The Non-Developer’s Guide to Managing Your Application’s Code

by | Nov 8, 2020

As a self-starter business owner you might feel more in control of your applications if you had access to the code. In this non-technical guide, I’ll review key phrases and terminology, how to take ownership of your code, and how to download and keep an eye on code changes from your computer.

Phase 1: Get Familiar with a Few Important Terms

Here are a few key terms that you should be familiar before you get started.

GIT Repository:

This is the technical term for the place your code is stored. Think of it like a folder in the cloud that encompasses all code needed for your application.


Is one of the most popular GIT services that is now owned by Microsoft. GitHub allows you to store a Private Repository and manage who has access to your code.


A commit is simply a “change” to your application’s code. Developers will work on an app on their computer (locally). Once a batch of changes are completed they will commit those changes to the repository. This just updates the code base with a new version. Typically these are captured in a commit message.

GIT Desktop Manager

Software that is installed on your computer to more easily manage changes. Typically developers will use terminal command lines to get updates and push new updates, but as a non-developer, I recommend using a GIT manager. I’ll suggest two options later on.

Phase 2: Take Ownership of Your Code

If you hired a contractor or development team to build your app, odds are that they might still be setup as the “owners of your code”. If you are starting a brand new project, then you can create the repository yourself and invite development team to access.

Steps to Complete

  1. Setup a Github account – you will need to be on the personal $7/mo plan in order to create unlimited private repositories
  2. Request transfer of ownership from developers
  3. Invite your developers back to the code base after you take ownership

Phase 3: Download a Copy of Your Code

By default, ever single change to the code in your GIT repository and is backed up automatically. However, you may have a peace of mind knowing that

Steps to complete

  1. Install a GIT manager (Github-free or Gitbox-$15)
  2. Go to GitHub and copy the URL
  3. “Clone” or download a copy to a folder on your computer

Final Thoughts

Congrats, you are now fully in control of your application’s code. You can now also keep an eye on changes to the code and never have to worry if work is being done or not. Note that you don’t have to be a developer to see commits or changes being made to your app.

If you have any questions, please reach out in the comments or via our website.