GitHub Changes Make It Easier to Track Your Favorite Projects

Image: GitHub.

Code sharing giant GitHub has rolled out some significant changes to the site’s notifications system, making it easier to keep track of interesting projects without being notified of every single change.

GitHub has always made it easy to “watch” a project, which means you’re notified whenever there are any updates. Now the company has added another level of watching, dubbed “stars,” to the mix. As GitHub’s Kyle Neath writes on the company blog, “stars are a new way to keep track of repositories that you find interesting.”

When you star a project you can keep track of it, but you won’t be notified of every change. Think of starring a project on GitHub as a more casual way of watching, the equivalent of bookmarking it for later. To make it easier to do that, every repo now has a star button next to the familiar watch button.

The big difference between watching and starring a project comes down to notifications. If you are watching a repository, you will receive notifications for all discussions — project issues, pull requests, comments on commits and any other comments. If you’re not watching a repo you’ll just receive notification for the discussions you participate in.

The other main thing worth noting is that any repositories you were previously watching can now be found on your stars page. If you want to go back to watching them, you’ll need to change them over yourself. There’s also a new auto-watch feature; when you’re given push access to a repository GitHub automatically adds it to your watch list.

GitHub has a few other changes rolling out along with the new stars feature, including improved notification e-mails. Be sure to check out the GitHub blog for the full details on everything that’s new.