- On Wednesday, GitHub announced its first-ever mobile app, now available for iPhone and iPad in beta.
- The launch comes after Microsoft acquired GitHub about a year ago for $7.5 billion.
- Developers can use this app to respond to issues and comment on projects on the go.
- GitHub also announced GitHub Sponsors for projects, which allows people to provide financial support for teams that contribute to open source projects.
- Read more on the Business Insider homepage.
Over a year after Microsoft acquired it for $7.5 billion – and over a decade since it was first founded – GitHub is launching its first-ever mobile app.
This app, released for iPhone and iPad in beta on Wednesday, allows developers to respond to issues and comment on their teammates’ code on the go. The news comes as part of the company’s annual GitHub Universe conference in San Francisco.
In the past, the company “flirted” with the idea of mobile, but it wasn’t the right time, says Dana Lawson, vice president of engineering at GitHub – and the company wanted to invest the time in making sure that features like push notifications worked the right way.
Now, though, people are spending more time on their phones even for professional tasks, meaning that the moment was right to finally get into the smartphone app game.
“The developer profile is ever-changing,” Lawson told Business Insider. “It’s not just sitting at home in the basement on computers. It’s really anybody. Mobile just allows that flexibility…We knew our community wanted it and we listened.”
Lawson expects this app to be a “game changer” when developers are commuting, as it will allow them to interact with their team on the go. This is important, Lawson says, because these days, “software development moves at the speed of light.”
“Companies and projects want to get feature sets to these customers immediately,” Lawson said. “Mobile will allow that continuous delivery of value. Right now we’re really focused on the social aspect of being able to comment, connect to your teams, and take action while you’re on the go.”
Importantly, Lawson says that GitHub created this app because customers asked for it.
“It felt natural for mobile to be the next step for GitHub,” Lawson said. “Our developers out there wanted it. We are so customer obsessed. We did not want them to have some weird hacky way. It just felt like the right time.”
It’s still in the beta-testing phase, which means that GitHub welcomes the feedback from early users.
“With our first official application, we’re just trying to get that concise feedback loop so we can perfect the best we can,” Lawson said. “We wanted to ensure it was the right thing at the right time. We feel really confident about it.”
‘It takes a village to make a great project’
GitHub also announced GitHub Sponsors for projects. GitHub Sponsors, which launched in May, allows people to provide financial support for open source developers and help them make a living off of writing code for free projects. Now, in addition to individual developers, people can also sponsor teams.
“Because coding is such a team sport, if you have to think about it, you win together, and you lose together,” Lawson said. “GitHub Sponsors for teams shows that it takes a village to make a great project.”
Lawson says that since GitHub rolled out GitHub Sponsors, many people have signed up as sponsors to help independent developers.
“People are just so kind,” Lawson said. “They love GitHub, and they love sharing open source software with the world.”
Besides launching a mobile app, GitHub enhanced its notifications and added features for navigation, search, reviewing code, scheduling reminders, and previewing features.
In addition, GitHub Actions, which automates tasks for developers to make it faster for them to build and update code, and GitHub Packages, which helps developers easily access the code they need to support their projects, are now generally available. It also announced a new release of GitHub Enterprise Server for businesses to use.
“You don’t have to go to all these third party tools,” Lawson said. “We’re just trying to take out that cognitive load. We’re opening that publicly to everyone.”
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