Nurse GitHub is here: Project Paper Cuts heals your minor scratches
GitHub has been listening to user concerns. Introducing Project Paper Cuts: a plan to make small, yet necessary changes to GitHub and smooth out the user experience. Has GitHub changed since Microsoft’s acquisition? Is it time to stop worrying and learn to love it?
Without a strong community of involved, active users, there is no GitHub. That’s what makes GitHub so popular and well-loved. The site also has a good track record of listening to users’ concerns about how to make things work better, faster, stronger. Have you given the site feedback? Well, they’ve been listening. On August 28th 2018, GitHub introduced Project Paper Cuts!
Your voice heard
Project Paper Cuts addresses some of the smaller problems in life. Sure, a paper cut is tiny, but it hurts and it gets in the way. What persistent paper cuts does this new feature put a bandage on?
According to the release announcement:
“Project Paper Cuts is dedicated to working directly with the community to fix small to medium-sized workflow problems, iterate on UI/UX, and find other ways to make the quick improvements that matter most.”
GitHub wants users to know that their concerns, complaints, and comments are not just going to the void. Someone is on the other end listening – on Twitter, as well as emails, sales, and support.
One of the big inspirations for Project Paper Cuts is a browser extension developed by Sindre Sorhus that refined the GitHub experience. Some of those useful features in the Refined GitHub browser extension will be implemented into the vanilla GitHub experience. No extension needed.
Tiny yet useful features
What has Project Paper Cuts added so far?
- Unselectable diff markers when copy/pasting
- Edit a repo’s README file from the repository root
- Highlight permalink comments
- Access your repos from the profile dropdown menu
- Copy the URL of a comment for easy permalink sharing
- Remove files from pull requests with the trash icon
- Branch names in merge notification emails
- Create new pull requests from the repository’s pull requests page
- Add an organization member from the team discussion page
- Collapse all diffs in a pull request
These are all small quality of life fixes but they iron out some of the more noticeable wrinkles in GitHub’s design.
(Want to keep an eye on additional features? Most will be found on the changelog.)
Microsoft + GitHub = ❤?
After GitHub’s acquisition by Microsoft, there was constant speculation about the future of the site and its community. Despite the official announcement blog looking forward to the “bright future”, backlash from developers emerged in spades. (Some prematurely claiming that GitHub was “dead”.)
However, as time goes by and the dust settles, it seems that these concerns have been misplaced. GitHub is not changing any of their stances that have put in on the map in the first place. Quite the contrary, Project Paper Cuts shows that user frustrations are not going ignored or unnoticed.
Meanwhile, according to an article from TechRepublic titled “Pretty much no one quit GitHub over the Microsoft acquisition: Here’s why“, the allure of greener grass did not lead as many developers away from GitHub. Author Matt Asay states, “So, if you bolted from GitHub because you feared the Redmond beast, it may be time to eat some humble pie and come back. There aren’t many of you, so there will be plenty of pie to go around.”
Another think piece on Medium by Owen Williams boldly states in its title: “Microsoft acquiring GitHub is a good thing. Here’s why“. The article states that GitHub needed a new home with a better structure to be successful long term.
So far, Microsoft has not pulled a bait-and-switch on the community. It may be time to clean our paper cuts, put on the bandage, and look forward to the future.