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Contributing to an Open Source Project - journal

Having been away from coding for almost 2 years, it feels good to be able to slowly come back to it and refresh what I have learned. It is a slow progress but one of the things I would like to do more this year is Open Source contribution.

I would like to one day make a PR for an issue that requires me to submit my code but any contribution, however small, allows me to refresh and relearn the process of using Github and git.

I came across Bekah's Postpartum Wellness App through her journey on Twitter as I have been following her for awhile and Virtual Coffee. As a new mum to my soon-to-be 12-month-old baby boy, this hits close to home as I suffered from Postpartum Anxiety. I think her passion project can be useful to a lot of mums.

So I reached out to her to ask about how I can contribute. I have very little knowledge about React Native - I know it's a framework to build a mobile app using React. I know a bit of React and I always wanted to learn React Native. It's been on my to-learn list since last year when I had an idea about a mobile app that I wanted to build which I never really executed because a newborn baby was on the way.

Bekah was up to walk me through things so we are scheduling something for that. In the meantime, I wanted to take a look at the repo, read through the README and check out the issues. While reading the file, I clicked on the contributing link but it redirected me to a 404 error page. So I thought, maybe this is something I can fix.

I have forgotten all the steps on what to do with git and Github! One thing I didn't want to do was mess the whole repo structure. So I did everything very cautiously.

πŸ“Œ What I did:

  1. Fork the repo. What this does is it makes a copy of the repo to our own repo.
  2. Clone the repo in desired local folder. git clone <repo link>
  3. Open the repo folder in Visual Studio Code.
  4. Checked out the files and made sure to install any dependencies => I realized Bekah uses Yarn in her project, which I have never installed and used so I installed Yarn.

To make changes to the file, you want to work on a new branch rather than the master branch.

πŸ“Œ So this is what I did:

  1. Create a new branch git branch <name of new branch>
  2. Go to the new branch git checkout <name of new branch>
  3. Make changes to the file.
  4. Add changes via git add .
  5. Commit changes via git commit -m <commit message of changes you made>
  6. Push changes via git push origin <name of new branch>
  7. Open a Pull Request.
  8. Now we wait patiently for the OS maintaner to review it and give us feedback.

So that was my first pull request of the year! HURRAY πŸŽ‰

This whole process allowed me to refresh git and Github. Now onto understanding React Native πŸ™‚

Here are some resources I found useful:
-Your first open source contribution: a step-by-step technical guide
-Git Cheatsheet

Cover Image by Richy Great on Unsplash

Top comments (1)

firstchaircoder profile image
Joshua A.

Thanks for sharing, Cristien. I really do hope you continue on your journey back to coding. This gave me confidence when I started contributing on Open Source. I just thought to come back here months later and appreciate you. Thanks so much!