By Tom Jowitt
GitHub's business-focused service has been upgraded to version 2.8, and comes with a host of new features designed to help developers deal with business projects.
GitHub Enterprise offers the ability for developers to manage their work directly from GitHub repositories thanks to 'Projects', and also gives a more streamlined code review and discussion capability.
GitHub was founded in 2008 and boasts an impressive user base of more than 15 million developers. It is effectively a cloud-based service that lets developers publish code online, in an open source environment, where other collaborators can borrow, improve, or just generally have a conversation about the code.
Indeed, Microsoft has releasing the source code of particular tools to GitHub recently, and last Christmas the British intelligence agency GCHQ created its own repository on GitHub, and open-sourced one of its tools.
It is worth remembering that there are three main services offered on GitHub.
First is the free, GitHub.com service for individual developers. Secondly, there is a team-based version that is commonly used in startups; and, thirdly, there is GitHub Enterprise, where companies can install a version of GitHub on their own private servers behind a firewall.
GitHub does of course make money (to the tune of $100m revenues annually), and GitHub Enterprise is its main money maker.
So what is available with GitHub Enterprise 2.8?
Well 'Reviews' are designed to help developers build flexible code review workflows into their pull requests, as well as streamline conversations, and reduce notifications. Developers can now comment on specific lines of code, formally "approve" or "request changes" to pull requests, batch comments, and have multiple conversations per line.
GitHub says these initial improvements are only the first step of a much greater roadmap toward faster, friendlier code reviews.
A second major feature is the 'Projects' tool, which allows the developer to manage work directly from GitHub repositories. Task cards can be created from pull requests and categories such as 'in progress' or 'done', or 'never going to happen' can be applied.
In an effort to share data on GitHub, Jupyter notebooks make it easier to capture data-driven workflows that combine code, equations, text, and visualizations. And now they render in all the relevant GitHub repositories.
Another feature is an improved contribution graph which offers a snapshot of the developer’s most important contributions.
And with GitHub Enterprise 2.8, system admins have more ways to enforce security policies and get developers the support they need. For example, admins can now enforce the use of two-factor authentication at the organizational level, efficiently visualize LDAP authentication-related problems, and direct users to their support website throughout the appliance.
It has not been all plain sailing for the software development hosting service, however.
In June this year GitHub admitted that a number of user accounts had been compromised by an attacker who used previously published account credentials from previous breaches of other online services.
The attacker apparently took these account credentials, such as email addresses and passwords, from other online data breaches and tried them on GitHub accounts.
And in 2014 the startup was rocked after designer and developer Julie Horvath resigned from the company while publicly complaining about being harassed by the company’s leadership.
Tom Preston-Werner, co-founder and former CEO of GitHub, later resigned as its president following the allegations.