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Getting more out of GitHub => Issues and Pull Requests

Robert K.


When first learning about GitHub I think many are a little overwhelmed. New terminal commands, desktop application, branching and the like all take a little getting used to. However, once you fall into the groove and begin developing with the GitHub workflow will be like an old friend.

Last month, Brett Bedevian and I got the chance to develop a project together for the month-long community event Code with Friends. We decided to build an application tracker using Reactjs and Google Firestore since we are both searching for an awesome entry-level software engineering position after graduating from Flatiron School.

After Code With Friends came to an end we shared our project in various places and found that a number of people had input on how we could improve the project, and others wanted to help us continue to build on it.

Enter two features developers who are new to GitHub might not have any use for when first starting out, but which will absolutely be used when working in teams


GitHub issues, sometimes called tickets, are things that need fixing/doing to improve the application. Anyone with access to the repository, be it a private or a public repo, can add an issue by using the issues tab inside the repository.

GitHub Repo with issues tab highlighted

Clicking on the issues tab is going to bring you to a page with all of the issues for that repository. There are various ways of filtering the results, a robust tagging system to show or hide issues. You can click the New issue button on the right to add to the existing issues.

The issues page of JTME
A new issue page on GitHub
a new issue page on GitHub

The real beauty of the issues workflow lies in the inline ‘linking’ of developers, pull requests, and other issues as well as the right-hand menu.

You can assign collaborators to work on issues, assign yourself to issues, and start working towards making your projects better and better. If you find repositories that are open source their issues page is a great place to see if there is a way to contribute.

Pull Requests

Pull requests are used to send new code to the owners of the project for merging into the code base of the project. This could be something as advanced as a new feature or as simple as solving one of the issues listed on the repositories page.

The workflow for creating a pull request is a lot like creating an issue.

On the pull request tab of the repository, click New pull request on the right hand side. You’ll get to choose the branch of the repository you have been working on and leave comments explaining what issue this solves, or what new feature it adds to the application.

The owners/collaborators of the repository (who have pull request access) can then choose to merge the code you submitted into the project, or leave comments on what needs to be fixed or modified.

Get Contributing!

Issues and Pull Requests are some of the core pieces of GitHub that you can use to work efficiently across teams, get help with your open source project, or start diving into the world of open source software. I’ve linked our Application Tracking project below (both the live application and the repo) in case you would like to create any issues or pull requests to help us improve our project

Happy Hacking!

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Robert K.

Full- Stack Software Engineer with a former life in high-end restaurant management. Currently working in React JS and Ruby on Rails.