Using GitHub with TKP Students
To understand the what, why, when and how of using Github, you'll need to understand some concepts in the storage/management of software source code files:
NOTE: If you already understand GitHub, skip to the 'How' section.
What and why
- Source Code Files - these are your code files, for TKPJava, for example 'SimpleSquare.java'
- IDE / Code Editor - this is where you write your code, we use Eclipse or Codenvy
- Open Source Code Files - if you copy your code files to a public open source system (website), this is called OSS development.
- Source Control Systems - rather than using a file system, source control systems allow you to store, see and revert to any version of any line of all stored code file. They have a client (on your machine) and optionally a server (on a remote machine, can be on the internet) interface.
- Repository - container, like a local drive (i.e. 'C:/' that holds all of the folders, code files and any other files need for your project, other files can be images, text files, etc...
- Open Source Code Source Control Systems - the server interface is on the internet. The most popular is OSS is GitHub.
- Git - a popular code source control tool, which can be installed both locally and on a remote server. The interface to work with Git is via the command line. The git client tools can be downloaded here, the git server can be installed on any remote machine, this includes remote machines hosted on the public internet. Git itself is free and open source.
- GitHub - a popular open source control system which provides a GUI (and additional features) on top of Git. GitHub is a public website. It's services, hosting public code repositories is free. GitHub also has a commercial offering, which allows clients to have private code repositories. Users can install and either git (command-line) or a GitHub GUI client to connect to the GitHub server.
- Tools for GitHub- Many code IDEs include git client IDE integration (command line and/or GUI add-ins) for code source control - example Eclipse, Codenvy, VSCode...
Because learning version control systems is a somewhat daunting task, even for professional developers, we at TKP have decided to take the 'minimum viable source control' approach to guide teachers in getting starting using GitHub with their TKPJava students.
Here's a step-by-step guide:
- Register for an account on GitHub.com
- Download and Install GitHub Desktop - be sure to get the version for your OS (i.e. either Windows or OSX). Sign in to GitHub Desktop with your GitHub account.
- Create a Repository on the GitHub site - step-by-step here. If you wish to commit a change to GitHub, follow the instructions at the bottom of this link to make your first commit.
- Link your Repository on GitHub to a local folder using the GitHub Desktop client.
- Write code using your IDE and save your changes into that folder.
Push (or commit) your code to your new repository via your GitHub GUI client, do this by entering a commit message, and then clicking the 'Commit and Sync master' button on the GUI, next click on the upper right 'Sync' button to send your code to GitHub
Use your programming tools - here are some free code editors
Note: Students must be age 13 or older to be permitted to use GitHub directly.
TIP: Here's a list of items to install to use GitHub, listed here
GitHub QuickStart For TKP Teachers
The goal for this step-by-step guide is TKP teacher preparation to teach the TKP lesson for students ‘Intro to GitHub’:
- Create a folder on your local machine for your own example repository (repo).
- Navigate to the root C: drive, or an alternate location, i.e. ‘Downloads’ folder if you can't access C:
- Make a new folder named ‘hello-world’ in the that location
- Register for a free account on GitHub.com
- Note your credentials, you’ll need them for the next step
- Leave GitHub.com open for use in subsequent steps of this guide
- Download & Install the free GitHub Desktop tool for your OS (i.e. Win or OSX).
Setup instructions below are for first-time use for ‘GitHub Desktop for Windows’
- In the ‘Welcome’ dialog box
- Log in with your Github.com Username and Password
- Configure git by entering your email and click ‘Continue’
- Repositories - you will see ‘No local repositories found’
- Click on ‘Dashboard’ to go on
- In the GitHub Desktop Dashboard
- Delete the default ‘Tutorial’ repo by right-clicking->remove
- Add our ‘hello-world’ folder as a new local GitHub Repo
- Click on the big ‘+’ (plus) sign in the upper-left corner of the Dashboard
- Click on ‘Add’.
- Click on ‘Browse’ (or 'Choose' if using a Mac) and then navigate to the ‘hello-world’ folder. Mine is on my C drive but you may need to click ‘This PC’ in order to be able to see the C: drive. My final path is: C:\hello-world
- Click on the blue words, ‘C**reate & Add Repository’** and then click on ‘**Create Repository**’
- See your ‘hello-world’ folder appear on the left column as a git repository, but, right now it only exists locally (on your computer). This is indicated by the little icon to the left of the words ‘hello-world’ appearing as a computer monitor. We want to sync our local repo with a remote version (copy) of itself in the GitHub.com cloud. To create a remote repo on GitHub.com we need to ‘Publish’ our local ‘hello-world’ repo.
- Verify that ‘hello-world’ is not yet created remotely in your GitHub.com account, go to your GitHub.com account and look to see if you notice a repository there named ‘hello-world’. You will not see it there yet.
- Click on the dark ‘Publish’ button on the upper-right side of the Dashboard. NOTE: if you are prompted to Log in to GitHub, enter your GitHub.com credentials
- Add a ‘Description’. Type something like, ‘trying my first GitHub repo’.
- Click ‘Publish hello-world’. GitHub Desktop syncs your local repo to a newly created ‘hello-world’ repo and changes the Dashboard icon from a monitor to a little book with a bookmark icon when the sync is done
- Refresh your online GitHub.com account page in your browser
- Verify that you can now see your remote ‘hello-world’ repo in your online GitHub.com account. If you don’t, go back to GitHub Desktop Dashboard and notice that the ‘Publish’ button has changed to say ‘Sync’. Go ahead and click ‘Sync’. Now you should see the repo on GitHub.com.
- Congratulations! You’ve just created your first GitHub repository with a both a local and remote copy! We’re going to be using GitHub to get our students code up into the GitHub.com cloud as well. That’s the next step.
- In the ‘Welcome’ dialog box
Best Practices and More Information and Links:
- Contribute to open source projects on GitHub
Git includes many other concepts, including making distributed copies via forking and branching. These concepts are often used by professional software developer teams. For a concise explanation - see this link.
Happy OSS Programming!
The TKP Team