In August, GitHub announced Project Paper Cuts, an effort aimed at bringing small improvements to the developer and project maintainer experiences. These are fixes for issues that don’t generally fall within larger initiatives. Some of the first improvements that have already been implemented include the following:

  • Unselect markers when copying and pasting the contents of a diff
  • Edit a repository’s README from the repository root
  • Access your repositories straight from the profile dropdown
  • Highlight permalinked comments
  • Remove files from a pull request with a button
  • Branch names in merge notification emails
  • Create new pull requests from your repository’s Pull Requests Page
  • Add a teammate from the team discussions page
  • Collapse all diffs in a pull request at once
  • Copy the URL of a comment

One of the latest improvements allows repository admins to transfer an issue that has been misfiled to another repository where it belongs. At the moment it only works within the same GitHub organization account. Initial feedback from users indicates many would appreciate this feature require push permissions, instead of admin permissions, as there are likely more users who can help in the bug tracker with moving issues, setting labels, and closing bugs.

The “suggested changes” feature GitHub introduced in beta two weeks ago seems to have been adopted fairly quickly by users. Suggested Changes lets users suggest a change to code in a pull request. These changes can be accepted by the author or assignees with one click and then committed.

suggested-changes GitHub Rolls Out More Small Improvements as Part of Project Paper Cuts design tips

GitHub reports more than 10 percent of all reviewers suggested at least one change. They have received 100,000 suggestions and estimate that 4% of all review commits created have included a suggestion. Based on feedback so far, GitHub put the following improvements on the roadmap for the Suggested Changes feature:

  • The ability to suggest changes to multiple lines at once
  • The ability to accept multiple changes in a single commit

Project Paper Cuts is borrowing heavily from Refined GitHub, a browser extension that simplifies the GitHub interface and adds useful features.

“Full-time open source developer Sindre Sorhus has built a great browser extension that builds on and improves the GitHub experience, along with a fantastic community that has come together to discuss workflows and build their favorite features,” GitHub product manager Luke Hefson said. “Project Paper Cuts has taken inspiration from a lot of Refined GitHub’s additions, and we’re building some of the most-loved features right into GitHub itself.”

GitHub is aiming to be more open and transparent with user feedback after the 2016 fiasco with disgruntled open source project maintainers. These fixes for small annoyances add up in the grand scheme of things to improve project workflow for millions of developers and project maintainers. The improvements are shipping out regularly and are all outlined in GitHub’s public changelog.