5.4. Coding in Teams

Collaborative coding is so essential to the process of solving interesting finance problems, that it underlies the objectives at the front of this website.

This page is focused on helping your teams attack the project in the most effective way. And it includes a few things that will push your existing GitHub comfort level up and make your team more productive.


Feedback requested!

I would love your feedback (on the discussion board) on how you deal with the asynchronous work problem!

  • How did you decide to approach the collaboration on this project? (The questions below)

  • Please let me know what issues/problems your group runs into

  • What solutions did you try? Did they work well or only barely or not at all?

  • Flip side: If your group has an easy time, or finds something that works well, please let me and your classmates know!

Any comments will probably help your classmates and future years!


Warning! Warning! Warning!


  1. BEFORE YOU START ANY WORK FOR THE DAY: Go to GH Desktop and “Fetch/Pull” origin

  2. WHEN YOU ARE DONE WITH A WORKING SESSION: Clear your code, rerun all, save file, then push to cloud

If you forget to fetch/pull before you start (and someone made a change on the GitHub repo since you last synced), or if someone is working at the same time (and pushes a change to the GitHub repo that conflicts with a change you made), you are likely to receive a “Merge Conflict” notification from GH Desktop.

Other Recommendations and Advice

  1. Your most experienced coder might be given “CEO” status over the repo and “leads the way” on pull requests and gives guidance on merge conflicts.

  2. Follow the golden rules in Chapter 2. It is all about tips to make building a project less painful, more productive, and more rewarding.

  3. For example: Instead of putting the entire project in one ipynb file, structure the project like the midterm assignment:

    • One code file to download each input needed,

    • One code file to parse/transform each input,

    • One “get_all_data” code file that, if executed, would run all files above

    • One code to build the analysis sample, explore it, and analyze it

  4. It’s better to over-communicate than under-communicate, especially in our virtual world

5.4.1. Branching Demo

Above, I mentioned that one way that multiple people can work in the same repo at the same time is by “branching”. Rather than explaining it, let’s let one of our TAs do a walkthrough on how this can work!

Here’s the side text from the video:

  • Open GH Desktop and create a toy repo

  • start new branch “my work”

  • add data/data.txt into folder (to simulate some work you’ve done)

  • see how GH Desktop sees a change?

  • click to try to switch branch (don’t though)

    • it says “leave changes on this branch or bring to master” –> only the branch you’re “in” can see/push changes you make

    • cancel

  • commit to branch

  • publish up to GH website

  • view on GH

    • switch branches to see the new files

    • compare: you’re able to merge

    • can explain your argument for changes (to convince others to adopt in distributed projects), submit

    • merge, confirm

    • look at master branch - it should have data/data.txt

    • create “cynthia_did_some_work.txt” which says inside: “while i was sleeping”

  • go back to desktop like you’re going to work on the project

    • go to master… pulling origin would sync it but dont

    • go to “my work” branch

    • fetch / update from master: this gets the cynthia file, and I can continue

    • push this new file back up to my own branch on GH’s servers

    • make a new fake work file

      • publish/push

      • pull request

      • merge into main one more time