Thursday, 14 November 2019 20:55

GitHub Actions now available for all, mobile app coming, and more

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Global open-source software lifecycle platform, GitHub, commenced its annual conference with a raft of announcements aimed at improving developer’s daily experiences and removing blocks.

Nat Friedman, GitHub CEO, took to the stage at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco to kick off GitHub Universe 2019, the company’s annual conference and its first since the acquisition by Microsoft in late 2018.

"Open source has won," Friedman said, stating GitHub has 40 million developers using the platform, with 10 million new within 2019. Three million organisations use GitHub, including more than half of the Fortune 100.

"If you told someone 20 years ago that by 2020 the dominant paradigm for software development is strangers volunteering for free online and their code downloaded and used in production, people would say that is crazy - software is written by companies,” he said. “Yet every time you pull out your phone, go to an app, visit a website, start a car, you’re using open-source software.”

"We predict 100 million developers on GitHub by 2025," Friedman said.

GitHub Actions
With such a large user base GitHub has the opportunity and power to make developer’s lives easier. Each moment of friction it can reduce or remove is time saved over and over, for every developer, potentially numerous times per day.

This is the basis behind GitHub Actions which was announced at GitHub Universe 2018. The good news this year is it’s out of beta and now in general availability for all GitHub users everywhere.

GitHub Actions automates workflows and can be triggered from any event on GitHub. The actions could be something simple like tagging an issue that has been logged, or something more sophisticated like matrix builds - where GitHub can automatically package and deploy multiple versions of your application. For example, targeting Node.js versions 8 and 10, and deploying to Google Cloud, AWS and Azure all at once. Once the action is set up the developer simply checks their code in as normal and the actions fire by themselves.

Actions can be edited as YML files and, to assist, GitHub now includes YML auto-completion directly in the editor.

GitHub Desktop
GitHub has made available a GUI app for Windows and Mac OS X with built-in best practices and support for GitHub Enterprise Server.

"We want to save millions of developers time which really adds up. We don’t just shave seconds off each commit, we make sure you don’t have to do things at all,” said Neha Batra, Manager, Software Engineering.

Using GitHub Desktop users can manage their code without needing to recall command-line git instructions. Instead the app will perform the necessary work under the hood, chaining together git instructions to ensure a simple and seamless user experience.

GitHub Enterprise
The enterprise version of GitHub now includes, in beta, code review assignment to minimise the time to review and merge. Software managers can assign how many reviewers are required, and whether they should be assigned via round-robin or load balancing policies.

Another enterprise feature is semantic code browsing within the web browser, such as jumping to definitions and finding all references. This is available now for Ruby, Python and Go.

GitHub for Mobile
An outstanding new product announcement is GitHub for mobile, with native iOS and Android apps, and an enhanced iPad experience.

Currently, the iOS version is in beta and interested persons can apply.

The GitHub mobile experience aims to reduce blocking, allowing developers away from their keyboard - at a conference, say - to manage code reviews on-the-go. The app shows the code with highlighted diffs and the user can view issues, review and merge code and generally keep projects moving no matter where they physically are in relation to their desktop or laptop.

GitHub Sponsors
GitHub provided facilities to allow developers to give financial support to other developers in May, across 30 countries. Today GitHub announced this is being expanded to more countries and to project teams.

iTWire spoke with Devon Zuegel, Senior Product Manager, about the drivers behind GitHub Sponsors.

GitHub Archive Program
In partnership with several organisations, GitHub is seeking to preserve open-source software for future generations. On the 2nd of February 2020 - 02/02/2020 no matter how you write your dates - GitHub will archive every active public repository and preserve it in the GitHub Arctic Code Vault.

This is a data repository in the Arctic World Archive (AWA), a very long-term archival facility 250 meters deep in the permafrost of an Arctic mountain in the town of Svalbard, Norway - the northernmost inhabited region in the world.

If you want your code preserved, be sure to keep it active in the lead-up to February 2nd.

The writer is attending GitHub Universe 2019 as a guest of the company.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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