Unconventional Github Projects

Github is a great tool for developers, but it isn’t just about storing source code. Its social and collaboration features make it useful for hosting all sorts of shareable projects. Here are some unconventional projects on Github that may make you rethink how you use it.

  • Series Seed Legal Documents – Are you part of a startup looking to get funded by investors? You may be interested in forking these legal documents. While they’re no substitute for a lawyer, this project may give you an idea of what you’re going to need to complete the transaction.
  • Manu Sporny’s Genetic Data – When Manu Sporny obtained the results of a personal DNA analysis test he ordered, he did what any optimistic young developer would do: he released the code. And while he isn’t the first person to do something like this, it was the first example I found on Github. Some may argue the philosophical consequences of making genetic information public, but in the mean time, you can download his on Github.
  • Open Source Hardware for this guy’s house  – His README says this is a “Catalog of 3D printed parts used to fix up or otherwise enhance my house.” He also uses the issue tracker as his own personal home improvement to-do list.
  • Free Programming Book List – This is a list of programming books that you can read freely online. Want to learn HTML5, Ruby on Rails, Machine Learning, or R? There a free book online for that. With over 250 contributors to the list (including yours truly) you can be sure that it’s comprehensive.
  • You don’t know JS – Speaking of free books, Kyle Simpson is writing a free book called “You don’t know JS” and hosting the content on Github as he goes. The source documents are in Markdown, making it easy for people to read, edit, and give feedback to his work in real time. If I had to guess, I predict that you’ll see this kind of writing workflow more often in the future.
  • The Open-Source Underwater Robot – This repo comes from a wildly successful kickstarter campaign to build a DIY underwater robot to open up ocean exploration to hobbyists (which is probably the best thing ever and if you aren’t overcome with incredulity right now, you might want to re-read that sentence). It contains software and hardware source files, including schematics, graphics, and other goodies.

And that’s not all. One place you can go to find more unconventional projects is https://github.com/trending?l=unknown which lists trending projects where the programming language being used could not be detected.

At it’s core, Github is just a place you can store files, whether it’s plain text, PDFs, images, or CAD files. Do you have a non-code project that’s worth sharing with the world? If so, maybe Github’s the right place to put it.

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