way that is really transparent and easy to follow - whether you are sitting next to your team members, or contributing from half way around the world.

For example, check out the list of latest commits to the Transport API project. You can see who has been working on it lately, what they have been doing, and even the line-by-line changes to every file. All at a glance.

Since GitHub is also a social network, it is easy to follow projects, people and groups and receive the freshest info on a dashboard. Once you have a GitHub project, let us know and we will fork it to the OpendataCH group to give it extra visibility. You can also use this syntax to add a beautiful widget to your wiki page:

<GITHUB myusername/my-repository>

While we sometimes use GitHub's built-in wikis to document our projects, we still make sure to add a project page to this wiki to give our efforts extra visibility, and keep the projects going at least here in the Swiss open data community. That's where the widget above comes in, to tie the two together.

If you're completely new to GIT, have no fear. There are several high quality GUIs (like Atlassian Sourcetree and GitHub's own program for Mac and Windows) that make it a point-and-click excersize, and excellent guides for beginners which will introduce you to the main advanced features quickly:

And feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions, we'll be very happy to help :)

  • information/github.txt
  • Last modified: 2013/09/14 11:53
  • by loleg