Monday, 03 May 2021 00:31

GitHub Deskop 2.8 makes it easier to work with diffs and manage repositories


GitHub's desktop client has been updated, and the new version 2.8 release includes the ability to expand diffs above or below changes to gain more context and other features to create aliases for local repositories and hide whitespace in diffs.

Since GitHub Desktop 2.0 was released in June 2019 the app has reached more than one million active users every month and is now the most widely used desktop Git client in the world. It includes 200 active open source contributors.

The major feature presented by the new version 2.8 is the ability to click to expand the lines above or below a diff - the “difference” between two versions of the same file - to help gain context about the changes menu. You can also expand the whole file via the context menu. Previously, the Desktop client only displayed a few lines around the changes that were made, whether by yourself or another person.

Additionally, the Desktop now allows you to hide whitespace changes, allowing you to focus on meaningful code changes. While this sounds simple, it is a helpful enhancement where a diff contains a lot of whitespace changes, masking the substantive changes that have occurred.

A third new feature allows developers to create aliases for their local repositories so they can easily tell them apart from the list. This is beneficial for developers with more than one copy of a repo. Previously, the way repositories were displayed made it difficult to differentiate between them.

GitHub states the features it includes for development are based on the feedback and contributions it receives from the open-source community. As the product is an open-source project itself, you can be involved too.


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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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