September 15, 2013 by
Through dubious television coverage on GitHub, some publicity on technology-supported collaboration have surfaced. Business Insider reported:
Fox Business tried to use a bunch of coder lingo in a report on social coding startup GitHub — and failed. [....]
The coders and developers over on Hacker News have been dissecting the video all day.
While there is technology involved, the challenge is better described as a change in style on collaboration around artifacts. In an interview at Disrupt SF 2013, Tom Preston-Werner, co-founder of Github, said:
It’s looking more about what’s possible in the world of collaboration. It’s more about people’s behaviour. It’s more about what they’re doing.
If people are using e-mail a lot, to share documents back and forth, this is a huge problem. The work that people do needs to be next to the communication they do. This is our vision for the future. And this is why Github puts communication mechanisms, pull requests, like having discussions around work changes, and being able to document them, put them next to the files that people are working on. Most often it’s code, but put those things together.
The challenge, the real competitor is behavioral. It’s the technologies in general that we’re using, and e-mail primarily. It’s getting people away from the mentaliity that everything can be accomplished via e-mail, and that’s the best solution. That is not the best solution, for most problems. It closes things down.
- Tom Preston-Werner | On Breaking Down Walls | Sept. 11, 2013 | Disrupt SF 2013
This web video led to presentation of an opportunity, and criticism, by Lauren Orsini. GitHub is focused primarily on software development, although it the technology could be advantageous in broader contexts.
Here’s a secret: GitHub isn’t just for writing code. Too bad GitHub doesn’t seem to care.
If you’re not a developer and you’ve heard of GitHub at all, you probably only know it as an online space where developers work together on coding projects—one that’s only useful to the geekiest sector of the population.
But GitHub is actually an incredibly useful tool that could be used to organize any group project online. And the day that “regular” people begin adopting it is closer than you think.
On Wednesday, GitHub CEO Tom Preston-Werner said normals are welcome to join the party. “We want to make [non-development] use cases possible,” he said at the TechCrunch Disrupt 2013 conference. “Now, we still optimize GitHub for software developers. This is something that’s very important to us. Software is the future of the world.”
With a lackluster welcome like that, you could be forgiven for not rushing to sign up for an account right this instant. From a technical standpoint, though, GitHub isn’t at all specific to code projects. It’s open to anyone. If only GitHub made more of an effort to make those others feel more welcome.
I had previously looked at GitHub when I noticed that Ward Cunningham (the original inventor of the wiki) has been hosting the Federated Wiki project on Github. I played around with it enough to get a basic appreciation of the technology. Other non-technical people might appreciate a bit of a primer.
- 1. What is Git, and GitHub?
- 2. What is the promise of Github, in changing the way workers collaborate?
- 3. Are there alternative to the Github technology?
While Github is the most advanced way for developers to track changes in code, features of real-time collaboration for non-technical professionals first emerging in Google Wave (now Apache Wave) have shown up in Google Docs and IBM Docs. Read more... (3225 words, 2 images, estimated 12:54 mins reading time)
1. What is Git, and GitHub?