tryGit – Finally an easy way to learn Git and GitHub

If you have ever tried to use GitHub and half an hour later wanted to throw your computer out the window, you are not alone. To save computers everywhere from high falls and imminent death, the good people at GitHub and Code School have created tryGit, a 15 minute interactive course that teaches you how to use Git and GitHub without performing computercide in the process.

A few months ago I wrote about the new GitHub for Windows and how it took strides to democratize coding. But even with this new tool, wrapping your head around how Git, GitHub and version control in general works can be quite a challenge, especially for people who don’t live and breathe code.

To further democratize the use of tools like Git and GitHub a proper learning environment is required. Because although documentation is great, it is often unapproachable. I’ve been trying two figure out how best to teach people how to use GitHub myself. The best I could come up with was a general idea of a hands-on coding environment where people could do guided lessons and experiment in a safe setting. How I would pull that off I had no idea. Fortunately I wasn’t the only one on that track, and now GitHub has teamed up with Code School to create pretty much the same thing, just much better: tryGit.

No love for octodog
No love for octodog

tryGit is a clever tool that walks you through all the main stages of using Git and GitHub in a guided step-by-step process. From start to finish the course takes 15 minutes and results in a new repository being published on your GitHub account. The genius in tryGit is that it creates a realistic scenario, takes you through the proper algorithm to get things done, and addresses the main issues people run into when starting to play with Git and GitHub, all in a fun and quite amusing environment.

By following the lesson from start to finish you get to publish, modify, merge, and delete dogs and cats aplenty. What the people at GitHub have against octodog is beyond me, but reading the instructions made me chuckle several times which is a great accomplishment for a learning tool designed to teach you something that is both highly technical and dull.

I said it in my earlier article and I’ll say it again: The biggest hurdle for the democratization of code is creating environments and tools everyone can use regardless of background. By launching tryGit, GitHub has taken great strides to educate the general public on how to use this tool and allow them to start scraping at the surface of the wonderful world of open source development.

Whomever came up with this idea, I applaud you.