Almost everything related to digital social innovation will require a good deal of coding. Luckily, with the advent of code sharing platforms, there are free and easy ways to collaborate with others on developing code. Furthermore, you often don’t have to start from scratch as many fellow coders post their code for free so others can improve, reuse and develop it.
Open code sharing platforms are helping the creators of these digital innovations to share their work and contribute to a wider community developing it together- achieving more than they could do alone.
Linux open source operating system is one of the most famous and longstanding examples of open source code development. GitHub, which at its simplest can be described as an open source tool for people to come together online and collaborate around a project, is one of the largest and most popular platforms for sharing and developing code.
In the majority of cases, the projects people use Github to collaborate around are code for websites and software solutions. As a code project is developed, Github stores and manages revisions to projects. The site’s key feature is the ability to ‘fork’ projects, allowing copying of an open source code repository from one user account to another.
This capability enables a developer to copy a code that he or she does not have editing access to modify it. The developer can then share any modifications with the original owner through a so called “pull request”. The developer can then choose to accept any changes made and merge these with the original version.
This makes Github both a tool for quickly developing a new project collaboratively, as well as a facilitator for new digital collaborations to emerge online through ‘forking’ and ‘pulling’.
Some of the more than 5 million projects on Github include the DSI projects we mention in this list, including crowdfunding platform Goteo and the crowdmapping platform Ushahidi, and we have also published the code behind digitalsocial.eu on Github as well.
Icon made by Dave Gandy of flaticon.com