All at Once: Setting Up GitHub for Mac

As a designer turning developer, I am most comfortable with tools that provide a sleek UI for actions usually reserved for the command line inclined.

While there are other great tools out there that fit the bill (Tower, for example), GitHub for Mac is free and does exactly what it needs to do: interface with GitHub and my repositories.

Let's get right to it and see how we can set up a new project locally using GitHub for Mac.

Initial Setup

I'll make a few assumptions as we move along here. 1) I'll assume you know what a repository is (short answer: collection of your files) and 2) I'll assume you set up an account at GitHub because it's free. I'll also just go ahead and assume that you've downloaded the GitHub for Mac app and installed it on your computer (aka copied it to your Applications folder).

Fire up GitHub for Mac and let's get started adding your user info. You'll need to fill out your GitHub username and password. Also, don't forget to set your name and email address. These will serve as an identifier later when you commit changes to a repository.

(click an image to enlarge)

github for mac sign ingithub for mac signed ingithub for mac user details

Creating a Repository and Linking a Local Folder

There are many ways you can set up a folder on your Mac. The easiest way is probably using Finder and adding a project folder wherever you normally keep your projects. Once you've done that, head back over to GitHub for Mac and navigate to the "Repositories" area. (Once you're past the initial setup, this is the default window.) Click on the plus sign (+) to create a new repository - "Create new repository...". It should look like the one below:

(click to enlarge)

create a new repo

Once you've clicked on this, you'll need to add the details for your new repo. It should look like the one below, with your project name, description, and local path, of course.

repo project details

Wrap Up

That's all there is to it! You now have a folder on your machine that GitHub for Mac is watching for changes. In a separate article later on, I'll talk about how to commit your changes and get them to the GitHub repo online.

So far everything seems to be going well for me. I've only scratched the surface of what's possible with git at this point, but it's enough to get me moving on to setting up the rest of my project so I can start writing some code!

Stay tuned! In the next article, I'll talk about setting up MAMP and CodeKit to watch your folder for changes as well so it can do its magic with SASS/Compass. Things are about to get exciting!

On a side note, I think these articles are going to get long, so I'm also considering turning this into a video series. If you'd rather see screencasts of this process, drop me a line in the comments below. If enough people are interested, I might go that route for future steps.

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