August 13, 2018
I do lots of coding. Mostly for analysis and modeling of climate data. This requires keeping track of many files. Data files, code files, figures, reports, presentations, etc. Even for a single project the number of files tends to be 20 or more. And the files change as the project evolves. Tools like Google docs and Dropbox help me work from wherever I am but they don’t help me manage the project. This is important especially when working with my students and other collaborators. Distributed version control is the answer. Git is a popular version control software and GitHub is a widely used solution for it’s distribution. Unlike an app for your phone, getting Git/GitHub to work can be challenging especially if you have well-worn tracks in how you get things done. Fortunately there are folks writing great tutorials on how to overcome the initial challenges. I highly recommend the tutorials by Jennifer Bryan a software engineer at RStudio and a professor of statistics at the University of British Columbia. She has done a fabulous job of providing guidance to help you get started. Links: https://peerj.com/preprints/3159/, http://happygitwithr.com/. Get Git’ing.