I have helped many people use GitHub, and a huge amount are confused because they can’t figure out how to download files from GitHub. For text files, clicking on “Raw” and saving that text is a functional workaround. However, this is very unintuitive and it’s not something all users should be expected to figure out.
Linus from LinusTechTips got stumped by this: I love Github, BUT... - YouTube
Some quotes from the video:
Linus: “Why is this an HTML file? Why is it that the way that I acquire this script is to copy-paste it into Kate and then save it as that extension and then run it? Why is it so ass-backwards?”
Luke: “Everyone’s calling you stupid because you didn’t click get Raw. […] but it’s just one of those things […] it’s a user experience thing, like […] if you’re very used to GitHub, yeah it’s not a big deal, but if you’re a new user to GitHub, it is genuinely an odd experience to get things from GitHub.”
Linus: “Ok so here ok so Raw does… I still have to copy paste it! What are you talking about? Unless you right, I guess you could right-click and save link as… save link as .sh file, is that going to be a proper script? Or is that just going to be another HTML file?”
Luke: “The answer is: add a download button.”
Linus: “The answer is: why isn’t there a download button and why wasn’t there a download button many years ago. That’s the answer.”
Luke: “[That] would make it, way more obvious, yeah.”
Linus: “Oh man. It’s mindblowing.”
GitHub needs to add a “Download” button next to “Raw” that allows users to easily download individual files. I’ve had many people confused by this, which I treated as flukes and just ignored the problem and guided them through, and now Linus from LinusTechTips was confused by it which really shows that this doesn’t just affect non-technical users. Adding a “Download” button should have been done a long time ago. I highly recommend that GitHub adds a “Download” button.