Some tips and tricks to make the most of your Github experience
Originally published here
This article compiles some useful tips and hacks that I have discovered over time while using Github. These have been gathered from various sources over time. I have filtered out the ones that were too familiar to avoid repetition. I’m sure you’ll find the list useful, and you might like to use them in your day-to-day work.
There are times when we want to edit a code directly via the Github repository instead of cloning it to our local environment first. There are two ways to do it.
Github’s Web-based editor
The web-based editor is a free, lightweight editor environment to create and commit code changes directly from your repository. You can open any GitHub repository in the web-based editor in the following ways:
- Pressing the dot ( . ) key while browsing any repository on GitHub.
- Change the URL from
Opening GitHub Jupyter Notebooks directly in Colab
You can also open a Github notebook directly in Colab. Replace
githubtocolab in the URL, leaving everything else untouched. This opens the same notebook in Colab.
A README is a markdown file in a Github repository to let others know the scope and other details of the project. Some things included in a readme file are — contribution guidelines, code of conduct, working of the project, etc.
Generating README files automatically.
There is a handy tool called readme.so that can help you create and customize your READMEs easily. It is a simple editor wherein you simply need to click on a section to edit the content, and the section gets added to your readme.
Creating a profile-level README
You can also customize your GitHub profile page to include information that you would like to showcase. The Github profile Readme is a public repository containing a README.md file and appears at the top of your profile page. All the content you want to showcase on your Github page should be included in this README.md file. However, there are few points to keep in mind:
- The name of the repository should match your GitHub username. For example, if your username is
octo, the repository name must be
- The repository should be public.
- There should be a README.md file in the root of the repository, and it should be populated with some content.
Check out matiassingers/awesome-readme for inspiration on some cool READMEs.
Now let’s look at helpful browser extensions and apps for Github.
Octotree is a browser extension that enhances GitHub code review and exploration. It helps you navigate directories and open files with a familiar tree-like structure.
Octoclairvoyant is a tool to filter and compare GitHub changelogs across multiple releases in a single view. It makes it easy to spot which version introduced specific changes, along with a host of other advantages.
Github URL Shortener
Github has its own URL shortener called Git.io to shorten the URL of any Github repository.
This section includes some formatting tips helpful in creating wikis and documentation.
<kbd> tags to make text appear like a button
You can convert text into a button-like format by including the
<kbd> tags. This comes in handy while writing documentation.
Pressing the <kbd> .</kbd> key while browsing any repository on GitHub.
Magic Markdown tables
Table-magic is an open-source tool that allows you to easily and quickly convert between several table formats, including CSV, TSV, Markdown, SQL, and HTML.
Finally, to end the article, there is an excellent visualization project from Github.
The Github Octo project is a way to auto-generate a bird’s-eye-view of codebases and understand how our code is structured. The figure below is a visualization of the H2O-3 repository from H2O.ai. You can click on Try it out for yourself!
These were some of the Github hacks that I have found helpful. I’m sure there’ll be others that you have encountered, and it’ll be great if you could list them in the comments so that I can add them to this article. It is sometimes good to learn about some lesser-known facts of a tool. If you found this article helpful, I have written a similar piece on working with Colab. Don’t forget to check it out.