How to fork a GitHub repository and contribute to an open source project

I enjoying maintaining open source GitHub repositories such as dbachecks and ADSNotebook. I absolutely love it when people add more functionality to them.

To collaborate with a repository in GitHub you need to follow these steps

  • Fork the repository into your own GitHub
  • Clone the repository to your local machine
  • Create a new branch for your changes
  • Make some changes and commit them with useful messages
  • Push the changes to your repository
  • Create a Pull Request from your repository back to the original one

You will need to have git.exe available which you can download and install from https://git-scm.com/downloads if required

Fork the repository into your own GitHub

A fork is a copy of the original repository. This allows you to make changes without affecting the original project. It does not get updated when the original project gets updated (We will talk about that in the next post) This enables you to code a new feature or a bug fix, test it locally and make sure it is working.

Let’s take dbachecks as our example. Start by going to the project in GiHub. In this case the URL is https://github.com/sqlcollaborative/dbachecks You will see a Fork button at the top right of the page

When you click the button the repository is copied into your own GitHub account

The page will open at https://github.com/YOURGITHUBUSERNAME/NameOfRepository in this case https://github.com/SQLDBAWithABeard/dbachecks You will be able to see that it is a fork of the original repository at the top of the page

Clone the repository to your local machine

Forking the repository has created a remote repository stored on the GitHub servers. Now that the repository has been forked you need to clone it to your local machine to create a local repository so that you can start coding your amazing fix. When you have finished you can then sync it back to your remote repository ready for a Pull Request back to the original repository.

In your browser, at your remote repository that you just created (https://github.com/YOURGITHUBUSERNAME/NameOfRepository if you have closed the page) click on Clone or Download and then the icon to the right to copy the url

You can clone your repository in VS Code or Azure Data Studio by clicking F1 or CTRL + SHIFT + P in Windows or Linux and ⇧⌘P or F1 on a Mac

then start typing clone until you see Git:Clone and press enter or click

Paste in the URL that you just copied and click enter. A dialog will open asking you to select a folder. This is the parent directory where your local repository will be created. The clone will create a directory for your repository so you do not need to. I suggest that you use a folder called GitHub or something similar to place all of the repositories that you are going to clone and create.

When it has finished it will ask you if you wish to open the repository

if you click Open it will close anything that you have already got opened and open the folder. If you click Add to Workspace it will add the folder to the workspace and leave everything you already had open as it was and surprisingly clicking Open in New Window will open the folder in a new instance of Visual Studio Code or Azure Data Studio!

and you will also be able to see the local repository files on your computer

You can clone the repository at the command line if you wish by navigating to your local GitHub directory and running git clone TheURLYouCopied

Now your local repository has been created, it’s time to do your magic coding.

Create a new branch for your changes

It is a good idea to create a branch for your amazing new feature This enables you to work on coding for that feature in isolation. It has the added advantage that if you mess it right royally up, you can just delete that branch and start again with a new one!

To create a branch in VS Code or Azure Data Studio you can click on the branch name at the bottom left.

Or open the Command Palette and type Branch until you see Git: Create Branch

You will be prompted for a branch name

I like to choose a name that relates to the code that I am writing like configurable_engine or removeerroringexample You can see the name of the branch in the bottom left so that you always know which branch you are working on.

The icon shows that the branch is only local and hasn’t been pushed (published) to the remote repository yet

Make some changes and commit them with useful messages

Now you can start writing your code for your awesome new feature, bug fix or maybe just documentation improvement. Keep your commits small and give them useful commit messages that explain why you have made the change as the diff tooling will be able to show what change you have made

Write your code or change the documentation, save the file and in Visual Studio Code or Azure Data Studio you will see that the source control icon has a number on it

Clicking on the icon will show the files that have changes ready

You can write your commit message in the box and click CTRL + ENTER to commit your changes with a message

If you want to do this at the command line, you can use git status to see which files have changes

You will need to git add .or git add .\pathtofile to stage your changes ready for committing and then git commit -m 'Commit Message' to commit them

Notice that I did exactly what I just said not to do! A better commit message would have been So that people can find the guide to forking and creating a PR

Push the changes to your repository

You only have the changes that you have made in your local repository on your computer. Now you need to push those changes to Github your remote repository. You can click on the publish icon

You will get a pop-up asking you if you wish to stage your changes. I click Yes and never Always so that I can use this prompt as a sanity check that I am doing the right thing

At the command line you can push the branch, if you do that, you will have to tell git where the branch needs to go. If you just type git push it will helpfully tell you

fatal: The current branch AwesomeNewFeature has no upstream branch.
To push the current branch and set the remote as upstream, use

    git push --set-upstream origin AwesomeNewFeature

So you will need to use that command

You can see in the bottom left that the icon has changed

and if you read the output of the git push command you will see what the next step is also.

Create a Pull Request from your repository back to the original one

You can CTRL click the link in the git push output if you have pushed from the command line or if you visit either you repository or the original repository in your browser you will see that there is a Compare and Pull Request button

You click that and let GitHub do its magic

and it will create a Pull Request for you ready for you to fill in the required information, ask for reviewers and other options. Once you have done that you can click Create pull request and wait for the project maintainer to review it and (hopefully) accept it into their project

You can find the Pull Request that I created here https://github.com/sqlcollaborative/dbachecks/pull/720 and see how the rest of this blog post was created.

If you make more changes to the code in the same branch in your local repository and push them, they will automatically be added to this Pull Request whilst it is open. You can do this if the maintainer or reviewer asks for changes.

Shane has asked for a change

So I can go to my local repository in Azure Data Studio and make the requested change and save the file. If I look in the source control in Azure Data Studio I can again see there is a change waiting to be committed and if I click on the name of the file I can open the diff tool to see what the change was

Once I am happy with my change I can commit it again in the same way as before either in the editor or at the command line. The icon at the bottom will change to show that I have one commit in my local repository waiting to be pushed

To do the same thing at the command line I can type git status and see the same thing.

I can then push my change to my remote repository either in the GUI or by using git push

and it will automatically be added to the Pull Request as you can see

Now that the required changes for the review have been made, the review has been approved by Shane and the pull request is now ready to be merged. (You can also see that dbachecks runs some checks against the code when a Pull Request is made)

Many, many thanks to Shane b | t who helped with the writing of this post even whilst on a “no tech” holiday.

Go Ahead – Contribute to an Open Source Project

Hopefully you can now see how easy it is to create a fork of a GitHub repository, clone it to your own machine and contribute. There are many open source projects that you can contribute to.

You can use this process to contribute to the Microsoft Docs for example by clicking on the edit button on any page.

You can contribute other open source projects like

or go and find the the ones that you use and can help with.

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Adding a Folder of Scripts to GitHub with Azure Data Studio

In my last post I showed how to add a folder of scripts to GitHub using Visual Studio Code.

You can do it with Azure Data Studio as well. It’s exactly the same steps!

The blog post could end here but read on for some screen shots 😉

Follow the previous post for details of setting up a new GitHub account

Create a repository in Github


Open the folder in Azure Data Studio with CTRL K CTRL O (Or File –> Open Folder)

Click on the Source Control icon or CTRL + SHIFT + G and then Initialize Repository

Choose the folder

Write a commit message

Say yes to the prompt. Press CTRL + ‘ to open the terminal

Navigate to the scripts folder. (I have a PSDrive set up to my Git folder)

and copy the code from the GitHub page after “…or push an existing repository from the command line”

and run it

and there are your scripts in GitHub

Make some changes to a script and it will go muddy brown

and then write a commit message. If you click on the file name in the scource control tab then you can see the changes that have been made, that are not currently tracked

Commit the change with CTRL + ENTER and then click the roundy-roundy icon (seriously anyone know its name ?) click yes on the prompt and your changes are in GitHub as well 🙂

Realistically, you can use the previous post to do this with Azure Data Studio as it is built on top of Visual Studio Code but I thought it was worth showing the steps in Azure Data Studio.

Happy Source Controlling

Adding a Folder of Scripts to GitHub

Yesterday there was a tweet from Allen White.

Allen wanted to add his scripts folder to source control but didn’t have a how to do it handy. So I thought I would write one. Hopefully this will enable someone new to GitHub and to source control get a folder of scripts under source control

GitHub account

If you do not have a GitHub account go to https://github.com and create a new account

There is a funky are you a human challenge

Then you can choose your subscription

Then answer some questions (Note – you probably want to choose different answers to the what are you interested in question! I’d suggest something technical)

You need to do the email verification

Next is a very important step – Please do not skip this. You should set up 2 factor authentication. Yes even if “It’s just for me there is nothing special here”

Click your user icon top right and then settings

Then click set up two factor authentication

and either set up with an app or via SMS (I suggest the app is better)

OK – Now you have your GitHub account set up. It should have taken you less time than reading this far.

Add a Scripts Folder to GitHub

OK, Now to add a folder of scripts to a repository. Here is my folder of scripts. They can be any type of files. I would recommend copy the folder to a specific Git folder.

Open VS Code – If you don’t have VS Code, download it from
https://code.visualstudio.com/ From the welcome window choose open folder


and open your scripts folder

In VS Code click the Source Control button


and up at the top you will see a little icon – initialise repository


Click that and choose your folder

Which will then show all of the changes to the repository (adding all the new files)

Now we need to add a commit message for our changes. I generally try to write commit messages that are the reason why the change has been made as the what has been changed is made easy to see in VS Code (as well as other source control GUI tools)

Click the tick or press CTRL + ENTER and this box will pop up


I never click Always, I click yes, so that I can check if I am committing the correct files. Now we have created a local repository for our scripts folder. Our next step is to publish it to GitHub

Create a New Repository in GitHub

In Github we need to create a remote repository. Click on the New Button. Give your repository a name and decide if you want it to be Public (available for anyone to search and find) or Private (only available to people you explicitly provide access to).

This will give you a page that looks like this

Copy the code after …or push an existing repository from the command line

and paste it into PowerShell in VS Code. Make sure that your prompt is at the root of your scripts folder.

Fill in your username and password and your 2FA

Then you will see a page like this

and if you refresh your GitHub page you will see

Congratulations, your code is source controlled 🙂

Making Changes

Now you can make a change to a file

Commit your change

Hit the roundy-roundy icon (anyone know its proper name ?)

Press OK and your commit will be pushed to Github 🙂

Yay – Source Control all the things

Whats a SQL Notebook in Azure Data Studio?

Azure Data Studio is a cross-platform database tool for data professionals using the Microsoft family of on-premises and cloud data platforms on Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

Recently Vicky Harp tweeted

By the way, you can watch a recording from SQLBits of Vicky’s session


So in the interest of learning about something new I decided to give it a try.

Install The Insiders Edition

Unlike Visual Studio Code which has a link to the insiders download on the front page, you will have to visit the GitHub repository for the links to download the insiders release of Azure Data Studio. Scroll down and you will see

Try out the latest insiders build from master:

See the change log for additional details of what’s in this release.

Once you have installed you can connect to an instance, right click and choose New Notebook or you can use File – New Notebook

Incidentally, I use the docker-compose file here to create the containers and I map C:\MSSQL\BACKUP\KEEP on my local machine (where my backups are) to /var/opt/mssql/backups on the containers on lines 10 and 17 of the docker-compose so change as required . If you want to follow along then put the ValidationResults.bak in the folder on your local machine.
The Create-Ag.ps1 shows the code and creates an AG with dbatools. But I digress!

Install Notebook Dependencies

Once you click New Notebook you will get a prompt to install the dependencies.

It will show its output

and take a few minutes to run

It took all but 11 minutes on my machine

#

Create a Notebook

OK, so now that we have the dependencies installed we can create a notebook. I decided to use the ValidationResults database that I use for my dbachecks demos and describe here. I need to restore it from my local folder that I have mapped as a volume to my container. Of course, I use dbatools for this 🙂

I had already got a connection saved to the instance in Azure Data Studio, you may need to create a new one using the new connection icon at the top left and filling in the details. The password is in the code above.



Now I can start with my notebook. I am faced with this



I click on text and provide an intro


Once I had written that and clicked out, I couldn’t see what to do straight away!

Then I saw the code and text buttons at the top 🙂 Right, lets get on with it 🙂 I hit the code button and paste in the T-SQL to reset the dates in the database to simulate dbachecks having been run this morning.


There’s a run cell button on the right and when I press it

Cool 🙂

If the SQL query has results then they are shown as well

This is fun and I can see plenty of uses for it. Go and have a play with SQL notebooks 🙂

Source Control

I used CTRL K, CTRL O to open a folder and saved my notebook in my local Presentations folder which is source controlled. When I opened the explorer CTRL + SHIFT + E I can see that the folder and the file are colour coded green and have a U next to them marking them as Untracked. I can also see that the source control icon has a 1 for the number of files with changes and in the bottom left that I am in the master branch.

If I click on the source control icon (or CTRL + SHIFT + G) I can see the files with the changes and can enter a commit message

I then press CTRL + ENTER to commit my change and get this pop-up


As I only have one file and it has all the changes for this commit I click yes. If I had changed more than one file and only wanted to commit a single one at a time I would hover my mouse over the file and click the + to stage my change.



If I make a further change to the notebook and save it, I can see that the source control provider recognises the change but this time the folder the file is in and the file are colour coded brown with an M to show that they have been modified.

Unlike Visual Studio Code, when you then click on the source control icon and click on the change it does not show the differences in the notebook although this works with SQL files.

When I have made all my changes and committed them with good commit messages


I can see that there are 3 local changes ready to be pushed to by remote repository (GitHub in this case) and 0 remote commits in this branch by looking at the bottom left

I can click on the “roundy roundy” icon (I dont know its proper name 😊) and synchronise my changes. This comes with a pop-up

Personally I never press OK, Don’t Show Again because I like the double check and to think “Is this really what I want to do right now”. Once I press OK my changes will be synched with the remote repository. Explaining this means that you can find the notebook I have used in my Presentations GitHub Repository which means that you can run the Notebook too using the docker-compose file here and the instructions further up in the post.

Why VS Code Increases my Productivity

Last week I was showing a co-worker some PowerShell code and he asked what the editor was that I was using. Visual Studio Code I said. Why do you use that? What does it do?

This is what I showed him

Runs on any Operating System

Code (as I shall refer to it) is free lightweight open source editor which runs on all the main operating systems. So you have the same experience in Linux as on Windows. So there is less to learn

Extensions

You can add new languages, themes, debuggers and tools from the extensions gallery to reduce the number of programmes you have open and the need to switch between programmes

You can add extensions using CTRL + SHIFT  + X and searching in the bar

01 - Extensions

or by going to the Extensions gallery searching for the extensions and copying the installation command

02 - extensions gallery.PNG

Debugging

There is a rich de-bugging experience built in

03 - debugging.PNG

You can learn about debugging from the official docs and Keith Hill wrote a blog post on Hey Scripting Guys about debugging PowerShell

Intellisense

An absolute must to make life simpler. Code has intellisense for PowerShell and T-SQL which I use the most but also for many more languages . Read more here

Git integration

I love the Git integration, makes it so easy to work with GitHub for me. I can see diffs, commit, undo commits nice and simply. Just open the root folder of the repository and its there

04 - git

This page will give you a good start on using git with Code

No distractions

With full screen mode (F11) or Zen mode (CTRL +K, Z) I can concentrate on coding and not worry about distractions

Stay in one programme and do it all

I have a Markdown document, a PowerShell script and a T-SQL script all in one Git repository and I can work on all of them and version control in one place. The screencast below also shows some of the new capabilities available in the insiders version I managed to leave the screen recording dialogue open as well, apologies and the mistake was deliberate!

I used the GitLens and SQL beautify extensions as well as the dbatools module in that demo

That’s why I am using Code more and more these days, hope it helps

Happy Automating!