Not Just for Coders: 9 Ways To Use GitHub For Creative Work

Danny Stieben 03-03-2014

GitHub is known for the great features it can offer programmers, but it’s not only for them. There are plenty of other creative uses for GitHub. Here are nine different examples on what else GitHub can be used for.


What’s GitHub?

GitHub is an online repository service that anyone can sign up for. It uses a technology called “Git” which keeps track of revisions and who made them. It also is a great way to share, clone (forking), and modify/enhance what you fork. James wrote an entire article dissecting what Git is and can do What Is Git & Why You Should Use Version Control If You’re a Developer As web developers, a lot of the time we tend to work on local development sites then just upload everything when we’re done. This is fine when it’s just you and the changes are small,... Read More . For open source projects, GitHub is entirely free to use, which is great for programmers and collaborators. It’s rather easy to look at and edit code on GitHub How To View & Edit The Source Code Of An Open-Source App While going open source might be a good choice, you'll also need to invest in the right community. GitHub is one of the best places to do this, not only because of the sheer amount... Read More , and it’s widespread use by coders has made it one of the biggest open source communities.

Again, while GitHub is known for its usefulness to programmers, it’s also very handy for various other applications because of the collaborative spirit inherent in the GitHub community.

Travel Recommendations

GitHub makes it easy to have multiple contributors work on the same project. This can lead to a number of creative uses related to collaboration, including travel recommendations. It’s hard for one person to list all sorts of must-see places in locations all around the world. Instead, it’s better to have others contribute their recommendations to the collection. Here’s a great example of a travel recommendations collection.

Collaborative Writing

Writing stories isn’t something where collaboration comes to mind immediately, but if you have a project where writing benefits from collaboration, GitHub is a great place to do that as well. The ease of revisions on GitHub helps the community make quick corrections to any issues they find, and keep all project files in one collection.

This is great not only for story writing, but also for editing legal documents. Of course in that scenario you’ll want to make sure that any changes made are actually correct and appropriate.


Manual writing isn’t out of the picture either. For example, there is currently a project about writing an introductory book to MongoDB.

Last year, Erez reviewed for GitHub Write, And Let The World Revise Your Work With For GitHub Traditionally, writing is a solitary affair. It's just you and the screen, or a piece of paper. Man versus text in a battle of wills, wits, and emotion, until suddenly – you're done. Now it's... Read More , which is a tool made specifically for writing on GitHub.

Start a Blog

GitHub also has a separate service called GitHub Pages where you can start our own blog. While not tied to GitHub’s regular version control system, it’s still created and run by GitHub. And don’t think it’s not legitimate — President Obama used GitHub Pages for his campaign blog.

Medical Research

Because it’s so easy to look into public repositories, it’s also a great place to post medical research. Collaboration is a vital part for effective medical research, and posting those results on GitHub could make that a lot easier. Others can also take your research and build from it for new discoveries. You can also have discussion threads in your repository, as GitHub can support discussions related to that research. Here’s a great write up on how GitHub could be useful for medical research, even if this is currently rare for GitHub.


Remixing Recipes

Remixing other people’s work can has its benefits, and cooking is an everyday example. For example, if you find a recipe on GitHub, you can fork it and make your own modifications to make it even better. Others can do the same to your work and create their own masterpieces, whether they make it even tastier or healthier (or both)! Fork the Cookbook (our review Start Forking: Open Source Inspiration Comes To Cooking & Recipes With Fork The Cookbook Fork the Cookbook is an unusual take on the idea of a cooking application. It is the Github for recipes with “version control”. With Fork the Cookbook, it is all about the evolution of food... Read More ) is a great site using GitHub that revolves around finding and improving recipes. Come looking for vegan recipes or Open Source snacks!

Creating and Remixing Music

GitHub is also a great place to collaborate on musical works. Musical creativity is just right for version control. Once someone shares their music, others can enjoy it, as well as fork it and make their own modifications to it. A great example of this is collaboration on church music.

Home Repairs

With GitHub, you can also manage your home repairs. You can create “issues” which work like to-do tasks with comment support. This may not be quite as collaboration-friendly as the other ideas as others can’t do the repairs for you, but you can list issues of tasks you want to complete and have others give you some ideas on how to go about a home job.

Using Geographical Data

Got a project that revolves around plenty of geographical data? You can easily use GitHub to represent this data as a map. That’s right, you don’t even need to make the map yourself — GitHub will take the data and do it for you. All you need to do is place the data inside a .geojson file and use appropriate syntax.


3D Modelling

GitHub has started rendering 3D models that are stored in .STL files. Therefore, it’s a lot easier now to share those modelling files with others, and still benefit from GitHub’s contribution, sharing, and remixing features. GitHub does not have any 3D printing solutions, but it hosts project codes that are allied to the emerging area of 3D printing like Printrun and the official Make Me project.


Of course, this is only a small sampling of what you can do with GitHub. Ultimately, you’re only limited to your imagination, as I’m sure there is an infinite number of ways where GitHub’s features can be helpful to you.

In what non-programming ways have you used GitHub before? What ways did you come across but weren’t involved in? Let us know in the comments!

Related topics: Programming, Project Management.

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  1. Sakina Groth
    April 21, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Great post! I'm definitely going to try forking recipes!

  2. Noel Martin Llevares
    March 3, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Obama's campaign did NOT use Github Pages.

    They used Github for version control.

    They used Jekyll, the same engine that Github Pages uses, to generate the static site but they did not use Github Pages itself. The static website was served using CDNs.

    • Danny S
      April 1, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      Ah, thanks for pointing out that important distinction!