I’m currently working on a new WordPress course (MasterWP – first email is sent on Monday 12th September) that helps to teach things beyond the basics – and to do it I need a website. I’m making the course with Alex Denning who has some technical skills, but isn’t a developer. He can do some html and css but isn’t versed in version control. But then I got to thinking – he can make changes to the site via Github without installing anything.
This is the email I sent him:
Subject: Editing Website Copy on Github
Hey Alex, Since you’re only going to be changing the copy it should be relatively straight-forward for you to edit things directly on Github itself.
Firstly – you need a Github account.
Github stores projects in things called repositories (repos) so if you go to the project repository you can see the site code as it stands currently.
The project you see is the ‘master’ branch. That means it’s the main set of code. If we want to make lots of changes then we can create separate branches (say, a dev branch) and then merge them together. That’s kind of what you’re going to do here, only you’ll do it all online.
The copy is all in the home.php then you’ll see the html that makes up the page. Just above the code is an edit button (a little pencil icon on the right). Click that and Github will do some magic in the background.
You can now edit the copy as you see fit.
Once done scroll to the bottom and see the ‘Propose file change’ section. In here add a title and brief description of what you’ve changed and why. Then press the ‘propose file change’ button.
On the next screen you’ll be shown the changes you made so you can review them. If you’re happy then press ‘Create Pull Request’. This will submit your changes to the original repository so that the repo owner (me in this case) can merge the changes into the master branch.
How is this useful?
So using this is pretty straight-forward – but how is it useful?
Firstly – it allows you to contribute to projects. For instance you can help submit documentation to projects.
Secondly it gives you a way in to contributing to open source projects. Once you have an account you can easily submit issues (software bugs) that the developers can then fix.
Finally – it gives you a basic understanding of the process behind Git. Once you’re comfortable with this you can move on to using the Git for desktop app.
I know I’m a developer so I’m a bit more technical – but I think Github is pretty easy to use – at least once you understand the basics. Github have a Youtube channel with a bunch of tutorial videos if you want to learn more.