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GitHub Release Improved Developer Flow at Universe Event

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At their annual industry event, GitHub released new functionality with a focus on flow, better developer experience, and security.

GitHub Universe is an annual conference - which ran virtually this year - bringing a raft of announcements relating to new functionality in GitHub - Microsoft's developer source code repo and software integration tool. 

These enhancements take GitHub's ability deeper into the developer experience, with renewed focus on improving developer flow with improvements for users working with GitHub through an IDE (integrated development environment), to CI (continuous integration) and software builds, and brings GitHub closer to providing a complete development environment in the cloud.

Maintaining flow has proved to be an indicator of successful DevOps teams - and a frequent criticism of DevOps tools can be that these can hinder flow rather than improve it. GitHub provides functionality to log and track issues and problems, and provides a workflow for fixing these, and this functionality has become a cornerstone of running many open source projects. At Universe, GitHub announced changes to Issues functionality which allow filtering, sorting and grouping of issues and pull requests. This reflects the reality that many issues may be related and need to be worked on together.

GitHub's heritage is predominantly as a platform for collaborating on source code, with the key functionality being to hold a central copy of the Git repository for a project. With the launch of GitHub Actions in 2018, GitHub added the capability of using their platforms to actually run CI build jobs. At Universe, GitHub launched enhancements to this enabling users to reuse workflows - allowing for better consistency and standardisation of how build jobs are configured, and also integration with APIs for scaling runners in cloud and Kubernetes. This means that users can now couple together the needs of a build with the levers to add or remove build capacity, leading to a more efficient and more cost-effective build environment.

The industry is starting to see faster movement in the world of cloud development environments - where the functionality of a traditional desktop-based IDE is moved into the cloud. Traditionally the domain of comprehensive and heavyweight desktop packages from the likes of JetBrains (with IntelliJ and PyCharm) and Microsoft (with Visual Studio Code), cloud-based tooling has begun to emerge from the likes of Cloud9 from Amazon Web Services. GitHub Codespaces represents an entry into this space and brings Visual Studio Code into the browser with tight integration with GitHub. The ability to have an IDE with the sophistication and popularity of Visual Studio Code working in a browser arguably catapults GitHub towards the top of the innovators in this space.

GitHub Universe is enhancing the tools around the core GitHub proposition of managing users' source code - with a significant drive towards improving and centralising software builds, and hosting larger parts of the developer experience in the cloud. 

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