June 22nd, 2011
Many command line elitists may not be all that excited about GitHub for Mac, an application for managing your local and GitHub-hosted Git repositories by the GitHub team, but I’m sure they’ll respect what I feel is its ambitious goal.
You see, with one application GitHub has just expanded its potential customer base many times larger than it already is. GitHub isn’t just for command line elitists anymore. Now just about anyone that can use a Mac application, and understand what it is to commit a new version of their work here and there, can use Git and GitHub to help control their source.
Before today GitHub’s potential customer base, or target-market if you will, has been those that fully grok Git, the command line, and source control. Or, people willing to put in the work to go through the tutorials to become one of these people. Their website was simply icing on the cake for people already using that workflow. In fact, their service was so compelling that many have switched from other source control platforms to Git just to take advantage of GitHub. However, now for all of the designers, copywriters, hobbyists and even solo development shoppes that didn’t seen the need to learn and fully understand source control – Git just got easy and GitHub made it happen. And that is many, many, many people.
Some, including myself, would argue that this could breed a bunch of people that understand GitHub for Mac more than they understand Git. And I think it is fairly obvious that understanding Git, for any professional, is more valuable than understanding GitHub for Mac. However, now that I’ve thought it over for these last few hours I’m beginning to see this application as an extension of GitHub’s many other offerings to make Git easier. You see, GitHub has always provided documentation, events, online training and tools to try to make Git easier for everyone. If Git is easy to use more people will use it and therefore more people will sign up and pay for GitHub. GitHub for Mac is simply an extension of these educational efforts that GitHub has always offered since the beginning. It is yet another lily pad for people to jump on as they cross from shore to shore. Brilliant.
GitHub for Mac isn’t the first application to give Git a UI on the Macintosh but it is the first that came from the guys behind GitHub and that alone will be enough to make many people make the jump. It also helps that the application is very good. If they work as feverishly to keep GitHub for Mac up-to-date as they do all of their other services I think everyone will look back at this app’s launch as a major point in the company’s already incredible story.