< img src="https://images.idgesg.net/images/article/2018/04/gettyimages-182797952-100754611-large.jpg?auto=webp&quality=85,70"alt=""> In”GitHub for the rest of us”I argued that GitHub’s superpowers could serve everybody, not simply coders. Ever since then(2015)I have actually felt that I overstated the case. GitHub was, and remains, a tool that is deeply optimized for developers who create and evaluate versioned source code. Other usages are possible however awkward, and the tools that I thought could make GitHub friendlier to non-coders mainly have not arrived.Recently, though, I have actually been reviewing what GitHub can do for non-coders. As I have actually helped colleagues compose article and paperwork I’ve been reviewing
my modifying procedure and reaching for tools that can assist me narrate the concepts that direct it.I have long imagined a tool that would make it possible for an instructor to help trainees learn how to compose and edit. In” Ideas in movement”I explored what may be possible in Federated Wiki,
a composing tool that keeps variation history for each paragraph. I believed it could be encompassed make it possible for the type of didactic modifying I want, but have not yet discovered a way.More just recently, in” How to write a news release,”I attempted flexing Google Docs to this purpose. To tell the process of modifying a news release, I dropped a sample release into a GDoc and recorded a series of edits as named variations. Then I caught the versions as screenshots and integrated them with narrative, so the reader of
the article can see each edit as a color-coded diff with an explanation.The key enabler is GDoc’s File- > Variation history- > Call existing version, together with File-> See version history’s click-driven navigation of the set of diffs. It’s easy to capture a sequence of editing actions that way.But it’s much harder to provide those steps as I carry out in the post. That needed me to make, name, and arrange a set of images, then connect them to chunks of narrative.
It’s tedious work. And if you wish to construct something like this for students, that’s work you should not be doing. You just want to do the edits, tell them, and share the outcome. Why doesn’t the integrated change-tracking in GDoc( or the comparable in Word)meet the requirement? In those modes, modifications and commentary appear in document order. However the editing procedure does not occur that way. When editing that sample press release, for instance, I modified the heading in Action 1 and explained my rationale there. Then, in a later action, while editing the 3rd paragraph, I saw that it required a modification to the heading. So I made another modification to the headline, and once again described the reasoning. The discussion I built for the blog post maintains that sequence, and I think that’s vital. Edits do not always take place in top-down document order, and narration of them shouldn’t either. The narration ought to inform the story as it really occurs: moving around in the file, revisiting the exact same passage a number of times for various reasons.More just recently I attempted a GitHub-based alternative to that GDoc technique. Again the objective was not only to produce an edited variation, however likewise to tell the edits in a didactic method. I put the original doc in a repository, made detailed edits in a branch, and produced a pull demand. We were then able to review the pull demand, action through the modifications, and evaluate each as a color-coded diff with an explanation.
No screenshots needed to be made, named, organized, or connected to the narrative. I could focus all my attention on doing and telling the edits. Perfect! Well, best for someone like me who uses GitHub every day. If that’s not you, could this method perhaps work? Let’s recreate my Google Docs example in GitHub and see how it goes. Pretend that you aren’t a coder, have actually never used GitHub, and do not understand (or want to know )anything about branches or commits or pull requests. However you want to have the ability to produce a presentation that walks a student though a sequence of edits, with detailed narrative and color-coded diffs. At the end of this tutorial you’ll know how to do that. I’ll describe the recipe thoroughly so you can try it on your own and choose whether it’s useful. Or even better, ask a good friend who is an English teacher to do the experiment!This screencast reveals the final result of the strategy I’ll describe. You’ll see me clicking Next, in an evaluation of a GitHub pull request, to step through a sequence of narrated edits. If you want to replicate that, and you do not currently have a GitHub account, develop one now and log in.Ready to go? OK, let’s get going. Action 1: Produce a repository Click the +button in the top right corner, then click New repository. IDG Here’s the next screen. All you must do here is name the repository, e.g. editing-step-by-step, then click Produce repository. I have actually ticked the Include a README file box, and selected the Apache 2.0 license, but you could leave the defaults– box unchecked, license None– as neither matters for our purpose here. IDG Step 2: Produce a new file On your GitHub home page, click the Repositories tab. Your new repo appears initially. Click its link to open it, then click the Add file dropdown.
IDG Action 3: Develop a brand-new branch, dedicate the modification, and produce a pull request What happens on the next screen is bewildering, but I will spare you the information since I’m assuming you don’t wish to know about branches or devotes or pull demands, you simply wish to develop the kind of presentation I have actually guaranteed you can. So, just follow this recipe. Call the file (e.g. sample-press-release. txt Copy/paste the text to review into the edit box Select Develop a new branch for this commit and start a pull request Name the branch( e.g. edits)Click Propose brand-new file IDG On the next screen, title the pull request(e.g. edit journalism release )and click Develop pull request. IDG Step 4: Visit the new branch and start editing On the web page of your repo, use the main dropdown to open the list of branches. There are now two: primary and modifies. Select edits.DG IDG On the next screen, validate that you are on the edits branch. IDG Click the name of the document you produced (e.g. sample-press-release. txt to open it. IDG Click the pencil icon’s dropdown, and select Edit this file. IDG Make and preview your first edit. Here, that’s my preliminary reword of the headline. I have actually composed a title for the devote(Action 1: revise headline), and I’ve added a detailed explanation in package listed below the title. You can see the color-coded diff above, and the rationale for the modification listed below. IDG Click Devote changes, and you’re back in the editor ready to make the next modification. IDG Step 5: Go to the pull demand to evaluate the change On your repo’s home page(e.g. https://github.com/judell/editing-step-by-step), click the
Pull demands button. You’ll land here. IDG Click the name of the pull demand( e.g. edit the press release)to open it. In the rightmost column you’ll see links with alphanumeric labels. IDG Click the very first one of those to land here.
IDG This is the very first dedicate, the one that included the original text. Now click Beside evaluate the first change. IDG This, finally, is the impact we wish to create: a granular edit, with an explanation and a color-coded diff, encapsulated in a link that you can offer to a learner who can then click Next to step through a series of narrated edits.Lather, rinse, repeat To continue constructing the presentation, repeat Action 4(above)as soon as per edit. I’m doing that now … time passes … OK, done. Here’s the final modified copy. To step through the edits, begin here and utilize the Next button to advance step-by-step. If this were a software project you ‘d merge the edits branch into the main branch and close the pull request. However you don’t require to stress over any of that. The edits branch, with its open pull request, is the end product, and the link to the first commit in the pull demand is how you
make it readily available to a student who wishes to examine the presentation.GitHub allows what I’ve shown here by covering the byzantine complexity of the underlying
tool, Git, in a much friendlier interface. But what’s friendly to a coder will likely still overwhelm an English instructor. I can definitely picture tooling twisted around the GitHub API that would make this strategy easier for instructors and students concentrated on the craft of writing and editing.Meanwhile, however
, it’s possible to utilize GitHub to accomplish a respectable result. Is it practical? That’s not for me to say. I’m method past having the ability to see this stuff through the eyes of a novice. However if your English-teacher good friend wants to offer this a try, I would enjoy to understand whether they’re able to follow this dish, and if so whether they believe it can help them help learners become better writers and editors. Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc. Source