Recap of the first week of the spring 2024 workshop

Looking back at week one of the CodeRefinery workshop and the big rework of the version control lessons

March 15, 2024 - Samantha Wittke, Radovan Bast

What an exciting first 3 days of the CodeRefinery workshop we had!

Our Git lesson got fully rewritten right before the workshop to make it more welcoming to beginners and closer to how researchers would encounter Git in their work. And that without the need for any coding: All our Git exercises are around a recipe book.

Week 1 recap

We start with the GitHub web interface, explore existing repositories, making our own fork of an existing repository, committing our own contributions to our own branch and merge it to the main content by pull request.

Only on day 2 we switched from working in the GitHub web interface to working locally. Here we provided 2-4 tracks: Working on the command line , in VScode, RStudio or staying in the web interface.

We cloned a repository and repeated the actions from before locally: committing, branching, merging. Then we also checked how we can inspect the history of existing projects and how commit messages can help us understand how a repository has developed over time.

At the end of day 2, we also learned to estimate how much Git is necessary or helpful for different types of projects.

Day 3 was all about collaboration and it got a bit chaotic, but the good kind of chaotic. We first learned about the basic workflow of contributing when multiple people are working on the same repository. Writing issues, suggesting changes via pull requests and connecting the two. Then we went on to code review, and practiced that on our recipe book, we don't want any typos there!

In the afternoon we also practiced how to contribute to projects that we are not a part of via forks and pull requests as well as how automated tests can help the code review.

Thank you!

Now we have a nice recipe base for our next CodeRefinery in person meeting. And participants have hopefully learned something along the way.

The downside of changing the entire week right before the course however made it possibly more difficult for team leaders and volunteers to prepare and it was a difficult choice to make and we appreciate their patience and flexibility and trust.

Thanks to everyone involved!

Materials and recordings

You can watch the recordings of the first 3 days of the workshop on YouTube, reuse the lesson materials for your own course if you like ( and check out one of the resulting collaborative recipe books of this course for cooking inspiration.

Next week (Tue 19.03.24- Thu 21.03.24) we will continue with other topics around FAIR research software development; event page with materials, questions and answers and more information:

See you there or in one of our future workshops!


CodeRefinery is a project within the Nordic e-Infrastructure Collaboration (NeIC). NeIC is an organisational unit under NordForsk.


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