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GitHub is set to better empower collaboration with Issues and Projects

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GitHub is rolling out new features for the most-used online code repository on the market. Jack Wallen has the details.

Image: Shutterstock/roman-Samborskyi

GitHub is one of the largest online code repositories in the world. Currently, over 40 million developers are building on the GitHub platform. With that many users, the collaborative process must be sound and seamless.

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That’s why the GitHub developers are always bringing improvements and new features into existence. As of today’s announcement, there’ll be some new additions that will surely make project collaborators, team members and team managers quite happy. 

Let’s take a look at the new features to be found on GitHub. 

Note: Some of these features are currently in beta, so they either aren’t available to the general public or shouldn’t be considered for production usage. The only beta sign up will be for Projects and it will be hosted on the Issues feature page.

With that out of the way, you should definitely log in to your GitHub account and kick the tires of any of these new features available to you. 

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Projects is like a customizable spreadsheet or dashboard you use to better manage your projects. This new feature is important as it removes a certain rigidity to bend to the moment. With Projects, you can connect your planning directly to the work that is happening now, or at any point. Instead of having to break out a notepad or creating a spreadsheet to track your thoughts, you can now do this within GitHub itself.

With this feature you can:

  • Use custom fields with text, numbers, dates and single-select types

  • Rank, sort and group entries

  • Filter by any field with typeahead support

  • Easily switch between board and table layouts

  • Select from layout, group-by, sort by, filter and visible view options

  • Save and share views

  • Graph-QL API so you can access project issues and metadata

There is also the addition of the Command palette (in Projects), which allows you to:

  • Sort By, Filter By and Group By

  • Quickly switch layouts

  • Manage fields and options support

Dan Godrey, development manager for Shopify, said this of GitHub Projects:

“I’ve always been fond of the idea of ‘keeping your docs close to your code.’ It just makes sense! The new GitHub Projects has been helping keep our projects close to our code for an added layer of efficiency. With all the new functionality for tracking, planning and staging work, I no longer find myself needing to reach for spreadsheets or third-party tools which go stale instantly.”


For those that aren’t aware, GitHub Issues is an integrated tracking tool used to focus on important tasks and keep your working plan up to date. GitHub is testing some important beta features for Issues, which are:

  • Improvement: Issue unfurl on body and comment box

  • Improvement: Issue Forms

  • Improvement: Ability to access project custom fields from the sidebar

  • New: Task lists allow you to break down work and better keep track of progress

  • New: Issue forms give open source maintainers the ability to render and require fields at issue creation, which enables higher-quality input from contributors

Along with the new Task lists feature, you’ll be able to:

  • Create task lists and track the status of projects with progress indicators

  • Convert tasks into issues

  • Use completion state auto-updates for when a tracked issue is closed or reopened

  • Navigate your work hierarchy, using a new tracked_by relationship

Brian Vaughn, React maintainer, said of Issue Forms:

“As a maintainer, I’ve wanted something like issue forms for a long time. Being able to split questions into separate fields, with contextual help and placeholder text is a big user experience improvement. Required fields are also great for signaling what the most important parts of an issue are. And features like automatic code formatting and WYSIWYG editing are icing on the cake.”

GitHub continues to improve its platform to help make collaboration on projects as easy as possible. Give these new features a try and see if they don’t wind up a part of your regular development lifecycle.

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