GitHub releases mobile apps so maintainers can give thumbs ups on the go

GitHub on mobile

GitHub for mobile is now available via Google Play and the App Store – however, users still see some room for improvement.

The Microsoft-owned company announced a beta for its native mobile apps at GitHub Universe last November, giving those interested until now to get in their say. The result – which according to director of engineering Ryan Nystrom saw “nearly one hundred thousand pull requests in the last few weeks alone” – is now generally available.

It mainly offers those on the go a way to review pull requests, merge them or respond to issue comments, making sure projects aren’t held up simply because the rest of the team is awaiting feedback. Notifications turn up in an inbox-y looking UI, which lets users swipe to either save them for later or mark them as complete.

As you might have noticed, there’s no mention of code editing capabilities, meaning maintainers are only able to read code but will still have to fall back on the web UI if a quick fix is all it takes to get rid of an issue. 

While this is something most might be able to live without – editing code on a smartphone isn’t the most fun thing to do after all – initial feedback on the app as a whole is a mixed bag. Shortcomings often mentioned are the inability to switch to branches other than master, a lack of support for GitHub Enterprise features or possibilities looking at a commit history, and trouble signing in due to protocol issues. 

Some were also irritated by having to get used to a third look and feel and would have wished for a user experience closer to one of the options already available.

Those who tried it despite those flaws highlighted the app’s dark mode and responsiveness, most however accompanied their higher ratings by voicing expectations for features expanding the app’s initial capabilities. 

All in all, the tool could be a good helper for master maintenance, but there seems to be some work necessary still to make it more appealing for a larger user base.

The news comes in the wake of GitHub announcing an agreement to buy Node.js package manager npm, which is meant to be integrated into the repository management system in the long run.