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GitHub improves notification system

Everyone’s favourite versioning site GitHub is rolling out a major upgrade to their notification systems today, with lots of little tweaks to improve the overall experience.

For starters, there’s a new “stars” system in addition to regular “watching”, allowing you to bookmark interesting projects without being notified about every change.

As a result, watched repositories are getting a bit noisier, broadcasting every activity as a notification (GitHub recommend pruning your current watches now). In addition, when given push access to a project you will automatically be made a watcher - though this can be switched off in preferences.

Notifications themselves are changing too, moving to a more prominent position next to the logo and threading like Gmail conversations.

Our favourite of these little changes is configuration of notification emails, which not only allow specification of notification type based on type of activity, but sending notifications to different email addresses depending on the project. This means that notifications from your work projects can go to your work email, and your personal projects can go to your personal email address. Smart.

We’re glad that becoming filthy rich hasn’t distracted GitHub from focusing on the important little UI details of their site - though that $100m is likely going into some big, ambitious projects too. To stay at the top of the pile, they need to ensure GitHub is the best possible experience for developers, and it seems - at least for now - they realise this.

Elliot Bentley

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