Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Getting Started with Open Source Control



Sharing code is sharing knowledge. I strongly believe that one of the key problems of our current technology usage is that it serves more businesses and money making goals than technology innovation and human well being. I know that it sounds utopic (or as someone pointed out during a discussion, a bit communist – yes, the guy was just an asshole).

Anyway, one thing you can do is share knowledge and share code for free. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everybody should give up their intellectual property and ideas, but  if you have something that makes coding easier or technology easier and better, you will do much more sharing the code than in any other way.

Currently there are a few communities that allows you to become part of this knowledge sharing initiative. The two top ones are Github and Codeplex. If you are a .NET guy like me and use Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server, I would recommend to use Codeplex. If you want to get started with GIT or are already a GIT user, you will be better off with Github.

Now, on this post, I’ll try to give you a really quick step list to get started with GIT and setup your Github account.

You will find most of what you need on the Github Help Pages, so make sure to check them out!

  1. Create your Github account
  2. Setup GIT
  3. Create a repository for your project in Github
  4. Clone the repository to your machine
  5. Add the project files
  6. Commit the new files
  7. Push the new files to the Github repo
  8. Validate that the files were committed successfully into your repo
  9. Share your repo URL

And you are basically done. You have your new Github account that allows you to commit your project’s code (which gives you a nice backup) and share the code with the technology community. It also allows people to comment and make suggestions on your code. You could eventually allow other people to commit fixes and new features to your code base, enhancing your original project and ideas.

Keep also in mind that having Github contributions and in general open source projects out there will add points for interviews and future job opportunities, so what are you waiting for? Go ahead and be part of the community!

Here is a sample repo I have just created on my Github account to give you an example. The repo contains the code of a Silverlight grid-like video interface I published a few weeks ago. You can download the source code in different formats, and you are more than welcome to follow the repo and comment on it.


Also, check out Polaris, an open source project driven by my colleagues Marvin Varela and Herberth Madrigal, which I’m also a contributor along with other mates, which is currently being hosted and shared in Codeplex.

I hope this post gives you some inspiration and quick start steps on how to become more active in the technology community and be part of something bigger and better. Make sure to leave your thoughts and comments, since this is quite an important topic for all of us out there in the wild tech world !

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