Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
GitHub Discover (github.com)
185 points by uyoakaoma 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 62 comments

Poor execution on a great idea imo.

To me it feels like they sacrificed functionality for aesthetics. It's not the right trade-off to make for a professional tool. I don't want my Github feed to be Facebook-like. I'd rather have it be compact and useful. A feature that'd let me browse by "topic" (e.g systems programming) regardless of language would be welcome as well.

In this update, the three culprits are the font-size, the spacing (so much space wasted) and the (slow) auto-load. It wasn't great before but this is most definitely worse.

Dear Github, please make technology discovery efficient rather than pretty. I spend hundreds of hours on your platform. You could save me a lot of time focusing on the right stuff.

It's a shame because there's so much potential there.

> A feature that'd let me browse by "topic" (e.g systems programming) regardless of language would be welcome as well.

What you're talking about already exists. In fact, they're called topics, e.g.: https://github.com/topics/systems-engineering

That's not what I am talking about though. Topics work with the recently introduced "tags" that you can add to your repo's description.

No one or few people self-reference their repo with something as broad as "systems engineering" or "systems programming".

The closest thing that exist on Github is the explore tab which lets you browse random repos by categories (e.g open government). Such feature would require Github to do the appropriate groundwork to become great at technology-discovery, namely: interest maps, automatically infer a repo's category based on its content, description and the profiles that star or fork it, for starters. They can even make their search engine relevant and pleasant to use if they feel like treating us.

And I'd want that to be integrated in my feed. Right now, I follow around 150 active users and it is still pretty sparse: it's not uncommon for me to see "X started Y 2 days ago". It would be good to add more (good) signal.

I want to see more of what better programmers are starring.

Just for posterity, you asked for:

> A feature that'd let me browse by "topic" (e.g systems programming) regardless of language would be welcome as well.

Topics are exactly what you initially described. Perhaps you didn't do a very good job describing what you'd like.

Also, they're called topics. Not tags. It's in the documentation.

> Such feature would require Github to do the appropriate groundwork to become great at technology-discovery, namely

They did a bunch of work to automatically add topics for many repositories to solve for this: https://githubengineering.com/topics/

You're telling me that a feature exists which technically fits my request. Cool

I tell you it only does so nominally. I didn't fully develop its specs but you could have inferred that they weren't matching the existing one's. The topic feature is half-baked, poorly thought-out and integrated.

Sure, in contrast "dependency graph in insights tab" is not bad feature.

Your comment is based on a pretty naive assumption that someone's making an either/or decision between pretty and functional.

What team have you worked on where that is literally ever the case?

But why is the Browse Activity tab now full of huge bolded text and gobs of whitespace? I wasn't unhappy with how it was, but this seems to strictly be worse, especially if you follow a decent number of people

There's a ridiculous UI trend of adding whitespace and hiding everything behind more menus and popups now... even though we all have bigger/high-res screens with more real estate than ever.

> even though we all have bigger/high-res screens with more real estate than ever.

I'm not disagreeing with you, but is this perhaps the reason why this is happening? If we have so much more space, we've got room for extra big bars. If we get higher resolutions, smaller fonts are (possibly) harder to read, so we make them bigger.

Maybe I'm just making stuff up, though.

Responsive design sort of forces these trade offs as mobile screen real estate and the demand for consistentcy across devices means dumbing down to the smallest possible screen.

Maybe, but there's definitely a reduction in actual information density instead of just filling out the screen. Way too many clicks to go through menus now for the sake of keeping things "clean".

I'm going to upvote this to un-grey you a little bit, because I'm interested in hearing your ideas for how this could improve. It sounds like you've put some thought into this, so given the current layout, what would your version look like with respect to current design trends?

That's precisely the problem, design trends don't really matter, especially for a productive app like Github (vs something like a marketing site).

Look at how information dense Excel can be with a typical spreadsheet, and the vast majority of users have no problem with it - yet when it comes to a basic page listing a few items, there's 50px of padding around each item in 12px font. Suggestions: remove the padding, group actions by the same person or same repo to remove repeated clutter, add descriptions of the repos in the front page so it doesnt require a click to see more, etc...

It's all influenced by mobile, where screen real estate is limited and the focus for every screen is much, much higher than on desktop. It makes sense for that design philosophy to bleed out onto desktop / websites.

It doesn't make sense at all. Proper responsive design should handle showing much more data and expanding properly for desktop browsers. Remember the original iPhone was popular for being able to show the entire desktop page on a mobile browser - we don't need everything to be big giant buttons.

It's good to see the homepage get more attention. I personally would love a more Facebook-like news feed. There is so much interesting activity on GitHub, but I generally discover it all through Twitter, HN, Reddit, etc.

Whereas the top items on my current github homepage are just a list of repos a follower starred 5 days ago.

Essentially they want to turn github to the next social media thing. I'm not complaining because I'm not on twitter,fb,insta anyways.

Wow, I'd never heard of Rails before. What a great recommendation. /s

Am I just a curmudgeon, or does every step that GitHub takes these days seem like wrong one? Everything, from small design changes, to the results of their discovery engines, to the pricing and offering of there paid services, just seems to get worse over time.

As somebody who visits GitHub more than any other page, it makes me a bit said. I do hope they can turn it around or GitLab will come up on them fast.

The stuff they announced today on dependency security feels like a really good step. They stopped short of saying they were going to resurrect OSVDB, but not far short. In the meantime, they're going to display a project's dependency graph in the insights tab, and in future will suggest fixes for any security vulnerabilities in it (i.e., insecure versions).

The dependency security features really do look awesome. I've been working on a project called Octotrack (http://octotrack.tiagoalves.me) for a while now whose objective is exactly that with other features for dependency management (currently only available for projects that use Bundler/Gemfile). It would be great to get your feedback.

Can you give specifics other than this new thing and pricing?

I feel like discovery engines making obvious recommendations is actually a non-trivial problem to solve, I remember Spotify used to recommend me a lot of 'well duh' stuff in Discover Weekly. When just going off raw data, you can't really just 'not recommend' popular things. I routinely tell fairly aware co-workers about JS projects that have thousands of stars on Github that they've never heard of.

(Also I'm kinda cynical of anyone 'not liking pricing', of course you don't, pricing models are designed to make you need to pay).

I hit https://github.com/trending as a lower-priority time-filler day-to-day. It is a "top 25" of most starred today, also viewable per programming language.

Unfortunately some of the slots are wasted on ever-popular projects which are always on the list, particularly in some of the more esoteric languages. It is also interesting to see how few stars are required to hit the language-specific top 25, especially on weekends/holidays.

No matter how awesome GitHub Discover's predictions someday grow to be, it's always useful to monitor the collective wisdom of the crowds.

I use http://usepanda.com/ for browsing through trending GitHub repos and read all tech related news. It has a nice feature of viewing feeds in columns. Great for spending two hours in the morning.

For me, the third repo they suggest is:

   A tool to suggest github repositories based on the 
   repositories you have shown interest in.
So meta.

I’m going to star then use the tool for more meta.

Wow didn't know there was a open source roller coaster tycoon 2 clone, that would be interesting to mod into some sort of server traffic representation.

It’s actually really good, I played it quite a bit earlier this year. The main thing that makes it a lot better from the original rct2 is speed up button. It’s also entertaining to peek at the C code and figure out how they are calculating certain things like excitement rating.

For those wondering i'm assuming it's this repo: https://github.com/OpenRCT2/OpenRCT2

It looks like it requires a local copy of the original Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 to work. Why is that?

Wow...nostalgia going strong. These screenshots bring me back.


"OpenRCT2 needs the object files (containing graphics, sounds and models) from the original RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 to work. You'll need to have a copy of RCT2 before beginning."

After a number of years, the OS version of Transport Tycoon allowed developers to use their own graphics package; they made and open sourced one of those, so needing a copy of the original game was no longer necessary.

So, I have multiple GitHub accounts, and the recommendations — purportedly based on stars & people I follow — are identical for both. They are also really, really bad (I don't program in JavaScript, or .net, or Julia).

Doesn't work too well for me. The first ~15 suggestions are repos I already know, and contributed to most of them.

Yeah, because I've created issues with the Brave browser, my first 8 suggestions were other Brave repos. Not useful for me.

I was certain that this would be some sort of JS library filled with buzzwords. Instead, the very first hit was this: https://github.com/k4m4/movies-for-hackers. RIP my time management for the next month...

I would of preferred be able to see activity on my starred repos, instead of suggestions based on my stars

Why is this gated behind a login?

Because it's recommendations based on your stars and people you follow.

Sure, but visiting the URL itself gives no context and just throws you to the generic login page. Conversely, this makes for the sort of HN submission that can't be evaluated without logging in to the provider in question; and unlike a paywall it can't even be bypassed by workarounds.

There is a logged-out feature called 'Explore' [1] whose prominence on the GitHub frontpage has fluctuated with time; now it's prominent again. Both of these features showcase projects; one is curated by the company while the new 'Discover' is curated by an algorithm based on your activity. They appear to exist side-by-side without any linkage or references to the other.

[1] https://github.com/explore

It's based on repos that you liked and people you follow.

It's basically a personalized version of the Explore page: https://github.com/explore

Now add a sidebar widget which lists the last 10 repositories that I committed to.

Took a look and still prefer to use Github Trending: https://github.com/trending/javascript?since=weekly

I have a lot of JS blogs/twitters/subscriptions that I use to keep up-to-date, and generally most of the articles I read will appear in the first couple of pages of the trending repositories.

Hi guys, Make end users evaluate the product as early as possible, that's the methodology. Maybe what you have seen today is an pre-alpha version of the github recommendation product, they will gather your comments and decide what to create.

- The feed design is poor, I don't like the alway black bold font for every repo name, but they keep blue font for branch name.

It either recommended stuff I already new about and use (even if I have never forked or contributed) or stuff that was not interesting at all to me. I might be an outlier here of course. I wonder how much fine tuning of their algorithm is possible though.

Good to see some work on the homepage, but there's still so much potential! I wish I could mark activity messages as read and remove them from the feed. It should behave more as an "inbox"

I wish I could find notifications I already marked as read. Sometimes I click a notification, then and I click back, then I click on the next notification, now the first notification is gone forever because it’s not longer in my browser history.

Interestingly, the "Discover repositories" tab does have "dismiss" fields for every row!

pretty cool suggestions, even though it suggests one of my own projects.

The suggestions are not so great for me. It seems to think that I'm interested in pretty much every Julia package out there and nothing much else. Not sure where it gets this idea because none of my own repos contain Julia code and I starred very few Julia projects if any at all.

Probably cos you’re following Doug Bates — he’s quite a well-known Julian...

I haven't starred anything to do with Ethereum or any other cryptocurrency, but 5 of my top ten are all Ethereum-related projects. Go figure!

I scrolled through the list yesterday... to find my own repo there. Thanks, Github, I'm aware of my own work :-)

Notifications are coming to Github soon? https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/24463350/31359811-...

What do you mean? GitHub has had notifications for a long time. Possibly since day one, but I don't remember.

How long until they recommend libraries in our IDEs?

Random selection of repositories would be better. Perhaps with a filter filtering out anything with too many stars.

Reason: I know 80-90% of recommended projects.

This has been around for years.

But now it seems to be on your logged-in homepage and it lists repos related to your stars.

I know Github has some sort of /explore link when you were logged out, but it's so out of sight that I only remember it when I accidentally visit Github on my incognito tab every few months.

I think it was explore, not discover and also, was not on the homepage.

why the hell does it include repos I have already starred?

Applications are open for YC Winter 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact