An Idea to Differentiate Github Forks

Lately I’ve been getting a little more into github. Lately I’ve converted the blog to jekyll, which has been doing me quite well, but I wanted to add just a couple of features that I couldn’t do via the plugins interface, like I did with the amazon liquid filters. The first was adding support for haml, but in a more integrated fashion.

I’ve used a plugin for haml, that I can’t really remember where I got, but I did have to change the jekyll source. Of course the way to accomplish this on github is to fork the repository, make the changes, and then push it back to github. I thought that there might be some of these already on one of the 521 forks of the original source to jekyll, but I couldn’t really tell if they were.

The changes I on my jekyll fork are minor in general and not really of note, but I was frustrated with looking through the forks that looked active on the network. Most of them have basically no indication of what has changed at all that is readily apparent. Of course with git you can make a diff of any two branches, but with such a heavily forked source, it is particularly hard to work out the differences.

So for my fork, I made one more change than the functional ones - I’ve added to the very top of the README file a couple of lines explaining what I did.

It’s something that I propose for other people who have forks - adding to the top of the README, which is one of the easiest things to see on the github default repository, what has been changed from the upstream that you forked from. Other advantages would be that you get some type of idea of how many changes there are from the upstream, as well as some idea of the ‘generation’ of the fork - if you’ve forked from a fork, there are two sets of changes, for example. The only downside that I can think of is that these are separate changes that you don’t want to have pulled to upstream. Because of that, it would be good to keep these changes on a different branch.

I’m going to be doing this for all of my forks on github in the near future.