When people think open source software development, GitHub will soon be the first thought through their mind (if it’s not already). This collaborative software-development tool is quickly becoming the standard for friends, companies, teams, communities, and groups of strangers to build software together. The open source community has always represented collaboration and contributing to something bigger than themselves. GitHub excels by combining these elements and enabling brilliant developers around the world to collaborate and develop at a breakneck speed.
“If the barrier to collaboration is too high, then you’re not gonna do it,” says GitHub co-founder Tom Preston-Werner. “But once you get that barrier low enough, once you pass a certain threshold, everybody’s contributing.”
I’ll do my best to breakdown how GitHub works. A developer can create a repository for their project; which is the home for development and management of the code. Other developers can contribute to the repository by creating a “fork” off of the source and add to, yet not change the original, code. This fork can remain a different version or eventually be inherited/adopted in the source, but the decision is up to the owner. There are places for community discussion and other collaborative tools that make the project easy to review, maintain and update.
Why GitHub? Why open source? When someone decides to create software, they never have to start from scratch when using open source. Developers can use other open source projects to build on top of their own project and create software much quicker (someone has already done the work for you). Or, developers can request collaboration from the community to contribute to their project(s). This new opportunity for scaling rapidly by leveraging existing projects and other talented developers is another reason the open source solution is becoming more appealing to companies everywhere. GitHub provides a platform where developers can do all of this in one place!
“The network effect is awesome,” Preston-Werner says, “There are standards now based on GitHub, so everybody can come in to a new project and immediately know how to get the code, how to contribute code, how to review the code, how to submit issues to the code base…. The more people do that, the stronger the effects and the gains from having a uniform, well-known, standardized system. And that’s happening really, really rapidly.”
SmartFile’s software is built on an open source API hosted on GitHub. SmartFile embraces the open source community with open arms and continues to contribute locally through open source programming competitions. SmartFile believes that its contribution, participation, and hosting on GitHub will only make the software bigger, better, and stronger. Check SmartFile out and create a fork for yourself!