Learning patterns/Git repository for software

A learning pattern forOnline engagement patterns
Git repository for software
problemDealing with multiple versions of software or components of it can easily become messy
solutionUsing a Git repository, having a clone of it publicly available on a service that is known for its speed and stability solves several challenges, including versioning, speed, attribution, availability and tidiness at once.
created on17 September, 2014

What problem does this solve?

  • Non-transparent code development using funds spent for software is disadvantageous as it does not allow tracking activity and progress by the grant maker.
  • Collaborative software engineering easily becomes messy without a source code management system.
  • Most source code management systems require an internet connection to submit.
  • A good way to find out which solution is the best is try&fail but most source code management systems do not have the concept of offline-branches.

What is the solution?


Git and having a repository online, publicly available.

General considerations

  • Git is probably less intuitive to use than SVN or other popular source code revision management systems. It comes with a lot of features but also has a steep learning curve.
  • All contributors who want to contribute will have to have a basic understanding how to use Git in order to submit a patch or to clone a repo in order to test.
  • Review & Merge frequently if you have multiple collaborators. Otherwise you'll run into merge conflicts and manual re-basing can consume enormous parts of your time.
  • GitHub Desktop is an easy, GUI-based tool for new users who are unfamiliar with Git commands. This may reduce the learning curve involved.

When to use

  • Almost all bigger successful opensource projects host their source code with either git or SVN now: MediaWiki, DokuWiki, WordPress, Drupal.


  • GitHub is especially useful, as it does not only enable version control and external contributions, but also a lightweight yet effective system to manage technical activities.[1][2][3][4] It also integrates issue tracking and feature requests, providing a platform for developers, volunteers, and users to collaborate.[5] On GitHub, you can create an organization[6] to organize all your repository under a common umbrella that will make your project more recognizable and not tied to a single user. You can add team members with different roles that can have different permissions on the repositories of the organization.
  • Wikimedia's Gerrit installation can be used for easy integration with existing infrastructure, including linking to bug reports on Phabricator, translation via Translatewiki.net, easily set up continuous integration, documentation generation on doc.wikimedia.org, and more.[7]

See also