Toward a next generation of GitHub

GitHub is a unique place to develop open software, mostly because of its standard features (such as the Issues list for each project) and its comprehensive support for Git distributed software development.

But its current interface is way too minimal. For example, the only visible standard documentation that is supported is the README.md file (with an optional Wiki that is not much used). Believe it or not, there is no standard Download mechanism in GitHub, in spite of the fact that most GitHub projects actually build a product capable of being downloaded. This lack results in variability of the experience when visiting a GitHub project for the first time, ranging from a complete lack of documentation, through puzzling hints as to project functionality, to beautiful descriptions that make use of the MD format to introduce the reader to project concepts and deliverables.

For program libraries that implement an API, there is no standard API documentation mechanism (which could be shared with one of the major language library APIs and simplified for use by all API-type projects).

These ideas are all obvious, but there are even more standard design, implementation, and documentation mechanisms that could be supported.

Why not work toward a next-generation version of GitHub, that would provide even deeper support for open software development?

For example, in addition to ideas like the above, why not create an alliance with one of the many free browser-based IDE/code playground websites (ranging from PasteBin at the low end to CodePen, JSFiddle, LineWeave, and others at the high end) so that GitHub can interoperate with actual code development? Or even better, support several of these code playground sites, so that the user can choose their favorite?

And I’ll bet there are already lists of user-supplied suggestions for additional great features right here on this forum.

The closer and more standardized the integration of additional features, the easier open software development can become.

David Spector
Springtime Software

1 Like

Hi @david263,

Thank you for being here and thank you for taking the time to write such an insightful and detailed post. 

I’ve logged your feature requests in our internal feature request list. Though I can’t guarantee anything or share a timeline for this, I can tell you that it’s been shared with the appropriate teams for consideration.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Cheers!