Allow initial commit to be via the web interface

Issue #12350 resolved
Robert Weigel
created an issue

A user should be able to add a file to an empty repository via the online editor, without first needing to initialize the repository on the command line.

The motivation for this feature request is based on experience in requiring my students to submit all of their code to a Bitbucket repository for grading (for the past three semesters).

Most of the students have never used the command line or SCM. The class usually starts out with a month-long introduction to programming.

The first thing they do is set up a Bitbucket account. Then, for the first few assignments, I have them submit their HW using the web interface (I have tried having them submit using the command line or a GUI, but this leads to too much confusion).

Ideally, this would be the workflow:

  • Create a Bitbucket account.
  • Create a repository using the web interface.
  • Submit first 3-4 HWs using the web interface.
  • Teach them how to use the command line or a GUI to clone repositories locally '''later in the semester''' after they become familiar with some of the repository terminology from using the web interface.

At present, the biggest hurdle is having them create a repository using the command line. They make typos (often they copy the $ character in the instructions and literally type mkdir /path/to/repository, even with explicit instructions not to do so), are confused by git warnings, and don't understand any of the repository creation commands. This is a terrible way to start a class - each command line command requires an explanation that they are not ready for. The GUI is even worse - they don't understand Git terminology and there are too many buttons to misclick.

Without the ability to create a repository with the web interface, I have decided that in the future it would be easier if I did it for them myself (20 students per class typically!).

Comments (6)

  1. Robert Weigel reporter

    At present, I can create a new repository with the web interface (not sure if that was possible before). When I click the "Source" link for the newly-created repository, I see

    "The source directory is empty. Get started with your first commit."

    which links to commands like

    Only after I do the command line instructions do I have the option to create files with the web interface.

    So it seems that I would like the option of having my first commit be using the web interface only.

  2. Alastair Wilkes staff

    This isn't a perfect solution to this problem - ideally you'd be able to upload any file, which is something we're considering adding - but you can now create a README or .gitignore file directly from the repository blank state.

  3. Robert Weigel reporter

    Upgrades to the interface over the past year have resolved the problem associated with the feature request. (Thanks!)

    Command line interaction is no longer required for a person to be able to create a repository to be able to start adding files using the "+ Add File" icon. I have the students copy and paste their code into the web interface and tell them there are better ways to interact with the repository that they'll learn later. After working with the web interface for a while, it is much easier to teach the command line methods because they have become familiar with SCM terminology.

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