I have suggested to all my software engineering colleagues that a lack of git command line experience does not have to be a deterrent to diving into open source. Developers who are familiar with Visual Studio can quickly get up to speed with branching, merging and pull requests. My blog has been built around learning so I acknowledge up front that this gap is me being purposefully obtuse.

So you have no command line experience and someone has sent you a pull request at GitHub, here is what you do.

On GitHub click on your list of Pull request (PR) and click on the PR you want to review, you should have the opportunity to click on the “..open this GitHub Desktop…”.

open this in GitHub Desktop

Edge, in this instance, will attempt to open GitHub for Desktop.

Did you mean to switch apps?

Click Yes and you will open up the cross platform Electron based Desktop app, it is a wonderful UX.

github desktop app opened at the pull request

If you open up the Visual Studio project associated with this repo it will have also switched to the PR automagically! Now you have the opportunity to test and review all the changes outside of the GitHub site within the more familiar settings of Visual Studio.

GitHub Visual Studio Extension

To take this to the next level I strongly recommend the use of GitHub for Visual Studio Extension which further allows you to view, check out, and review pull requests right within Visual Studio. Once installed this extension creates a new tab next to your solution explorer with a list of pull requests.

Reviewing pull request in Visual Studio

By clicking on the pull request you get full access to a list of the changed files and you even get to do diff on the changes right there!

Review pull request with a file diff

Just like at the GitHub site you can also put inline comments on each file and of course you can Add your review while Approving or Requesting changes. Frankly this extension allows you to completely manage your entire Github life cycle without the command line.