GitHub is a powerful collaboration, code review, and code management for open source and private projects. GitHub started in April of 2008, but since then has accumulated over 3.5 million users and more than 6 million repositories.Since the core features of GitHub are code collaboration, review and management, it can be a powerful tool for your website. It can help manage your website now and in the future.

You’re website’s code will be managed within a repository. A repository is a storage location from which you can send code to and from.

Here are my ideas of how you can and why you should use GitHub for the success of your website:

Collaboration

You can manage your website’s code yourself or add people, such as a web designer or a web developer, to help you manage your website’s code. You can also get your visitors involved if your repository is public – through the issues tracker and wiki.

Code Review

Every time an update is made to your website, a history of the changes, per file, is created and which you can review. So, you know what was added or subtracted and when the changes were made.

If a mistake is made or if you don’t like the changes, you can revert back to the previous version, so you never have to worry about losing a good version ever again.

GitHub File History

Management

Each repository also comes with many other features. Some major ones that you can use are: issues tracking and wiki.

Issues Tracking

The issues tracker allows you, your team or visitors to submit tickets about issues your website has. Each issue can be classified as:

  1. Bug
  2. Duplicate issue
  3. Enhancement
  4. Invalid
  5. Question
  6. Won’t Fix

Why is this important? Because it allows you, your team and even your visitors to make your website better. If there is an error, an individual can submit a bug, or if a visitor wants X, they can let you know or if a visitor can’t find something, they can let you know.

In addition, you can set milestones. So let’s say you are planning a website redesign, you can use the milestones to create a set of items you want completed before the new design goes live.

You can also use milestones for creating new features and functionality. Let’s say you have a travel website, which allows visitors to search for cheap domestic and international flights, and you want to add a new feature, like booking of hotels with the flights at the same time. Another example is using milestones for creating and ad platform for your website.

And because of GitHub’s powerful collaboration everyone can submit comments for the issues.

GitHub Issues Tracking

Wiki

Create a wiki so you have documentation of how-to use your website. You can add things like setting up a server, how-to use the search feature, etc… You can use this for yourself, your team or your visitors; your team may develop a new feature that then he or she can create a wiki article about how-to use.

Possibility of Outside Help

If you make your code public, minus passwords, etc… there maybe programmers that are willing to help your website, by submitting code, this is done through a pull request. So, there is potential of building your website with outside help.

Public vs. Private Repository

GitHub allows you to create two (2) different types of repository: public or private.

Public Repository

With a public repository, your code will be open for anyone to see. You can see this maybe a security risk, but what you can do is remove usernames and passwords from the code before committing (submitting).

You can also not submit any code and just use the repository for the issues tracking and wiki!

Private Repository

A private repository is just that, private, meaning only you and people you add to collaborate that see the code. Though, a private repository is not free. Pricing starts out at $7 / month for personal accounts and $25 / month for organization accounts.

Public and Private Repositories

The next idea is to create two (2) repositories: one (1) public and one (1) private. Where the public repository does not contain any code, instead you are using it for individuals to submit issues via issues tracker and the wiki.

The private repository is where you will keep your code, so nobody has access to the code and you and or your team can have your own issues tracker and wiki.

Since neither repository can have the same name, you can use: yourdomain.com as the public repository name and yourdomain.com-private as the private repository name or something along those lines.

Add to Your Website

If you have a public repository and want your visitors the possibility to contribute, add a link to the repository on your website. You can keep it simple by adding a text link to the footer of your website.

Software to Help You Manage Your Code

GitHub is based on the software Git. Git is a distributed revision control and source code management (SCM) system. To manage your repository you think you’d server administration skills. While, you don’t. Git is managed through the command line, but GitHub has developed GitHub Windows, which is a desktop software with a graphical user interface (GUI), so you don’t need to know any commands.

GitHub Windows is an easy point and click software, just like any other software program on your desktop and GitHub has documentation files to help.