Tech Thursday: Difficulties Using GitHub

We can all agree that GitHub is a really robust and complex product and all of us have most likely struggled with one thing or another whilst using it so I’d like to know today what do you find difficult about using GitHub?

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I think the hardest part for me was determining where to start and what to focus on as there are so many components that go into GitHub like Pages, Discussions, and Actions. I think start with the basics and work your way up as you feel comfortable, giving yourself lots of grace. I believe it was you @ossanna16 who said when I first started that it is really hard to break things in GitHub and you can always go back!

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This is a pretty good point. I know that when I’m trying to learn something new it can be hard if the thing has been around for a long time because it will have gained features by the time I start to learn it. And learning materials tend to assume you’re already familiar with the basics (and only spend time talking about the recently added features).

This is happening to me with Java lately. I started programming in different languages so I didn’t start learning how to use Java professionally until very recently. I find myself struggling to learn the basics of it like how to use the build tools, how to work with JSON, etc because the learning materials focus on modern stuff. They’ll say stuff like “you know how you used to have to x? now you can y!” and I’m thinking like “well sure but what is x”.

I’ve been using GitHub since before Pages, Discussions, Actions, and other features like the unified notifications page and security vulnerability scanning were added. I find GitHub easy to work with because I’ve had time to digest these things slowly as they were added. But I realize now I should be understanding if someone were to tell me GitHub was hard to learn. People often learn GitHub at the same time as they learn Git. I can see this being one of the trickier tools to learn nowadays for new devs.

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I totally agree! I was lucky enough to work with some very supportive colleagues when my Git & GitHub journey began. They pointed me to the GitFlow tutorial to understand branching, and then gave me a handful of commands to start docs reviews. The initial challenge was figuring out how GitFlow actually worked in relation to our internal repos. Initially, I was scared to break the repo (even though I was only doing docs changes :wink: ).

I appreciate not everyone is comfortable with Git command-line. I spent some time following tutorials on LinkedIn Learning before working on a live repo. That really helped to build my confidence. It was only after that I realized there are GitHub Learning Labs :roll_eyes:. Still learning… :nerd_face:

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Jumping from one object to another in the GitHub API.

You can find lots of people struggling in github.community trying to get from
https://docs.github.com/en/actions/learn-github-actions/environment-variables
to some other thing, e.g.

Sometimes it has taken me months to figure out some of these.

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