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Top tips for using GitHub

mishmanners profile image Michelle Mannering ・4 min read

I'm always using GitHub. Yes, I work for GitHub and therefore I'm more likely to use it than others. But I also use GitHub for so many things in my normal daily life. I use GitHub to store and share files. I use project boards to manage my goals. I even use issues to track what LEGO set I'm going to purchase next.

Throughout these various ways I use GitHub, I have picked up some top tips along the way. So when you're using GitHub, try out these top tips.

Keyboard shortcuts

I recently shared some of my favourite GitHub-specific keyboard shortcuts. There are hundreds of keyboard shortcuts. Get familiar with these in order to increase your productivity on GitHub.

Create an awesome GitHub profile

Developers see GitHub as their resume. It's got all your contributions, things you're working on, and starred projects. If you haven't already, setup your GitHub profile Readme. It's an awesome way to showcase your work and show off some of the unique things about you.

Your profile readme is written in markdown, so add anything from gifs, to images, emojis, and more. Here's mine for some inspiration:

Hey everyone, I'm Mish Manners®™, AKA the Hackathon Queen®™ 👋

Everyday, I get to create awesome experiences and engage with the vibrant GitHub developer community. I've run many hackathons, and am an accomplished MC, speaker, and facilitator 🎤. You'll often catch me at an event or speaking on stage!

Find me all around the web:

Watch, read, and catch up on content:

Some Fun Facts about me:

I have an electric scooter company, so check it out over on Raine Scooters. I love playing video games which you'll find over on my Twitch Channel. On my channel I also do…

Manage your notifications

If you haven't seen your notifications in a while, go and check them out. Click the bell up in the top right next to your profile.

Notifications

Once you've cleaned out your notifications think about how you want to manage your notifications. You don't want to miss important information, but you also don't want to be bombarded.

You can filter notifications by repository, organisation, or author to help find what you're looking for. You can also manage notifications for each org to make sure you only see what you need to see.

Choose your mode

One of my favourite new features of GitHub is the various display modes. No longer do you need to use a browser extension to view GitHub in dark mode. Now you can natively choose between light, dark, and the new dimmed mode. Or you can synch the theme to your system. Dark mode is my favourite!

Mode

Collaborate

GitHub is the original "social coding" platform. If you're not collaborating with others, you are missing out on all the goodies of GitHub. There's the usual issue and PRs, but there's also a few other ways to collaborate and work together.

One of my personal favourites is project boards. We use them at GitHub for things like our public road map.

PublicRoadMap

I use them for my own personal goal setting, online shopping, and even holiday planning. There's so many cool ways to use project boards. They are super useful for working across teams of developers and non-developers alike.

Another great collaboration tool is Discussions. These are places for you and your team to have conversations about ideas, questions, showcases, and, well, have a 'discussion'. I've seen some teams even use these for showing off their latest vacation.

Star everything

As you're browsing your way around the internet, especially as a GitHub newbie, start looking for projects hosted on GitHub. For example, if you are searching for a new media player, and you come across VLC check their website and see if they are an open source project. If they are, see if they are on GitHub. If so, go check out their repo. Star it, read it, being to understand it. You'll get a good sense of how people, companies, orgs, and projects are using GitHub.

As a bonus, you'll even start to see suggested projects to follow, star, and contribute to. This is also a great way to find open source projects to be involved in.

Working on GitHub from anywhere

I love working anywhere I like. I also love working the way I want. It's one of the things I love about GitHub. I especially like the various ways I can use GitHub. You've probably been working on GitHub.com, ie. working within the browser. Did you know you can also use GitHub in other ways?

If you're already familiar with the browser version of GitHub, why not branch out? You can also use GitHub via desktop. GitHub Desktop is great for managing files and updates to your repo.

Desktop

Another way to use GitHub is through the terminal. The GitHub CLI is a great way to use GitHub from the command line. You can clone repos, checkout, create issues, and heaps more. It's perfect if you're already working in the terminal and you don't want to leave it.

CLI

If you're working on the go all the time, then you might like GitHub for Mobile. This is perfect if you need to make a comment on an issue, merge a PR, or unblock your team on the go. You don't need to always have your laptop with you and you can even view your notifications from mobile. It's available on iOS and Android and can help with productivity.

More top tips

There are so many top tips when it comes to using GitHub. These are just some of my favourites. I use these pretty much every day. If you want to hear about these direct from me, or you want to listen to some more top tips, check out my "GitHub Like a Boss" session I gave at GitHub Satellite.

What are your top tips? How do you like to use GitHub?

Discussion (6)

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avelino profile image
Avelino

A big part of my day is inside GitHub, maintaining and collaborating on open source projects, the notification management feature is what I use the most to keep track of the issues I need to respond to

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mishmanners profile image
Michelle Mannering Author

Super happy to hear ❤️

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atulcodex profile image
Atul Prajapati

Thanks for sharing 🤠

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mishmanners profile image
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kzzm profile image
Kris M.

Thank you for this article.
I hadn't thought about a more creative form of my profile (like adding gifs) and didn't know about GitHub Discussions.

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mishmanners profile image
Michelle Mannering Author

Oh nice! Glad it was useful

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