Aug 29, 2020

12 min read

What Is GitHub & Why Do Developers Use It? An Introduction to GitHub

Written by

Vippy The VPS

GitHub is a platform that’s been very popular with the coding community recently. It’s an open-source code hosting site that helps developers store and manage their code. It offers distributed version control through the Git system, as well as its source code management.

As a company, GitHub Inc. has existed since 2008 and has raised millions in investments to this day.

But what exactly does it do that makes it so popular? To understand this, you need to know about the principles it relies upon - namely, version control and Git. Read on to find out all you need to know about it.

What Is Version Control?

The class of systems that helps software developers track and manage changes to computer programs, websites, documents, or other data, is known as version control.

Developers constantly make improvements and changes to a software’s code after creating it. With every update, they come up with a new version of the software’s first officially released code.

The job of version control systems is to maintain these version updates by saving the changes in a central repository, that is, a location where all the files for a particular project are stored. This process makes it easier for developers to work together on the versions. They can download versions from the repository, change them, and re-upload the new version they’ve created. To keep track, these changes stored in the repository can be accessed by other developers at any point.

What Is "Git"?

As the name suggests, the version control system upon which GitHub is based is Git. Git is an open-source system created by Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, back in 2005. Back then, it began as a command-line tool in the Linux kernel.

More specifically, Git is a distributed version control system. It manages software versions just like other version control systems, using a central repository. The difference is that Git, as a distributed system, makes the repository available on every developer’s computer. This means that developers who use distributed version control actually retain a copy of the central repository by cloning it to their own machine.

This system works in a way that lets developers change their own local copies first, and after that, they register these changes to the central server. This procedure makes it easier to work with more detailed changes, because each time a developer wants to enact a change, it isn’t necessary to establish a connection to the server in order to do so. In this way, it also speeds up the working process, even though for developers who’ve always worked with other version control systems it can take some time getting used to.

So, What Is GitHub?

Continue reading this article
by subscribing to our newsletter.
Subscribe now