There are means and opportunities you can’t possibly imagine when you do this. Of course, the immediate benefit is that 100,000s (if not millions) of developers will already be familiar with this platform for sharing code. It’s a great way to look at individual files, pick out lines, create issues, process feedback, and make contributions, all starting with editing a single word in someone’s comment.
But that is just the beginning. With the rise of forking, people can take projects in new directions. Experiment, prototype, throw away ideas that led into dead ends.
On top of that, the people at github invented the concept of organizations. A lot of people start with creating projects in their own personal space. But you can create an independent organization, and use it as the means to coordinate groupings of projects and other things. And get this: a repository isn’t confined to a releasable software project.
Recently. I published Learning Spring Boot. All the code is available online for free. Naturally I want you to buy my book so I you can learn all the detailed semantics. But for those that have the book, they can grab a nicely distributed copy of the source and not have to type all in by hand.
Then when my editor started discussing some sort of contest where people submit sample projects built with Spring Boot, I realized that github was PERFECT for such an idea. I immediately created the https://github.com/learning-spring-boot organization, put the source code for the book there, and went on to set up a separate repository dedicated to the contest.
With github’s ease of forking and submitting pull requests, I have directed all contestants to fork the contest, code their Spring Boot application entry, and submit it as a pull request. That way, the judges can visit each entry and easily evaluate it. It also provides the means for contestants to tweet their entries, encouraging others to “star” their entries.
And who knows what will come next? If the contest is a success, we can always hold another one. Or whatever else we think of down the road.
The point is, by embracing github, you open the door to an incredible set of possibilities that you can’t even imagine right now.