4 min read

Yesterday, at the GitHub Universe annual developer conference held at San Francisco, the team announced a host of new changes to help developers manage and improve their development workflow. GitHub has been used by 31 million developers in the past year and is the most trusted code hosting platform. It received numerous support from developers all over the globe and the team has decided to appreciate this support by making life easier for developers.

Their new upgrades include:

  • Github Actions will help developers automate workflows and build while sharing and executing code inside containers on GitHub.
  • GitHub Connect for facilitating a unified business identity, unified search, and unified contributions.
  • Powerful security tools with the GitHub Security Advisory API
  • Improvements to the GitHub learning lab

Let’s look at these updates in depth:

#1 GitHub Actions

“A lot of the major clouds have built products for sysadmins and not really for developers, and we want to hand power and flexibility back to the developer and give them the opportunity to pick the tools they want, configure them seamlessly, and then stand on the shoulders of the giants in the community around them on the GitHub platform”
-GitHub head of platform Sam Lambert ( in an interview to Venture Beat)

Software development demands that a project is broken down into hundreds, if not thousands of small steps (depending on the scope of the project) to get the job done faster and efficiently. This means that at every stage of development, teams need to coordinate to understand the progress of each step. Teams need to work concurrently and ensure that their actions don’t overlap or overwrite changes made by other members. Many companies perform these checks manually, using different development tools which takes up a lot of time and effort.

Enter Github Actions. This new feature uses code packaged in a Docker container running on GitHub’s servers. Users can set up triggers for events. For instance, introducing new code to a project or packaging an NPM module or sending an SMS  alert. This trigger will set off Actions to take further steps defined by criteria set by administrators.

Besides automating tasks, GitHub Actions allows users to connect and share containers to run their software development workflow. They can easily build, package, release, update, and deploy their project in any language, without having to run code themselves.
Developer, Team, and Business Cloud plans can use Actions that are available in limited public beta on GitHub.

#2 Github Connect

“GitHub Connect begins to break down organizational barriers, unify the experience across deployment types, and bring the power of the world’s largest open-source community to developers at work.”
-Jason Warner, GitHub’s senior vice president of technology.

The team has announced that GitHub Connect is now generally available. GitHub Connect comes with new features like unified search, unified business identity, and unified collaborations.  Unified search can search through both the open source code on the site as well as internal code. When searching from GitHub Enterprise instance, users can view search results from public content on GitHub.com

The Unified Business Identity feature allows administrators to easily manage user accounts existing across separate Business Cloud installations. Using a single back-end interface, businesses can improve billing, licensing, permissions and policy operations.

Many developers come across the issue wherein their contributions are locked behind the firewalls of private companies. Unified contributions, lets developers get credit for the work they’ve done on repositories for businesses in the past.

#3 Better Security

The new GitHub Security Advisory API, automates vulnerability scans and makes it easier for developers to find threats in their code.
GitHub Vulnerability Alert now supports .NET and Java and developers who use these languages will get a heads-up if any dependent code has a security exploit. GitHub will now also start scanning all public repositories for known token formats and developers who accidentally put their security tokens into public code can be at rest.

On finding a known token, the team will alert the token provider to validate the commit and contact the account owner to issue a new token.

From automating detection and remediation to tracking emergent security vulnerabilities, looks like the team is going all out to improve its security functionalities!

#4 The GitHub Learning Lab

GitHub Learning Lab helps developers get started with GitHub, manage merge conflicts, contribute to their first open source project, and more. The team announced three new Learning Lab courses-  covering secure development workflows with GitHub, reviewing a pull request, and getting started with GitHub Apps. These courses will be made available to everyone.

Developers can create private courses and learning paths, customize course content, and access administrative reports and metrics with the Learning lab.

The announcements have caused a buzz among developers on Twitter:

It would be interesting to see how these updates shape the use of GitHub in the future.
To know more about the announcement, head over to GitHub’s official Blog.

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