Technical writing and Git

Sarah Maddox, author of the blog ffeathers, recently attended a technical communications workshop that made use of the well known database GitHub.com. She sat in a crowd of people with a variety of knowledge of Git listening to GitHub employees talk about how Git could be used to improve technical communications.

The team explained a typical GitHub workflow. When a writer needs to fix or update documentation, they create a branch, which allows several writers to work on a document at a time. the GitHub team uses the Atom text editor and uses markdown as a source format for documentation. As the project is worked on, writers commit (sync with the GitHub repo), and make pull requests often to get the most feedback. Writers can even make a mega branch for a project and the build branches of of it. Branches can cover everything from typos to an entirely new feature. With multiple writers, merge problems can sometimes occur, but not very often. Writers will also often include a README file to more clearly describe what was done with that version. teams often also use emojis to communicate instead of words. For example, a squirrel emoji symbolizes that a change is ready to be saved fully.

Overall, GitHub can be used in many ways to help the flow of technical communication work. It can even be useful in protecting past versions to avoid disaster.

-Caitlin Baron

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