Chrome Extensions: our Top 10 for GitHub Users?

Chrome Extensions: our Top 10 for GitHub Users?

Mathieu Poissard

Finding the right Chrome extension might not seem like a particularly important thing to do, but it can make a huge difference to your daily to-do list if you often interact with GitHub's website. Instead of devoting time to tedious tasks that pop up all the time, you can simplify things with simple Chrome plugins made to make a GitHub user's life easier.

Here are a few of the top Chrome extensions every GitHub enthusiast should know about:

1. GitHub Code Folding

Code folding is a veritable godsend for a great many developers; especially those dealing with particularly monstrous files with thousands upon thousands of lines to sort through. By folding code, devs can hide entire portions of it to make navigation easier. When they need to see it again, they can simply unfold it to render it visible once more.

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This is a common feature in many dedicated code editors and, as such, it’s often taken for granted. However, GitHub offers no such functionality by default, leaving developers to brave long code files the old-fashioned way. That is, unless they use this Chrome extension.

The GitHub code folding extension makes this precious mainstay of modern code editors available on GitHub, right in your browser. Whether you are working with indentation, spaces, or tabs, it works just as well.

2. GitZip for GitHub

Downloading an entire repository when you only need a few of the files it contains is a waste of time and bandwidth. With this simple plugin for Chrome, you can easily select just the files you’d like to download from a given repository on GitHub.

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GitZip makes it possible for you to download files in multiple ways, including:

  • Double-clicking on items, then clicking on a download button that appears at the bottom of the page
  • Using a checkbox that shows up in front of every item to select the ones that you want, then clicking the button at the bottom of the page
  • Using the context menu to select the "Current Folder" option for downloading

3. Render Whitespace on GitHub

If you have worked with a programming language like Python, in which indentations are essential for the code to evaluate correctly, then you already know how important telling the difference between two types of whitespace can be.

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This extension does exactly what its name suggests: It renders otherwise unidentifiable whitespace as either a "." or an arrow to show that it is a single space or a tab, respectively.

4. OctoLinker

Getting around GitHub to find individual libraries and project dependencies can be a bit of a hassle. Wherever code calls for the use of something from yet another repository, it can completely halt your workflow by forcing you to perform a search or copy and paste URLs into your browser's address bar. OctoLinker offers a succinct and surprisingly helpful solution in the form of clickable links.

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With OctoLinker, you can click on things like import statements and required module declarations to move from one place to another at speed. Even dependencies in package.json or requirements.txt (among others) are transformed into clickable links. Plus, your pull requests get the same treatment, sporting links to files and dependencies right where you need them.

5. Notifier for GitHub

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This extension helps you keep track of all the unread notifications you have on GitHub, regardless of whether or not you have any GitHub tabs open in Chrome. You can even configure it to send notifications directly to your desktop.

6. Better Pull Request for GitHub

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You can use this handy plugin for Chrome to help with pull request browsing. Its most useful feature is an integrated dev environment (IDE) style file tree that makes switching between files on GitHub a breeze.

7. Sourcegraph

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This comprehensive extension accomplishes many things that make it a must-have for serious developers. Sourcegraph makes it easy to jump straight to definitions and sleuth out references within your code. Thanks to the inclusion of CodeWing (another useful extension for GitHub and Chrome), you can also leverage tooltips with documentation and type intel just by hovering over the code that interests you.

8. Octotree

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This plugin puts a lot of previously mentioned code enhancement features in one place, with the addition of useful options like repo/issue/etc. bookmarking to save you even more time. There is a PRO version that adds even more goodies like file icon themes and code font settings.

9. Lovely forks

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Whenever forks result in original repositories being left abandoned, this plugin can put things back in the proper perspective for you. This plugin provides a link to the fork of a given repository that has the most stars to help you find the best place to contribute to an ongoing project.

10. GitHub Repository Size

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This last plugin does something deceptively simple: It adds the full size of a given repository to that repository's summary on GitHub. It can also show you the size of individual directories.

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