Yesterday, GitHub announced in a blog post that they are deprecating the Network Graph from the repository’s Insights panel and that visits to this page will be redirected to the forks page instead. Following this announcement, they removed the network graph. On the same day, however, they deleted the blog post and also added back the network graph.
The network graph is one of the useful features for developers on GitHub. It is used to display the branch history of the entire repository network, including branches of the root repository and branches of forks that contain commits unique to the network.
Users of GitHub were alarmed on seeing the blog post about the removal of network graph without any prior notification or provision of a suitable replacement. For many users, this meant a significant burden of additional work.
— Misael Calvillo (@misaelcalman) May 1, 2019
hey @github can you provide more insight on why you deprecated the network graph? https://t.co/ZeysLBpsQ7 This was a rather valuable feature for me and the forks page doesn't accomplish the same goal. I can no longer visualize the status of all branches on my repo.
— theterg (@theterg) May 1, 2019
Did @github remove the network graph from their platform?
Please say no…
— Matt Bernhardt (@morphosis7) May 1, 2019
This was one of the biggest value adds on the entire website: the @GitHub Network Graph was uniquely positioned to give an overview of activity across the whole fork network for a project, which is difficult to do locally. I hope @GitHub can share more on the reasons for removal.
— John Marshall (@jomarnz) May 1, 2019
Following the backlash and requests to bring back the Graph Network, on the same day, the Community Manager of GitHub posted on its community forum, that they will be reverting this change, based on the users’ feedback. Later on, the blog post announcing the deprecation was removed and the network graph was back on its website.
This has brought a huge sigh of relief amongst GitHub’s users. The feature is famous for checking the state of a repository and the relationship between active branches.
The network view “reappeared”! 🙂
Thank you @github for not crippling your platform ❤️
— dotemacs (@dotemacs) May 2, 2019
@github thanks for listening to user feedback and restoring branch network graph feature promptly!
— Chris Russell (@AlpineLakes) May 2, 2019
GitHub has not yet officially commented on why they removed the network graph in the first place. A Reddit user has put up an interesting shortlist of suspicions:
- The cost-benefit analysis from “The Top” determined that the compute time for generating the graph was too expensive, and so they “moved” the feature to a more premium account.
- “Moved” could also mean unceremoniously kill off the feature because some manager thought it wasn’t shiny enough.
- Microsoft buying GitHub made (and will continue to make) GitHub worse, and this is just a harbinger of things to come.