Getting the gist of GitHub

I’m at the end of week two of my Redocly contract and the team has made me feel so welcome.

Swapnil spent an hour this week teaching me how to use GitHub Desktop so I can start updating docs files locally and submitting pull requests. His instructions were very clear (he is a fellow tech writer after all) and next week I’ll apply the updates I’ve made in plain .md files offline to the actual files in the repo.

As someone used to editing in WYSIWYG, I find it quite a challenge to edit docs in raw GitHub. Markdown is a simple formatting language, but GitHub’s general layout is more suited to code. Working on docs in that environment slows me down. I’ve been using Dillinger for some time. It’s an online Markdown editor with a preview pane that lets you work in Markdown on the left, and renders the published output in a preview pane on the right. But you still have to copy and paste your content back and forth between the .md files and the browser.

This week, Swapnil introduced me to GitHub Desktop. It allows you to clone a repository to your computer and work on files locally using the editor of your choice. So, you not only get that flexibility, you are also able to manage your cloned repo completely independently of the main repository and GitHub. The UI is more in line with an editor or editing-type environment, so I’m excited to get stuck into that as I work more on Redocly content.

And although I am not as active as I have previously been on the docToolchain project, I have been reviewing Benny’s work and Ralf asked me to merge in the changes – my first! So grateful to be part of such a cool project and an even cooler team!

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