GitHub Feature Request: Copy Repository Issue Labels

Posted on Wednesday July 10, 2013

One thing I love about GitHub is how easy it is to use their Issue feature. If you can compose an email then you can work with GitHub Issues. For the die-hard hackers, we can do neat things like close out an issue via a commit message making our workflow extremely easy.

Once your team starts using GitHub Issues to track bugs and features, you will soon become addicted to having these meta software development aspects so close to your code.

A feature I would love to see GitHub introduce is the ability to copy a repository’s issue labels to a new or existing repository.

The Why

If you are anything like me then you probably have settled into a rhythm for how you create software, a set of norms if you will.

When it comes to GitHub Issues you probably have a standard set of label names and colors that you use for each project. This consistency, especially within a larger team, creates a more efficient workflow because people begin to learn the norms and eliminate guesswork.

I am sure there are some people who rarely create a new repository, but there are probably an equal or greater number who are creating repositories daily for new internal apps, new products, etc. Each time you create a new repository, how cool would it be to have a drop down that says, “Copy Issue Labels from:” and this allows you to select an existing repository.

Small But Big

I think this is a small tweak, but it has a big effect on creating new repositories. Users may not be discouraged to start-up a fresh idea because it is pretty simple to get your standard workflow going with one click of a button.

In addition, maybe it will promote this idea of creating a structured workflow for teams out there as they consider how they organized their issues.

Parting Thoughts

If this particular idea were not fully accepted perhaps there’s another step.

Right now, when you create a new repository, you are given a standard set of label names and colors. If we could not copy from another repository, maybe we could override the default? In my mind this sounds like more work, but I am not work on it everyday so I am not sure.

Small feature, but a nice one to have. Is this something you or your team has run up against in the past?