GitHub Platform and Community Improvements
Written by Lucy Black   
Thursday, 15 September 2016

At its second annual Universe Conference, taking place in San Francisco, GitHub announced new tools and community features that will make building software easier and promote participation and collaboration.


Top of the list of the new features announced by GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath is Projects a workflow dashboard lets you create cards from pull requests, issues or notes, and organize them into groups such as Backlog, In Progress, and Ready. 



The initial release supports: 

  • A New Projects tab, the same level as Code, Issue, Pull Requests within a repository, that lists all of your projects
  • Workflow columns that you can name and reorder
  • Cards that you can drag and drop between columns pointing to issues, Pull Requests, or notes
  • Tools built on top of Projects by partners, including and ZenHub

and more features can be expected soon.


Code Review, which according to Wanstrath is critical to collaboration, is being improved to help share the burden of building and improving software with a more streamlined approach to approving pull requests and requesting changes. Administrators  can also create "protected branches" that cannot have changes merged into them until specified tests have passed and code has been approved.

Other improvements are targeted at GitHub's community of integrators who build applications to work with GitHub. The ones that are launching immediately are:

  • A public Platform Roadmap that demonstrates what GitHub Platform Engineers are launching next and why
  • A formalized process to solicit feedback and launch updates to our platform
  • Early-access and pre-release programs that let you access new features and APIs and provide you with the support you need to ensure launch readiness for the software you build on top of GitHub
  • The GitHub Platform Forum which provides a direct communication channel between ecosystem developers and GitHub engineers.

There are also two new features with Early Access status. 

Integrations aims to provide better ways for tools to extend and integrate with GitHub. According to the Developer blog:

Integrations are first-class actors that connect your service to GitHub. They're especially suited when: 

  • Your service needs to take actions independently of a specific user
  • You want granular permissions
  • You want to allow users to install on an organization
  • You want to allow users to install on a per repository basis

The GitHub GraphQL API which GitHub now uses internally is also being made available. This simplifies product development by letting developers access all the data they need, and only the data they need, with one API call.


While we already refer to GitHub as a community it has been lacking in community features. This is about to change. Announcing the GitHub Community Forum, coming in 2017, Wanstrath said:

We’re grateful to have a community of more than 16 million developers. While developers gain experience implicitly on GitHub as they work alongside other developers, we know that’s not enough. To help, we’re creating a dedicated space for you to learn from each other—and to have conversations about GitHub itself.

The GitHub Community Forum will become a place where developers can talk shop, get help, and learn together. It will also help us introduce new features and improvements and give developers the ability to share thoughts and feedback with us directly.  

Another improvement is to the developer Profile which now contains the entire history of an individual's work on GitHub, from their first commit to most recent pull request with a per-repository breakdown revealing where time is spent each month. It also records special events such as signing up for GitHub, opening first pull request, or joining an organization. See how it works in this video: 


Having a  "deeper"  profile should promote deeper commitment and with 16 million developers GitHub should become an even more vibrant and productive community. 


More Information

A whole new GitHub Universe: announcing new tools, forums, and features

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