Developers who want a safe space to host their code repositories, and to distribute their programs to users, tend to choose GitHub, and rightfully so. The platform is home to over 65 million developers and 3 million corporations, all with a combined code repository of over 200 million.
One of the great things about GitHub is the ability it gives to the user to download files and the source code of any app available on the platform. It’s quite impressive, but you know what? Not everyone knows how to get it done. Luckily for you, we have all the information needed to easily download files and source code to your Windows 10/11 computer whenever you want.
What is Github?
Many of us might have heard of Github, but not all understand what it is all about. You see, it is a cloud-based hosting service that helps developers from all over the world store and manage their code. Not only that, but they can also track and control changes made to their code with ease.
What is a Github repository?
A Github repository is basically a folder designed to store files. It is also available online for anyone to download, access, and contribute to the files/code within the folder.
How to download files from Github and view them
If you’ve been wondering how to download code and files from Github, then the following should help a great deal:
- Download an app or file from GitHub
- Download files from a particular Commit
- Download files from a particular Branch
1] Download an app or file from GitHub
GitHub is home to millions of apps designed for all sorts of purposes and operating systems. To download a specific app, please visit the official GitHub page, then navigate to the search bar located at the top-right corner.
From there, be sure to type the name of the app or file, then hit the Enter key to initiate the search query. The search results will appear right away, and if you’ve added the correct search term, then it should be at the top of the results or close.
OK, so now that you’ve selected the correct app or file, please look for a section that reads, Releases. You should see the name of the app or file along with the version number from under it. Click on it to reveal one or more options to download to your computer.
2] Download files from a particular Commit
Yes, it is possible to download from a certain Commit with ease, something we hope GitHub never takes away.
You see, whenever there is a change in code to a repository, it is included via a Commit. For those new to this, the Commit is where you’ll find all the changes made to the code since the latest update. If you want to debug issues, then your best bet is to download from a particular Commit.
To do this, go to the homepage of the repository of your choice, and from there, and then choose the branch you feel more comfortable working with. In most cases, it’ll be the master branch. Locate it, then click on the Commits link.
After that, go ahead and select the Commit you want to download onto your computer. Finally, hit the Browse Files button, then the green Code button > Download ZIP, and that’s it.
3] Download files from a particular Branch
One of the things we like about GitHub is that a repository can have multiple branches, all with a unique name. From our understanding, it is a copy of certain sections of a code at a certain point in time where the developer will be able to make changes without altering the original.
With GitHub, code changes are made within branches, and when the developer is ready, they can merge it with the main branch.
In order to download files from a particular branch, you will need to search for the repository you need. Select it to visit the homepage from the search results right away, and from there, locate the branch dropdown menu and choose the branch you want to download.
When you see the green Code button, click on it and choose to download the file as .zip or open it in Visual Studio Code.
READ: What is a Gitignore file on GitHub and how to create one easily.