GitHub is a provider of Internet hosting for software development and version control using Git. It offers the distributed version control and source code management functionality of Git, plus its own features.
A project hosted on GitHub is called a repository. Any one can signup for an account on GitHub and create their own repositories. Github users can add other users to their project for collaboration.
The flagship functionality of GitHub is “forking” which means copying a repository from one user’s account to another. This enables you to take a project that you don’t have write access to and modify it under your own account. If you make changes you’d like to share, you can send a notification called a “pull request” to the original owner. That user can then, with a click of a button, merge the changes found in your repo with the original repo.
Many WordPress developers use GitHub to host their projects. There are currently many WordPress plugins and themes developed using GitHub as the code hosting platform. This allows WordPress developers to collaborate in teams, get feedback, allow others to review their code, and even download and use it.
Apart from being just a project hosting service, GitHub is also a large social networking site for developers and programmers. It allows users to follow each other, subscribe to updates from projects, like them by giving them a star rating, etc. These features allow users to receive updates for the projects they are interested in or stay in touch with coworkers and collaborators.
GitHub has become the Library of Alexandria for code examples. Since Git encourages granular recording of changes, programmers, be they absolute beginners or experts, can trace the steps of some of the greatest developers in the world and find out how they solved thorny problems. But if GitHub were ever to meet the same fate as the Library of Alexandria, it could be reconstructed from all those local forks distributed on so many developers laptops all over the world.