File Under: Web Services

GitHub Brings More Git Superpowers to the Web

Creating a new file on GitHub. Image: GitHub

Code hosting giant GitHub has added a small but significant new feature to the site: the ability to create new files through the web interface. The change makes it easier for non-Git-savvy contributors to quickly and easily add files to a repository.

You’ll find the new file creation tool just to the left of a repository’s breadcrumb menu. Click the new “New File” icon and GitHub will create a new file, ask you to name it and open it in the file editor — all right within your web browser.

Couple the new file creation tool with Git’s existing on-site document editor and you have the plain-text aficionado’s alternative to online editing suites like Google Docs or Microsoft’s Office 365.

At the very least the ability to create new documents through the web interface makes GitHub a more full-featured blogging engine for anyone using Jekyll, Hyde or other static site generators in conjunction with GitHub.

The new file creation tool is smart too. If you try to create a new file in a repository that you don’t have access to, GitHub will automatically fork the project and help you send a pull request to the original repository with your new file (much like it does when you edit a file through the web interface).

You can also do a bit of URL hacking to automatically create new files. Just add ?filename=yournewfile.txt at the end of the URL and GitHub will pre-fill the filename field with yournewfile.txt.

GitHub has also launched a new status site to report the current network health of the site. Should you for some reason not be able to connect to GitHub you can check the new status page to see if GitHub is down or if the problem is on your end. There’s also a new @githubstatus Twitter account you can follow for updates.