GitHub has become an invaluable resource to me over the years. It makes finding, cloning and forking existing projects incredibly easy and more fun than it probably should be. They've nailed a perfect blend of the social conventions we're accustomed to seeing on websites (Following, Friending, more or less "liking" projects) along with tools that make it easier as a developer, such as one-click forking, code browsing and graphs that show the commit history for a project.
Truthfully, it's almost too easy to pull projects from GitHub into my bag of tricks. As I browsed through it this morning, I found a couple of projects that made me scratch my head a little and wonder why I cloned them in the first place! In the interest of reminding myself why I've chosen to track these projects, and in the interest of sharing them, I'm going to start doing write-ups about the various projects I've cloned, forked or followed on a monthly basis.
Here's a rundown for May 2011:
jQuery Cycle Plugin — I use this jQuery plugin quite a bit for making slideshows and other animated content. Slideshow scripts are a dime-a-dozen these days, but this one has been around a while, is well documented, doesn't have a very large footprint and still gets consistent updates. Decided it was finally time to clone it so I'd always have the latest version available.
html-boilerplate-wp — I'm a big fan of the HTML5 Boilerplate project. This is a "blank" WordPress theme built on top of it. The original project is actually a few versions behind, so I forked this project to keep it up to date and customize a few things particular to how I like to build WordPress themes.
JSON-js — I've used this plenty of times when dealing with client-side JSON objects. Decided to clone it so I can keep an up-to-date version handy.
jquery-cookie — Another one I've used quite a bit but only decided to clone this month. Great for dead-simple, client-side cookie manipulation in jQuery. Hasn't been updated in a while, but there's really not much that's changed in jQuery or the way cookies or implemented to warrant it.
Lightbox_me — Sometimes you just need a super-simple lightbox. This fits the bill and works with jQuery. Boom. Colorbox and Shadowbox.js are nice, but they both have too many options for my typical needs. I used this one recently during the revamp of my website for my web development company Snaptortoise.
zombie — A really fast, headless browser for testing built Node.js. I haven't actually done anything with this yet, but it looked cool. I find it easy to get suckered into following a lot of Node.js projects these days, because the platform is so nascent. This one seems quite well thought-out and implemented so far.