Creative Uses for GitHub

GitHub is an amazingly powerful platform. I was slow to jump in and use it (preferring my local dev environments more), but once I did I can’t imagine going back. It has had a huge impact of programming, developing collaboratively, and how open source projects are managed.

The platform can be used for so much more than a code repository. And given that most of the features on GitHub can be used for free, it’s a great option for side projects and quick ideas. Let’s highlight some of the uses for GitHub outside of programing and coding.

Ask Me Anything (AMA) - Popularized by Reddit, user Sindre Sorhus used GiHub to host is own Ask Me Anything. Using the Issues feature in GitHub, users were able to post issues/questions in the AMA repository and Sindre would respond.

Blogging (sans Jekyll) - GitHub has a blogging engine built into it’s GitHub Pages platform. Users can use Jekyll (that’s how this site is powered). But I still count that as a coding project, as it takes some effort. User Luke Gorrie, was able to get a blog running with no coding. Creating a repository called Blog, Luke posts regular updates in the issues section. Followers are able to get updated when new posts are published and comment on them. The tagging feature, also let’s the posts be organized and filtered.

Podcast Feedback - The Ladybug Podcast has a repository for their website and encourage people to use issues to submit ideas, requests, or feedback. The community is able to write anything they like, and see responses from the team.

Writing - Many users have used GitHub to write and publish their books. The version history and collaborative features make it a great platform for long form writing. Some good examples of this are You Don’t Know JS and Pro Git. Both of these authors published their work through GitHub. This makes is publicly available for other people to read, download, adapt, and provide feedback on the work.

I have been inspired by many of these examples and have been writing and will publish my book on GitHub.

Awesome Lists - GitHub has a wealth of resources and information outside of coding. Awesome Lists are a collection of some of the best lists in a wide variety of topics. Some of my favorites include; Book Authoring, IT Quotes, Creative Commons Media, and Remote Jobs.

Company Documents - Basecamp used GitHub to share their entire Employee Handbook. This makes it visible even to perspective employees. It also does a nice job of showing changes over time. Automattic also does a great job of this with their legal documents. I have used a few of these documents as templates in the past.

Journal - Julien Blanchard has a great write up showing how you can use GitHub as a daily journal. You are able to create an issue template to set your daily routines and use labels to mark your productivity for the day. It’s a really creative system and worth taking a look.

Based on these examples, Issues is a very underrated part of GitHub. It can be used for a white variety of things, and provides a great social layer to the repository.

Have you come across other unique uses of GitHub? If so, please share. Maybe we will created a new Awesome List.

Want to discuss? Message me on Twitter (@swoicik) or at stephen [at] woicik.me

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