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GitHub Introduce Issue and Pull Request Templates, Direct File Upload

by Sergio De Simone on Feb 23, 2016 |

GitHub introduced a new, highly requested feature that will allow project maintainers to define custom templates for issues and pull requests. Additionally, GitHub’s web UI now supports the possibility of uploading files.

Issue and pull request (PR) templates allow project maintainers to customize the information that is displayed to contributors in the issue, or pull request, form body. This is made possible by adding an ISSUE_TEMPLATE resp. PULL_REQUEST_TEMPLATE markdown-formatted file to either the root of a repository or to a hidden .github directory inside of it. This feature will make it easier for contributors to clearly state what information is expected from contributors, such as a reference to an existing issue for PRs, or steps to reproduce, a description of the expected vs. actual behaviour etc. for issues.

The lack of customizability of GitHub issues and pull requests were among the main reasons for discontent of a pretty large number of open source project maintainers that earlier this year sent GitHub an open letter. Approximately one month after the open letter was made public, GitHub responded by reaffirming GitHub’s commitment to solve developers’ frustrations. As InfoQ reported, that reply appeared to several commentators both late and adding very little.

In a statement to InfoQ, GitHub’s head of open source Brandon Keeper clarified the following:

“Issue and Pull Request templates are the first of many to come; look out for other initiatives aimed at open source maintainers and the strong communities they’ve built on GitHub”.

In addition to issues and PRs templates, GitHub also added an unrelated feature to its web UI to allows developers to upload files. Before that, GitHub web UI only allowed to create new files, while uploading required using the command line.

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