App Reviews, Programming, Work

GitHub: for a more social independence

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Photo Credit seungjin/Flickr

Those who leave a tech company to venture out on their own may have to face an adjustment in their workflow. No longer will you have someone else prioritizing your tasks for you or even setting release dates.

Fortunately I had spent a few years practicing GTD before I set out on my own again, so it wasn’t difficult for me. Still, there are certain things about the workflow at a software company that you might miss (or maybe you won’t). Even if you’re an independent developer working from home, you can still do it in a way that is actually social.

Some of my previous posts have addressed coding in the cloud. Amazon is great for hosting development or test environments. Stack Overflow, MSDN and jQuery docs are great resources for help and documentation. GitHub is a great place to find open-source code like Chosen, Raphaël, elRTE, Twitter Bootstrap, but it’s also a great place to keep all your project repositories as well as your bugbase.

I had tried Assembla for SVN hosting, but unfortunately you only get one repository on theor opening tier, so you would just have to trust and hope that your clients wouldn’t go snooping around in each others’ directories.

Git is free for unlimited open-source repos. I’m also paying just $7/mo. for five private repositories that I can use for my different clients, and I can set access permissions for each project separately.

Git is a distributed versioning system. This is great for freelancers because once you’re done with a project, whoever else is going to work on it can still have the history without you having to continue host the repository. Any other copies of the repository would still retain all version history when somebody else forks it. So even if your client doesn’t have a centralized versioning system, you can still retain that historical connection with other developers.

Also, git seems to work a lot better than Subversion in my testing (Much faster, and with fewer conflicts). It also comes with bug tracking, and wikis, and their bug tracking feature also has apps for iPhone and Android. You can track the progress of your milestones on the go, and even add comments or new features right from your meetings.

It actually makes bug management fun! When was the last time you actually looked forwarf to getting to spend some time in Bugzilla or OnTime? Never, am I right? I recommend it highly. I’ve turned three of my clients onto it. As for me, I’ll never go back to Bugzilla or OnTime.

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