GitHub Mobile launches for iOS, GitHub Actions moves to GA

At GitHub Universe, the software development platform announced new and expanded features designed to help developers work more efficiently and to support the open source community.

At the GitHub Universe conference on Wednesday, GitHub announced a series of new and expanded features designed to help developers work more efficiently and to support the open source community. Among other things, the software development platform announced a new mobile application. It also announced the general availability of GitHub Actions, which enables developers to automate workflows. 

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"We put the developer first and think about the developers' daily lives -- the frictions, and what they want to achieve," Jason Warner, GitHub's SVP of Engineering, said to ZDNet. The aim of all of GitHub's new features, he said, is to create "the place where all software developers can  find their home, do their best work... and feel comfortable finding software and creating software." 

With the new GitHub Mobile, developers can handle tasks like managing incoming notifications, reviewing code, merging pull requests, and sharing feedback. GitHub Mobile is available for iOS in beta and will be available for Android soon.

GitHub doesn't expect to see developers writing code on their mobile devices. However, building digital products largely comes down to the kind of collaboration that can happen on the go, Dana Lawson GitHub's VP of Engineering and Product, said to ZDNet. 

"A lot of the software development lifecycle is that collaboration point," she said. "Writing the code is the icing on the cake."

Along with launching GitHub Mobile, GitHub is aiming to improve that collaborative process with a new notification experience. Rather than pushing notification emails out, GitHub is bringing an inbox-style UI directly to its own platform. Users can set up custom filters, and there are default filters for team mentions, direct mentions and code reviews. Users can also create lines of separation between notifications for work, open source or personal projects. 

The new notifications are available now in beta for GitHub Mobile users and will gradually roll out to all GitHub.com users over the next few months.
 
Meanwhile, in order to provide all users with a complete DevOps workflow pipeline, GitHub is bringing both GitHub Actions and GitHub Packages into general availability. Both will be a part of every developer account with included minutes, storage and data transfer, free for all public repositories. 

GitHub Actions launched last year in beta, and there are now more than 1,200 community-developed workflows available in GitHub Marketplace.

GitHub is also adding the free use of self-hosted runners, artifact caching, and the ability to run Actions on ARM-based architectures like Raspberry Pi.

GitHub Packages, meanwhile, is a package management service that makes it easy to publish public or private packages next to developers' code. Since introducing GitHub Packages in beta, more than 30,000 unique packages have been uploaded.

To support the open source community, GitHub also announced Wednesday that it's expanding GitHub Sponsors to projects. Launched back in May, GitHub Sponsors initially gave individual developers a way to get paid for their contributions. Now, an entire team can receive funding. 

"We like to think of coding as a team sport," Lawson said. "You win together, you lose together, you might as well get paid together."

Some of the top open source maintainers on GitHub are using GitHub Sponsors, and the aspiration is that "maybe one day they can make a living giving back to the community," Lawson said. 

GitHub is expanding GitHub Sponsors relatively slowly and deliberately, she added, "setting people up for long-term success." GitHub said that entails encouraging transparency and sharing insights with contributors no how funding decisions are made.