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Mastering GitHub: 9+1 Tips for Beginners to Build a Strong Profile

March 4, 2024

GitHub is a web-based platform allowing developers to store and share their code. It is a powerful tool for collaboration and version control and is used by millions of developers around the world. However, for beginners, GitHub can be a bit overwhelming. In this blog post, we will share 9+1 GitHub tips that will help beginners get started with GitHub.

1. Create a GitHub account

The first step to using GitHub is to create an account. You can sign up for a free account on the GitHub website (github.com). Once you have created an account, you can start exploring the features of GitHub. To create your account, you’ll need to have 3 things:

2. Create a repository

A repository is a place where you can store your code. A repository is usually used to organize a single project. Repositories can contain folders and files, images, videos, spreadsheets, and data sets – anything your project needs. Often, repositories include a README file, a file with information about your project.

3. Clone a repository

Cloning a repository from GitHub.com to your local computer allows for easy resolution of merge conflicts, addition or removal of files, and pushing of larger commits. This involves copying the repository in its entirety, including all versions of files and folders up to that point in time. The changes made can be pushed to the remote repository on GitHub.com or pull updates made by others. Cloning can be done on existing repositories, either your own or someone else’s for contributing to a project.

4. Create a branch

A branch is a copy of the code in your repository that allows you to make changes without affecting the main codebase. Creating a branch enables having different versions of a repository simultaneously. The main branch is the default and definitive branch, but additional branches can be created from it. Branches are useful for adding new features to a project without altering the main code, and changes made on branches won’t affect the main branch until merged. Branches can also be used to experiment and edit before committing to the main branch. Creating a branch involves making a snapshot of the main branch at that moment, and any updates made to the main branch can be incorporated later.

5. Make and commit changes

It’s possible to modify and store changes to files in your repository, and on GitHub, these saved changes are referred to as commits. Each commit comes with a corresponding commit message, which explains the rationale behind a specific alteration. These messages serve as a record of your modification history, enabling other collaborators to comprehend your actions and reasons for them.

6. Open a pull request

Pull requests are the heart of collaboration on GitHub. Through opening a pull request, you’re presenting your changes and soliciting a review, requesting that your modifications be pulled and merged into their branch. Diffs, or distinctions, between the contents of both branches, are visible in pull requests, illustrating changes, additions, and deletions in various colors.

7. Merge a pull request

When submitting a pull request, you suggest that modifications made to a head branch be integrated into a base branch. Unless there’s a conflict between the two branches, pull requests can generally be merged at any point.

8. Use issues

Issues are a way to track bugs, feature requests, and other tasks in your repository. If you reference an issue in another issue or pull request, the issue’s timeline will display the cross-reference, allowing you to keep tabs on related tasks. Additionally, to indicate that work is underway, you can link an issue to a pull request, and when the pull request is merged, the related issue will automatically be closed.

9. Use GitHub Pages

You can use GitHub Pages to host a website about yourself, your organization, or your project directly from a repository on GitHub.com. GitHub Pages is a hosting service for static websites that retrieves HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files directly from a repository on GitHub, and can even run them through a build process before publishing the site.

+1 Use Git commands

Git commands allow you to manage your repository from the command line. To use Git commands, you need to install Git on your computer. Once you have Git installed, you can use commands like “git add”, “git commit”, and “git push” to manage your repository.

In conclusion, GitHub is a powerful tool for developers, and these 9+1 tips will help beginners get started with GitHub. Let’s start collaborating with other developers and building great projects.