Home / Technology / App News /  GitHub gets new features to help developers build apps faster and identify security issues at the beginning

After making access to private repositories free for everyone and slashing prices of paid plans last month, GitHub Inc, has announced a bunch new features to accelerate application development, enhance security of applications and enable seamless discussion within the community.

One of the pain points faced by all developers on GitHub has been the time spent on configuring and setting up an environment. With the new cloud based developer environment called Codespaces, many of the dependencies, tools, extensions, and dotfiles can now be loaded automatically within a few seconds. This will speed up the application development process by removing barriers so developer can focus on the program.

“We are really excited about Codespaces. If you want to contribute to an open source project, you can easily find one on Github. But contributing to it and writing a code can be complex and time taking. With Codespaces, if you want to work on a project, you can just click a button and it will automatically give you an environment with all the dependencies and configuration needed for a project," said Jamie Cool, VP of Product, Security GitHub Inc.

To help developer community have more open ended conversation within their repository, GitHub has added Discussions. It will have a threaded format so developers can start a conversation and respond to each others’ queries. Currently in beta, GitHub Discussions has been developed in the open with a number of communities.

To improve the security posture of developers and assist them in making more secure applications from scratch, GitHub has introduced Advanced Security which automates security directly into the developer workflow. It uses Code scanning to run security checks across codes as they are being written. This would help developers identify vulnerabilities early on in the development life cycle, and minimise the risk of future security breaches.

Further, GitHub’s Secret scanning, earlier known as token scanning, can now scan private repositories for known secret formats to protect against leakage of private keys and passwords.

To help organisations that operate in highly-regulated industries with greater security and compliance requirements migrate to cloud with ease, GitHub has announced Private Instances. It offers features such as instance isolation, bring-your-own-key encryption, backup archive and compliance with regional data sovereignty requirements.

Impact of covid-19 on developer activity

GitHub has also released their Octoverse report, detailing any changes in developer activity in recent months due to covid-19 led lockdown and remote working requirements.

According to the Octoverse report, during the first three months of 2020, developer activity was largely consistent in comparison to activity in the same time period last year.

However, GitHub issues in enterprise repositories saw fluctuation due to covid-19 outbreaks. The flux seen in issues is a result of the distributed nature of work, which disrupted the ceremony, structure, and coordination of enterprise software development.

Developers are working for longer hours by up to an hour on both weekdays and weekends. This can be attributed to non-work interruptions that people face while working from home.

The report further suggests that developers are collaborating more than before, especially on open source projects.

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