Just do it!

Contributing to open source projects is a vital way to contribute meaningful improvements to the libraries and frameworks that you love and use. It may seem daunting at first, but there are simple and easy ways that you can get your name on the contributer list and improve people's experiences.

Documentation

If you're nervous about diving into the wide world of open source contributions, the best way to ease into the water is do add clarifications to documentation. Hop on over to http://www.github.com and search for your favorite repo and check out the docs. The easiest way to find a place to contribute is to have experience with that piece of software and identify any pain points you had. Let's say you were using Tuxedo.js and you had trouble with one of the methods. Perhaps the documentation was unclear or had spelling errors, anything that could impede someone's use of that library or framework is any easy way to add a contribution. Now that you've found a place to contribute, let's take a look at the steps you need to take to get your addition in the repo.

Steps to contributions

  1. On the right hand side of a repo, there is a tab for Issues.
  2. When you click on that tab, it will open up a list of issues that are currently being investigated.
  3. Before adding your issue, be sure and read through the list of open issues and check if yours is already being addressed.
  4. When adding your issue, be specific and propose a solution!
  5. When you have a solution, fork and clone the repo, make a fix branch
  6. Add your changes and push it up to your repo and make a pull request!

Why you ask?

Contributing to open source projects is great for many reasons. Coding for fun is a great way to develop skills and comfort in areas in which you aren't a specialist, or areas that you don't focus on at work. It keeps coding as a passion and not just work. Contributing to open source projects also allows someone to really connect to the community and push development forward as a part of that community.

If you are not employed, contributing to an open source contribution will help you develop connections, be interesting talking points during interviews, and also be visible examples of your coding ability.

What now?

Head on over to you favorite projects Github repo, clone that sucker down and pick something to work on. It can be anything! Fix some spelling errors! Update some documentation! Implement more robust testing! Just do it!

Tags

OSC , Open Source , Programming

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