If you’re a developer, you’ve probably heard of GitHub. Many creative content developers already know the basics of GitHub because it helps them store and manage their code. But, did you know that GitHub is also helping to shape the future of application security (AppSec)? Also, do you know that many recruiters or interviewers ask for GitHub profiles?
Well, a good GitHub profile can impress the interviewer. But the sad part is only a few candidates have a GitHub page on their resumes and most of them are not well maintained. So, you definitely get a better chance to stand out by keeping an up-to-date GitHub profile. That said, check out this blog “How to Make GitHub as Your New Resume” for more.
GitHub is a great platform for developers to collaborate on projects, share code, and track changes. It’s also a great place for AppSec professionals to find resources and tools to help them secure their applications. In this article, we’ll talk about what GitHub and AppSec entail. We’ll also discuss how the two are working together to create a better future for developers.
What Is GitHub?
GitHub is undoubtedly a valuable skill to have as a programmer, not only in the workplace but also personally. It’s the most popular source code hosting facility out there, and it’s still growing. Millions of developers use GitHub to share code and build businesses. In 2017, the GitHub community reached 24 million developers working across 67 million repositories.
Markedly, this much data is enough to get started with GitHub. By definition, GitHub is an online platform that allows developers to store and manage their code. It was launched in April 2008 by Tom Preston-Werner, Chris Wanstrath, and PJ Hyett. At its base, it’s a web platform, written in Ruby on Rails and Erlang, which hosts code repositories.
But, it also provides developers with an amazing toolset that makes it easy to follow certain coding best practices. Whilst, allowing you to get your name out there and show what you are capable of. It also provides other great collaboration tools.
Such as follows:
- Pull Requests: A way for developers to submit changes to a project and have them reviewed by other developers.
- Issue Tracking: Developers can track and discuss bugs and feature requests.
- Code Review: A way for developers to review each other’s code and provide feedback.
In other words, GitHub is a repository hosting service. Think of it as the “cloud” for code. Of course, yes, this can be another simple definition of GitHub. Now let me give you a scenario that can better explain the above definition.
Let’s say you are a Computer Science Student and you started making your portfolio website. Now in the process of making it, you get stuck at a point and you want your friend to help you with the code. But, the sad part is he’s living at a distance. Now you’re completely stuck. This is where GitHub can actually help you solve this problem by saving it in the cloud.
Essentially, which simply means both you and your friend will be having a copy on both of your PCs. Consider another scenario where you and your team are working on a software project. Say you have found some issues with the software and you’ve changed the code; now at this point, your team members wouldn’t know the changes you have made and vice versa.
This is where GitHub comes in:
- GitHub lets you save your code online.
- It will allow all the developers of a project to see what changes the other one has made.
- Also, it allows you to discuss issues in your code with other developers.
Realistically, GitHub is like a portfolio for programmers. Companies love programmers that invest themselves in the community. In fact, learning how to use it can give you a really good job. Increasingly companies are asking to see a GitHub account, followed by references. This means that GitHub is your new resume — so, go ahead and build it wisely.
What Is AppSec?
AppSec, or rather, Application Security, is the practice of protecting applications from malicious attacks. Basically, most AppSec professionals use different tools and techniques to protect their applications. Such as static code analysis, dynamic testing, and vulnerability scanning. One of the most important tools for AppSec professionals is GitHub.
Eventually, which provides resources and tools to help them secure their applications. There are some benefits of prioritizing AppSec in the development process that is worth mentioning.
- Improved Security: By using AppSec tools and techniques, developers can identify and fix vulnerabilities before they become a problem.
- Reduced Costs: By addressing security issues early in the development process, developers can avoid costly rework later.
- Increased Customer Trust: Customers are more likely to trust applications that have been properly secured.
- Better Compliance: By following AppSec best practices, developers can ensure that their apps comply with industry regulations.
According to careerfoundry, when starting out as a web developer, it can be easy to get lost in the multitude of languages, tools, and platforms that are available in today’s market. However many would argue that GitHub is an essential platform for every web developer at every level. But, learning how to use it is a key tip when you’re becoming a web developer.
Perhaps, its biggest asset is the fact that it is a great way to showcase your skills. A GitHub profile that features real-world projects and shows contributions to open-source projects is a great way to display exactly what you are capable of doing to prospective employers. Employers are looking for people who have experience programming and who program well.
You can direct prospective employers to your GitHub profile, which can act as your portfolio website in this case.
Employers can then:
- View your code
- See how you think
- Understand how you solved particular problems
- See whether or not you would be a good fit for their organization.
Not forgetting, your open-source contributions can also show potential employers that you are versatile and can easily adapt and contribute to various projects. After all, something that is essential when working as a web developer. So, having a fully fleshed-out and varied GitHub profile is a great way to stand out as a web developer in today’s market.
Notably, there are words people often use when they talk about GitHub. Consider some of the following key terms:
You can think of it as a folder or storage space where your project files can be stored. Sometimes GitHub users shorten this to “repo.” You can keep code files (like HTML, CSS, JS, etc.), text files, and image files, inside a repository.
In this case, Fork can also be termed a copy or clone. Let’s consider the previous example where you were building a website for which you needed some help from your friend. Now your friend has found out about some issues and wants to change something about your project. But here, he can not directly make any changes to the main file so he’ll make a copy of it. This is what forking means.
In the simplest form, pull requests are a way by which developers notify their team members that they have completed a feature and ask your permission to add your changes to the main file. For example, you have made some changes to your project now you want your teammates to review your changes. If there are any problems with the changes, teammates can post feedback in the pull request.
Basically, the purpose Git was designed to serve. When you have a Microsoft Word file, you either overwrite every saved file with a new save, or save multiple versions. With Git, you don’t have to. It keeps “snapshots” of every point in time in the project’s history, so you can never lose or overwrite it.
How Is GitHub Helping Design AppSec Future?
To begin with, GitHub provides resources and tools that can help AppSec professionals secure their applications. These include security advisories, automated security scans, and tools for managing vulnerabilities. In addition, GitHub also provides various resources, such as tutorials, documentation, and open-source projects.
This makes it easier for developers to learn new technologies and stay up-to-date on the latest trends in AppSec. It’s a great tool to make Version Control easier and it’s a site that is used for some of the biggest projects out there. Overall, GitHub is helping AppSec professionals in several ways. Below are some of the ways that it’s helping to shape the AppSec future:
(1). Security Advisories
GitHub provides security advisories that alert developers to potential vulnerabilities in their code. This helps AppSec professionals stay updated on the latest security threats and take steps to protect their applications.
It can be difficult to continuously monitor for security vulnerabilities, yes! But, GitHub makes it easier by providing automated security scans and alerts. As soon as a vulnerability is discovered, AppSec professionals can take steps to fix the issue. Few coding best practices are as prevalent as having some sort of Version Control for your code.
(2). Code Scanning Process
Code scanning is an important part of AppSec. It helps AppSec professionals identify potential vulnerabilities in their code and take steps to fix them. GitHub provides automated code scanning tools to help AppSec professionals quickly identify and address security issues. Enabling GitHub Code Scanning is like inviting a team of security researchers onward.
So as to review your every pull request. With this feature, you can guarantee that your code is secured with the latest security best practices. GitHub also adds several of its own functionalities to the ones offered by Git. Such as a web-based graphical interface, a Pastebin-style site named Gist, as well as great tools for collaborating with other developers
(3). End-To-End Approach
GitHub provides an end-to-end approach to AppSec. AppSec professionals can use GitHub to manage their code, track changes, and collaborate with other developers. They can also use GitHub’s security tools to scan their code for vulnerabilities and take steps to fix them. This end-to-end approach makes it easier for experts to stay on top of the latest security threats.
With GitHub, AppSec professionals can be confident that their applications are secure. GitHub also allows you to keep an eye on your favorite developers by following them or your favorite project by “watching” it.
There are many ways to be social on GitHub. So, don’t hesitate to go exploring and see what is happening in the world of software development. What’s more, Pull Requests are a way for you to tell other developers about the changes you wish to merge into the main repository. The repository’s authors can review your changes and engage in discussions about them.
Should more changes be needed, you can simply continue to work in your fork and the additional commits will appear in the pull request. Once it’s approved, the changes can then be merged into the main repository by the project’s author.
(4). Easy-To-Use Features
GitHub provides features that make it easier for AppSec professionals to manage their applications. For example, GitHub’s security alerts provide detailed information about potential vulnerabilities. It allows you to create access rights to your code which means, for example, you could designate certain users who are allowed to freely push code to your repository.
GitHub also provides a variety of tools for managing vulnerabilities, such as secret scanning, security over, and code scanning. Features that aren’t intuitive can cause more problems, but GitHub ensures that developers can easily use its security tools. Its Forking feature allows a user to create a copy of a repository on their computer.
More so, for them to work on without affecting the main repository. They can modify the code and then request to have the code merged with the main repository using another feature called Pull Requests. Pastebin applications allow users to store plain text. They are commonly used by developers to store and share small scripts and bits of code.
For your information, Gist was created by GitHub as a Pastebin-style application, but Gists also benefit from Version Control. Each Gist is essentially a mini-project, it has its own Git repository, which allows users to store multiple bits of code and also allows them to track changes within their Gist, without needing to commit them manually.
(5). Open-Source Topologies
GitHub is an open-source platform, which means that AppSec professionals can access the source code and make changes as needed. This makes it easier for AppSec professionals to customize their security tools and guarantee secure code. With so many great tools available to developers, GitHub has become the place to be for open-source software.
Some of the biggest open-source projects are hosted on GitHub, such as Ruby on Rails, AngularJS, Bootstrap, and many many more. There are even some big tech companies, like Microsoft, who maintain code repositories on GitHub. The collaboration features make it easy for any developer to get involved with their favorite open-source project.
Since many developers come together and collaborate on GitHub, they can benefit from the community’s collective knowledge. As a result, they can create apps that have excellent security features. Gist are by default public, to make it easier to share, but they can also be marked as private, allowing only you to access them.
GitHub also has an Issues center for repositories. Issues are a great way to keep track of bugs in your code, but you can also use them to keep track of tasks. As well as any other enhancements you would like to implement in your code. These issues are very powerful and mastering them is a great way to keep yourself organized.
(6). Quality Graphical Interface
In reality, Git is very powerful, but it can only be used in the terminal, which can be daunting for many developers, especially new developers. Viewing logs and differentials between commits can be very difficult to do in a purely command-prompt interface. Fortunately, GitHub creates an intuitive and powerful graphical interface for the Git versioning system.
You can easily see your repositories and browse through their list of commits. If you want to see the changes made in one of your commits, it is as simple as clicking on the commit from the list and GitHub will present you with the differential. Much simpler than typing commands in your terminal and deciphering their results.
As we aforementioned, Git is an immensely popular Version Control System, which allows developers to create a history of changes that occur over time in their code. If you’re still confused, see the differences between Git and GitHub for more.
The Bottom Line:
Generally speaking, GitHub has become one of the few necessary platforms to use in today’s web development world. It is a great tool that makes your life easier, has the potential to make you stand out from other web developers, and hosts some of the biggest and most interesting projects out there today.
In a nutshell, GitHub is an invaluable resource for AppSec professionals. It provides security advisories, code scanning tools, and an end-to-end approach to AppSec. Its easy-to-use features and open-source platform make it easier for AppSec professionals to stay on top of the latest security threats and guarantee secure code.