back to article GitHub redesign goes mobile-friendly – to chagrin of devs who shockingly do a lot of work on proper computers

GitHub has redesigned its web repository layout for an "improved mobile web experience", but developers were quick to find flaws in the new approach. GitHub said that its new design has three key features. First, a responsive layout to improve usability on mobile web browsers. Second, a repository sidebar for surfacing "more …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Windows

    Why do PC users have to be subject to an "improved mobile web experience" ?

    You want to improve the mobile web experience ? Great idea, as long as you do it for people using a phone.

    I do believe it is possible to make the distinction between a phone user and a PC user, and orient the browser to the proper site. Given that the guys coding the UI are very likely not doing so on their phones, I would have thought that they would see an interest in keeping those things separate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I do believe it is possible to make the distinction between a phone user and a PC user,

      The prior website did detect mobiles from their user agent string. It wasn't great if, for example, you turned your phone horizontal the single column would get stretched in an ugly way. The redesign is in fact responsive and in that regard, an improvement. The responsive ideals are let down by having a fixed maximum width so you do not benefit from a large monitor.

    2. Roml0k

      Re: Why do PC users have to be subject to an "improved mobile web experience" ?

      Don't think of it as "mobile web", think of it as "large text relative to display width".

      Even on desktop, there are a lot of people, especially those who experience poor eyesight, the effects of ageing and/or a small laptop screen, who appreciate having a usable interface when zoomed in 200-300%.

  2. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Qui bono?

    "I think it's just a design that we will keep iterating."

    I have two questions:

    [1] you "think" you'll keep iterating - are you not sure?

    [2] Why keep iterating? Most developers want familiar non-intrusive tools so they can get on with concentrating on their development, not constantly running up a learning curve for the tools.

    To me, this sounds like nonsense akin to the infamous "ribbon".

    1. wolfetone

      Re: Qui bono?

      "Most developers want familiar non-intrusive tools so they can get on with concentrating on their development, not constantly running up a learning curve for the tools."

      I find it odd that those developers then develop interfaces and software that keep moving the goal posts in terms of usability for Joe Bloggs and his dog.

      1. My-Handle

        Re: Qui bono?

        "I find it odd that managers of those developers then insist they develop interfaces and software that keep moving the goal posts in terms of usability for Joe Bloggs and his dog."

        FTFY

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Qui bono?

          Exactly. Software development done by management and marketing is doomed to bloat and user unfriendlyness.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Qui bono?

        It;s not odd at all. That's the whole point of DevOps ... keep the managers happily employed, constantly making changes to code. It has absolutely nothing to do with helping actual developers deliver stable, usable code that is friendly to end users.

    2. DemeterLast

      Re: Qui bono?

      I'm not a big user of GitHub outside of perusing repositories and docs, though I am a happy user of git itself. So I'm not sure how important the UI is to developers who use it a lot.

      But, I do know that I and the developers I know want interface stability. Pretty is less important than predictable.

  3. autisticatheist
    FAIL

    Releases?

    If all your releases on a repo are marked as pre-releases, there is no Releases link!

    You have to add "/releases" to the repo URL manually.

    Massive fuckup. Please revert.

    1. Def Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Releases?

      Do you work for Google by any chance?

  4. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Mushroom

    I'll tell you what you want...

    Some feel that the redesign was rushed without any real consultation.

    And therein lies the rub. Once again looks like they're just trying to be "trendy" and catering for an audience that basically doesn't exist (those who code and suchlike on a phone or similar sized screen). Was nothing learned from the whole Windows 8 debacle?

    We know what we want, and it doesn't line up so well with what you somehow think we want. Ask us and we'll tell you - not the other way about.

    Anyone would think they were Microsoft! Oh, wait a moment...

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: I'll tell you what you want...

      It would be interesting to know what percentage of GitHub users actually code from a phone or tablet.

      Could it be that MS in their infinite wisdom (or at the behest of from Marketing MBA) are solving a problem that really does not exist?

      It wouldn't be the first time that MS has done this. It is almost as it the words 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' are not allowed inside Planet Redmond.

      1. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C
        FAIL

        It's not just micros~1

        There are too many companies screwing their users over with trendy redesigns that make life harder than it needs to be. Grey-on-grey-on-grey palettes, hide-it ribbons, one interface regardless of screen size, and so on.

        Two examples of "WHY":

        The BBC news website (viewed from PC) gives a reasonable summary of a story on the title pages, but serves the story itself in a format that suits tablet resolutions better than wide screen monitors. Their news app (running on a tablet) give more of a clickbait summary and then has the same page served for the story itself. If there are interactive elements then the user has to RELOAD the story in order for the page to appear like the full fat browser version.

        A suite of software that I've been using extensively since the last century got a makeover to the trendy grey ribbon a while ago. The reason? A corporate buyout and the new owners want all their products to have the same interface. The new interface means the software is soo different that it might as well be a different product. Their corporate hubris has made it much harder for me to earn my wages. I only use one product of theirs - I don't care what the other products look like. Imagine BMW following the same "only on user interface" scheme. I can't see them using kickstands instead of handbrakes for the cars, so the'd end up changing the motorcycles. End result - an ashtray on a motorcycle.

        1. hoola Bronze badge

          Re: It's not just micros~1

          It is fashionable at the moment to have dynamic menus constantly flashing in and out as you move the mouse. The bit you want is there then not there or some sort of top menu bar on the page keeps getting taller so every time you think you are in the correct place it has then moved.

          Then this stupid obsession with shades of grey and no edges to anything. Websites that has allegedly passed accessibility tests are unusable because of piddling little fonts in grey on grey.

          And it is not just web sites, who the hell thought that in Window 10, Explorer should not have an edge? All this is designed and tested by a bunch of "graduates" who simply have no notion of what is actually useful. Management love it because it looks pretty so it must be okay.

        2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: It's not just micros~1

          It wouldn't be the first time that MS has done this. It is almost as it the words 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' are not allowed inside Planet Redmond.

          On current (and previous) evidence, the MS mantra seems to be more "If it ain't broke, we'll soon fix that..."?

      2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: I'll tell you what you want...

        It wouldn't be the first time that MS has done this. It is almost as it the words 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' are not allowed inside Planet Redmond.

        It's more along the lines of "If it ain't broke, 'fix' it till is IS broke".

    2. Zakhar

      Re: I'll tell you what you want...

      I am so glad I migrated all my code to GitLab the moment M$ bought that!

      They are doing what they do to all their acquisitions: turning it to sh*t before they do a write-off (Nokia, etc...)

      1. Sandgrounder
        Coat

        Re: I'll tell you what you want...

        The evidence points to a mixed record for Microsoft. They had a little early success with companies like Forethought and Consumers Software that built the products that became PowerPoint and Excel and don't forget Visio that made , er, Visio. It would be interesting to calculate the returns on those purchases with the sales of the Microsoft Office Suite.

        NAVision cost them $1.45 billion and became Dynamics. Unsure that would be classed as a success, except by a Dynamics evangelist but it has probably more than paid its way,

        Nokia is the best remembered disaster but Microsoft probably lost more money (nearly $7 billion write down) on aQuantive, an advertising platform that was expected to challenge the likes of DoubleClick.

        Skype cost them over $8 billion and if you only judged results by user feedback, it has been an unmitigated disaster from the start. A disaster that revolutionised the international calling market, taking over 45% at times, and earning billions of dollars per year.

        The purchase of Minecraft ruined the game forever according to some but under their stewardship it is quoted as the 2nd most played game of all time. Maybe the 112 million monthly players have failed to notice that it has been turned to sh*t.

        I realise that factual statements about one the Reg's favourite bogeyman won't go down too well in these parts but just occasionally the rabid hatred and blind ignorance can be annoying.

        PS. I don't have any Microsoft shares but I sure wish I did, alongside a drawer full of Apple, Oracle and Amazon stock.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: I'll tell you what you want...

          You seem to be confused. Vast numbers of users has never equaled good code. All vast numbers of users (and the dollars that they bring) signify is that whoever is marketing the software has scratched an itch with the GreatUnwashed. In other words, it has checked the boxes to satisfy the lowest common denominator. See Ubuntu and Red Hat for other examples.

          Four and a quarter billion flies all agree that great steaming piles of shit are nice places to raise their kids. I'm not planning on emulating them any time soon, either.

          1. Mike 16 Silver badge

            Re: I'll tell you what you want...

            "Vast numbers of Users"... I won't disagree with you that _some_ crap is actually sought out and bought by clueless users, but in my (work) experience of crap software (and hardware), it is very often down to the _buyer_ not being the _user_. For an appropriately lavish junket, er, informational seminar, it appears that a large number of mangers are quite happy to saddle their "grunts" with appalling tools.

            A grunt who objects is faced with a simple choice: Make the best of a horrible situation and settle for griping anonymously on the web, or "find another job" (with no 100% effective way to know if the new job is actually any better on the provided tools).

          2. Sandgrounder

            Re: I'll tell you what you want...

            Now that is a statement I can't argue with. Have an upvote.

        2. AJ MacLeod

          Re: I'll tell you what you want...

          Skype was fairly revolutionary in that it was the first decent VOIP solution that could be used by granny - however that was all BEFORE Microsoft bought it. Ever since then it has been abandoned to the point that I very rarely come across a customer that still uses it ( pre-MS it was ubiquitous)

          1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

            Re: I'll tell you what you want...

            I read an article last week doing a deep-dive on Skype, starting from how on earth could Zoom eat its lunch during the COVID-19 WFH rush.

            And they traced it to a very sudden disintegration after its interface was massively "up"graded (from mgt's perspective; from everyone else's: catastrophic downgrade of actual functionality).

  5. Locomotion69
    Coat

    Up the ladder

    Of moving from a useful tool for some towards useless for everybody.

  6. iron Silver badge

    Incorrect screenshot

    The screenshot in the article does not show the GitHub mobile website but is from the GitHub mobile app.

    Personally I like the new website design and have been using it on mobile and desktop since last week. But, I view all sites in dark mode, I doubt I would like the vast expanse of white that would be present otherwise.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think all these FB kids turned programmers

    would be totally lost in the simplicity of the LIbreOffice repository's bare-bones web UI.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: I think all these FB kids turned programmers

      ... and slackware.com would probably kill them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I think all these FB kids turned programmers

        ... and slackware.com would probably kill them.

        One could only hope.

  8. jake Silver badge

    "The new design does look better on an iPhone"

    Because I do all of my code/compile/run/break/repeat work on my BSD-based iFad. All those handy BSD/GNU development tools, designed specifically by coders, for coding, over the last 40+ years at my fingertips? Whats not to like!

    Oh, wait ...

  9. jake Silver badge

    "Some feel that the redesign was rushed without any real consultation."

    In today's world of DevOps? Really? Say it ain't so!

    Next you'll tell me that they didn't even run it by QA!

    Honestly, what did all y'all expect from Redmond?

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: "Some feel that the redesign was rushed without any real consultation."

      I don't think you know what DevOps is.

  10. ibejohn

    We use github orgs at my place of work, so I'm on there a lot (PR's etc) and I slightly puked when I saw the tab bar hugging the left side of the screen... I understand a mobile first approach to web UX, but github went "mobile only"... "margin: auto" ? come on github, did nobody bring up "we should at least center the tab bar"..... M$ ftw

  11. karlkarl Silver badge

    Going to assume this is more for the middle managers to log in with their latest iPhone and pretend to interact with the developers?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Going to assume this is more for the middle managers to log in with their latest iPhone and pretend to interact with the developers?

      PLEASE! Don't make it easier for them!

  12. YetAnotherJoeBlow

    Automation

    I substantially automate Github. Something broke a few weeks ago and my automation fails. I am in the process of locally hosting all my clients except certain secure repos. I have done this a lot lately for other services as well. It appears that I am not groking continuous delivery as it constantly breaks needed features. I rather dislike dumbbing down features to be more inclusive.

  13. Joseph Haig

    First impression

    I don't particularly object to the new layout but I honestly thought that someone had broken the CSS when I first saw it.

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