Skip to main content

Navigating code on GitHub

You can understand the relationships within and across repositories by navigating code directly in GitHub Enterprise Cloud.

About navigating code on GitHub

Code navigation helps you to read, navigate, and understand code by showing and linking definitions of a named entity corresponding to a reference to that entity, as well as references corresponding to an entity's definition.

Code navigation display

Code navigation uses the open source tree-sitter library. The following languages and navigation strategies are supported:

LanguageSearch-based code navigationPrecise code navigation
C#
CodeQL
Elixir
Go
Java
JavaScript
PHP
Python
Ruby
TypeScript

You do not need to configure anything in your repository to enable code navigation. We will automatically extract search-based and precise code navigation information for these supported languages in all repositories and you can switch between the two supported code navigation approaches if your programming language is supported by both.

GitHub has developed two code navigation approaches based on the open source tree-sitter and stack-graphs library:

  • Search-based - searches all definitions and references across a repository to find entities with a given name
  • Precise - resolves definitions and references based on the set of classes, functions, and imported definitions at a given point in your code

To learn more about these approaches, see "Precise and search-based navigation."

Future releases will add precise code navigation for more languages, which is a code navigation approach that can give more accurate results.

Jumping to the definition of a function or method

You can jump to a function or method's definition within the same repository by clicking the function or method call in a file.

Jump-to-definition tab

Finding all references of a function or method

You can find all references for a function or method within the same repository by clicking the function or method call in a file, then clicking the References tab.

Find all references tab

Precise and search-based navigation

Certain languages supported by GitHub have access to precise code navigation, which uses an algorithm (based on the open source stack-graphs library) that resolves definitions and references based on the set of classes, functions, and imported definitions that are visible at any given point in your code. Other languages use search-based code navigation, which searches all definitions and references across a repository to find entities with a given name. Both strategies are effective at finding results and both make sure to avoid inappropriate results such as comments, but precise code navigation can give more accurate results, especially when a repository contains multiple methods or functions with the same name.

If you don't see the results you expect from a precise code navigation query, you can click on the "search-based" link in the displayed popover to perform search-based navigation.

Search-based code navigation link

If your precise results appear inaccurate, you can file a support request.

Troubleshooting code navigation

If code navigation is enabled for you but you don't see links to the definitions of functions and methods:

  • Code navigation only works for active branches. Push to the branch and try again.
  • Code navigation only works for repositories with fewer than 100,000 files.

Further reading