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Github redesigns Profiles (github.com)
169 points by obilgic on Sept 20, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 83 comments

It looks very nice, but there's a couple of things that bug me:

- Now "owning" a repo seems even more important. Regularly commit to someone else's repo? Not evident unless you go digging for it.

- The timeline bar-graph used to show blue for your own commits and grey for other people's. Now it either looks like you did all the work (your own repo), or someone else did it (forked repos).

Even if these two don't matter to you personally, I fear it'll help drive behaviour you see a lot in the Ruby community where, unless it's a huge project like Rails, people start their own versions in the hope of getting it popular and recognised. There's little status to be gotten from tinkering on "someone else's" repo.

(Think social startups except with code libraries.)

They've also removed the "traffic" graph, that showed you how many people have viewed your project over the last 90 days or so (I can't remember the exact amount). That was a very useful way to gauge interest.

Honestly, IMO, GitHub has been getting worse, not better, since the spring. I have no idea why, but they're taking away features -- perhaps to speed up the site?

Anyway, I don't get it. They dropped their "social coding" motto awhile back, perhaps they're targeting other things now? Maybe they had to scale back features to raise that $100 million? It's a mystery.

I really, really miss the traffic graphs. Before I moved to github I had google analytics running for each of my projects, which was absolutely amazing for discovering when people talked about them. The increased contributions is worth the trade off, but I do miss that info.

a friend of mine built this which you might find useful: http://githalytics.com/

The problem with that is it only tracks a single page.

Yeah, the removal of the graph sucks.

Call me silly, but I really liked that graph .. it gave me a little boost of pride to bring up my github page and see the effect of a burst of hacking activity in visual form. Obviously the info's still around in the commit logs, but it seemed much more obvious in the graph.

I guess computing the graph did probably consume CPU time, but isn't that exactly the sort of thing that differentiates github from a "dumb" git repo provider?

I agree it sucks to have lost the traffic graph. Would love to have it back

I've complained a few times on twitter to @github about removing the traffic graph. I used it as a motivator myself, and a way of trying to prioritise what project to work on.

A spike in traffic could mean I invested that extra time to land something new in a project, that was a great way for github to ensure commitment in projects.

Apart from that I think every change in the last six months have been good.

Asked @holman about the blue (https://twitter.com/holman/status/248690023887675392):

  @damncabbage: @holman Was the removal of the blue from
  the repo commit timeline bar-graphs intentional? Update
  looks good, by the way. :)

  @holman: @damncabbage definitely. Blue behind text
  would be really distracting.

  @damncabbage: @holman Hmm, point. What about having
  the blue appear when the timeline fades in on hover,
  or just a darker shade of grey?

  @damncabbage: @holman The post over at HN has a few 
  reasons why some of us are a bit blue about the
  missing, uh, blue in the graphs:

  @holman: @damncabbage We’re pretty pleased with it.
(??? Confused about that last one.)

I miss the blue too, so I made an extension that adds the old-style coloring for your commits: https://github.com/typpo/github-participation-graph

... And the blue is now back: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4560768

The primary workflow promoted by github seems to be to fork (using github's sense of the word) and use pull requests to contribute. This workflow, I imagine gets you to spend more time on the site, as opposed to using github simply as an ssh endpoint. This workflow also seems to be the biggest complaint about github by hardcore git users.

The change then looks to be simply an effort to highlight the workflow they want you to use.

I must however note that any effort to shout conspiracy should be tempered by the fact that github makes its money by selling private repos, so the above change, while reinforcing their suggested workflow, does not necessarily benefit them directly.

The primary workflow promoted by github seems to be to fork (using github's sense of the word) and use pull requests to contribute.

I agree, I'm definitely not disputing that.

With the removal of the blue from the commit timelines, the profile of someone who forks and commits to a bunch of popular projects (eg. Rails, jQuery, MiniTest) now looks the same the profile of someone who just forks a bunch of projects; you need to dig around a bit to tell the difference.

(I've been seeing an increasing trend of people who fork popular projects and don't do anything with them; I don't know if it's trying to fake activity on GitHub to look better when going for a job or what. Examples: https://github.com/chardy https://github.com/yanovitchsky https://github.com/VasyOk )

> There's little status to be gotten from tinkering on "someone else's" repo.

Agreed. Additionally, even if you are a collaborator on someone else's repo it doesn't show on your profile, which greatly under-represents a user's activity on Github.

This. I do my most interesting work on a project started by someone else where I am a collaborator. In addition I work on repos in organisations. It would be nice if these connections were more clear.

I'm seeing forks just as prominently as "owned" repos, so I don't see the problem.

If you fork a repo and then issue a pull request, you 'own' the forked version, but the original still doesn't show up.

This breaks for the traditional git workflow, which doesn't revolve around the 'forking' step.

In other words, if I commit regularly to another person's repository, even if I don't have a (public) 'forked' version, those commits should still show up regardless.

Agreed - But is it feasible to put this into our own server and link in from say the readme (is there anything user generated on profile (on iPhone now))

it's not a great solution but hack away till Preston-Warner gets the feedback I say - if there is a readme on profile I might try it

"> There's little status to be gotten from tinkering on "someone else's" repo.

So github is about status? Silly me, I thought was contributing to OSS.

There's nothing wrong with wanting recognition for work that you do. Especially when Github is a great way to show future employers your contributions to OSS. Why make that harder to see?

Your opinion doesn't change "My Library" behaviour I'm worried this will help drive.

I am not crazy about the new design. It actually feels less designed to me.

Particularly I don't like that the activity is now hidden on profile pages. I often like to look at people's activity, and it bothers me that it is an extra click away every time now.

I miss the blue to distinguish your own commits from commits by other users.

Information that used to be available right on top such as organizations, and people the user is following are now harder to find or below the fold (on my macbook air 11").

Also now that the filters on top have more emphasis (All, Public, Private, etc) I think they should remove ones that are not useful. For example I don't have any private repos or mirrors so I feel like there shouldn't be links to empty pages, but this is a minor detail.

On top of that I think the page itself has a bit too much white space. It feels a bit plain to me.

  It actually feels less designed to me.
Some would say that less design is a good thing, for the same reasons less code is a good thing.

Only if that less code and less design expresses more

I agree the loss of who works on what is poor - but it's always been hard to tell mine vs yours - I am a bit annoyed but on mature reflection I want to give them the benefit of the doubt and see them iterate out

The equivalent to 'less code' is more likely to be 'less pixels' rather than 'less design'. Design isn't neccesarily just excess flourish.

More change for the sake of change from Github.

Both the profile and the dashboard now show less information than they used to. The icons are a nice touch but totally irrelevant, and are not effective on a quick glance.

Meanwhile, the streams constantly show redundant information: e.g. 10 successive commits+push or wiki edits on the same project (happens all the time in my feeds) consume 10 distinct rows - why not collapse them together?

The launch bar was actually a cool idea, but it's more of a hack than a useful tool. And pray tell me what good does the /launch page do? Why should I ever use it as a landing page?

And don't get me started on the push performance, which is abysmal and feels like it has constantly been degrading over time.

I'll say it again, I <3 github, and they're a truly awesome team. But for the past several months every single change they've made was a big "wow, new X, let's take a look" followed by a sad, soft "meh".

Less information? I can now understand people's projects far quicker, and read information about them far quicker.

As both a designer, and a programer, neither side of me has complaints. It's much cleaner and very much a step in the right direction.

Just because you're not fumbling to say what a beautiful new change it is, I am betting without realising it will make your life easier.

People don't like change.

There is definitely less information visible on the Dashboard page than before. The idea of collapsing similar items together would actually add some value, instead of just adding more whitespace and changing the icons.

> People don't like change.

Never say never, Less is more, blah blah blah.

Here are a few userscripts that I find helpful on profile pages:




They don't address your stream comment, but one of my gripes is not being able to see repo counts when filtering, or having the option to fill in "repo descriptions" for older projects.

EDIT: I like the re-design and the fact Github is constantly evolving

Those are great! Thanks so much for sharing.

Must be a challenge to keep those repos up to date with the constant changes at GitHub, though.

I like to play a game called "When I wake up tomorrow, will github have changed?"

That's why I love github :)

It's weird that it doesn't distinguish between your commits and others'.

I have one forked repo that I forked to fix a line in their docs, and it looks to all the world like I spent a time of time on it.

Did you mean repositories? There's a slightly different icon for forked repos, but it's not very obvious.

The commit activity graphs used to differentiate between your activity (blue) and other people's activity (grey).

Now it's just all grey. :(

I still can't write a blurb about myself. I'd really like to see that, since (for a lot of people) Github is starting to be the geek resume.

+1 That's a really good idea, I'm kind of surprised it hasn't been there from the start.

It's pretty easy to tell if you're a "python hacker" or a "C hacker" etc. with a quick glance over your repos and their descriptions.

But not everything can be in open view of the public; it'd be nice to mention closed source projects you've worked on as well.

Im not really sure whats going on here. Github without a doubt is great, however, I'm not really sure how people like these changes. The UI and general flow is going from a concise, fairly simple site (design-wise) to a bloated feeling over-designed (useless icons, far to much white space, and removal of info) website.

This is concerning because its a sign of to much focus, going from x1 amount of resources to x10 means you risk over-developing what was great. You have too much time, to many resources, so you over develop things when they truly don't need any changes (at the time). The only saving grace here is they could be in the middle of a shift to a much larger vision, so these changes all seem poor until it all comes together in the following months. I have to ask though, why the shotgun approach to the updates then, they should take their time, once a week would be enough change for me, allow me to actually feel out the changes before adding more. =/

I get the whole big icon small icon thing for the feeds, and it looks great when they're in sequence with others of the same size, but when it's mixed it looks really bad IMHO. I'm no design pro so I dont know what a good solution would be but it throws things off

...how about some privacy controls? I'd really prefer not to advertise which users and projects I'm following or starring. Now I have Facebook trying to own and broadcast my personal life and GitHub trying to own and broadcast my professional one. Ugh.

Can you give an example where you would star something you find embarrassing?

I don't need to. What I choose to pay attention to should be private by default.

And it's not about personal embarrassment, it's also about security. If I star code I rely on to watch for updates, I'd be publicly advertising the attack surface for my app. That really sucks.

How are you getting updates for projects you've starred?

An api wrapper for RedTube.


I certainly understanding wanting to have control over what you want private. But stars and forks are the main things I use to evaluate a project I'm unfamiliar with. If a project has 1000 stars and 100 forks I know it's pretty solid. If those metrics were disabled by default Github loses a lot of value, since the majority of users would stick with the defaults.

The counter doesn't have to be private, but being able to view exactly what one person has starred should have a privacy control. We do this at MusicBrainz with 'subscriptions' (to be notified when something changes). We give a number of subscribers, and those with public subscriptions are explicitly listed: http://musicbrainz.org/artist/10adbe5e-a2c0-4bf3-8249-2b4cbf...

Check your dashboard/News Feed. Also featuring a new design right now.

And it's awful. I used to be able to see the description about a repository someone I follow had starred, and it was easily my best way to find out about interesting projects.

Now, all you see is username/repositoryname, which is damn near useless. They replaced actual content with...whitespace.

I don't know how they screwed this one up so badly, but they need to change it back to being socially useful again, and pronto.

+1, starred without the description is pretty much useless. All I read is "Random Person starred OtherRandom/random-repo". Need to save room? Group similars together. "X, Y, Z and 15 others starred X/Y, The coolest util in the world".

Really? We had to jump to "awful" for missing that one feature? Don't get me wrong, it sounds awesome and like something they should definitely add back in... but really? "Awful"!?

Our language is being diluted.

Couldn't agree more. Without the description of what the repo is, it's just clutter.

They forgot an important aspect of UI design: important info is never perceived as clutter by the user (from some page in 'Don't make me think')

Thanks for pointing that out. I really dislike that they got rid of user thumbnails, makes the GitHub experience feel less social.

There's a facebook in my github.

Github are absolutely killing it right now. Seems like everyday there's a new HN submission about a cool new Github feature or redesigned aspect. The new profile design is nice, but seems more emphasis has been placed on users who own repos as opposed to contributing to other repos.

Still needs a space to add in a brief bio though considering Github is considered to be the new age developer resume.

The frontpage posts recently have been about site-wide GitHub outages (twice), plus their blog post about how it happened.

Not exactly "killing it", unless I misunderstood you...

Slow down there for a minute, man. It was in reference to the new command bar feature they recently implemented, being able to search & filter stars, the addition of the commit status API and all of that was introduced this month. September has been a very busy month for Github in terms of changes and functionality, so yes I'd say killing it.

As for the outages, at least they were honest and transparent about the outages unlike many other companies who try and sweep it under the rug. Accountability and transparency are 2 great traits to have in a company.

No need to be so cynical erichocean.

Since they have not posted anything about it yet, this might again be an accidental release of the branch.

I wonder how many of these accidental deploys they have on a regular basis which we don't notice.

Or perhaps we've spent the past few weeks furiously improving performance so we can ship this genpop, and we chose to ship during downtraffic times to give extra insurance the feature would improve speed rather than degrade it.

No deploy is on accident.

Are you saying the last one was not an accident either?

Only reason I thought this was an accident is because there was no blog post about it. Usually Github introduces it's every single improvement[1] on it's blog. Compared to them this definitely deserves an introduction.

[1] https://github.com/blog/1184-contributing-guidelines

I asked Zach Holman: It wasn't an accident, and a blog post will be up later.


What's a genpop?

"General population"

definitely seems that way, some of it doesn't work. The repository filters are not implemented.

It works for me

it seems to work for me now. Maybe it was a caching issue with my browser.

Not happy with the change. More whitespace, but harder to see what is going on. I would like:

- to see the activity of all repos at a glance, not just on hover - visually pick out repos that are predominantly in one language over another

I wish they would spend resources on being as fast as they used to be. Pushing and pulling has become slower and slower over the past couple of years.

Extremely poor scroll performance, it has to re-draw everything every time I scroll. OS X 10.8.1, Safari 6.0, 15" 2009 MacBook Pro.

The design is nice, though.

Interesting cosmetic change - debatable if it's for the better (the repo activity graphs are now barely visible, and the user activity bars have disappeared).

I'd prefer to see work done on features that are hurting the utility of the profile page - like listing repos that you're a collaborator of, but not necessarily the owner.

As it stands, the profile page is a misrepresentation of a user's work on Github.

Why do great websites always feel compelled to redesign? Digg, Stumbleupon, Facebook etc. It is very unsettling. The equivalent of someone coming into you home when you're not there and changing the entire floorplan, then expecting you to be elated when you come back at night, instead of confused and disoriented when all of the cupboards seem larger than they appear.

It isn't your home, it's a hotel.

The profile is a real improvement (although it might be preferable to fit more repos into a smaller space?), but the public activity stream still seems as hopeless as before. I pointed out some reasons with pictures for the older version, but the points still apply: http://pygm.us/RFLFk4nt.

The page is really, really slow on an iPad 1. There must be something wrong since it's so simple, probably some CSS weirdness.

The one thing I wish were clearer is whether a respository is a fork or not. I'd like to easily be able to scan the page and pick out the forks.

I was surprised when I saw it too... not even a blog post about it?

It looks nice though.

These changed haven't been applied to Github:Enterprise yet.

what's with all the negativity :P. the new design is waay better. I'm surprised they haven't updated it 'till now.

While I agree with you, the one thing I miss is the repo description on my news feed. Before I could have an at a glance view of what my friends were starring and hacking on without ever having seen it before. Now If I want to know what visionmedia/every, mattlong/hermes, or erichocean/blossom is I need to click through. It's not much, but it's definitely going to put an extra step in the filtering of signal vs. noise.

It flickers when I scroll down on Safari. Very Annoying.

Pretty, not nonsense :^) Will android app aplly too?

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