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Your first contribution

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Introduction to GitHub flow

Now that you're familiar with issues, let's use this issue to track your path to your first contribution.

People use different workflows to contribute to software projects, but the simplest and most effective way to contribute on GitHub is the GitHub flow.

📺 Video: Understanding the GitHub flow


Read below for next steps

Step 4: Create a branch

Let’s complete the first step of the GitHub flow: creating a branch definition.

Creating a branch

Creating a branch

📺 Video: Branches

You just learned how to create a branch—the first step in the GitHub flow.

Branches are an important part of the GitHub flow because they allow us to separate our work from the master branch. In other words, everyone's work is safe while you contribute.

Tips for using branches

A single project can have hundreds of branches, each suggesting a new change to the master branch.

The best way to keep branches organized with a team is to keep them concise and short-lived. In other words, a single branch should represent a single new feature or bug fix. This reduces confusion among contributors when branches are only active for a few days before they’re merged definition into the master branch.


⌨️ Activity: Your first branch

  1. Navigate to the “Code” tab
  2. Click Branch: master in the drop-down
  3. In the field, enter a name for your branch
  4. Click Create branch: or press the “Enter” key to create your branch

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Step 5: Commit a file

🎉 You created a branch!

Creating a branch allows you to make modifications to your project without changing the deployed master branch. Now that you have a branch, it’s time to create a file and make your first commit!

Commits 101

Commits 101

When you’re finished creating or making changes to a file on GitHub, scroll to the bottom of the page. Then find the "Commit new file" section.

In the first field, type a commit message. The commit message should briefly tell contributors about the changes you are introducing to the file.

Rules to live by for commit messages:

  • Don’t end your commit message with a period.
  • Keep your commit messages to 50 characters or less. Add extra detail in the extended description window if necessary. This is located just below the subject line.
  • Use active voice. For example, "add" instead of "added" and "merge" instead of "merged".
  • Think of your commit as expressing intent to introduce a change.

⌨️ Activity: Your first commit

The following steps will guide you through the process of committing a change on GitHub.

  1. Return to the "Code" tab

  2. In the branch drop-down, select "New-branch"

  3. Click Create new file

  4. In the "file name" field, type _posts/0000-01-02-vinoaj.md

  5. When you’re done naming the file, add the following content to your file:

    ---
    layout: slide
    title: "Welcome to our second slide!"
    ---
    Your text
    Use the left arrow to go back!
    
  6. After adding the text, you can commit the change by entering a commit message in the text-entry field below the file edit view. For guidelines on commit messages, check out the Commits 101 drop-down, just above these instructions

  7. When you’ve entered a commit message, click Commit new file


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