re: Open source contribution for beginners?! VIEW POST


Are there any open source projects you use in any of the work you do? That's a good place to start. Occasionally, I'll look at dependencies in projects I'm working on and see if they have any issues I could help with. It's a good way to give back.

Also, contributions don't need to be large or complex. I've made contributions where the only thing I helped with is to fix some spelling mistakes or fix typos in documentation.

Some general advice when you want to make a contribution:

  • Start by thanking the author(s) of the project. It always helps to be nice.
  • Read their contribution guidelines. Most projects have one. For example, some projects don't accept new features.
  • If you're unsure if they'd accept a change, open an issue and propose your change. Ask them if it's something they'd be interested in.
  • If you find a bug, submitting an issue with a failing test case helps. Then if they ask if you have time to fix it, you're already on your way.
  • Try to be available to communicate in a somewhat timely manner. Sometimes a pull request might go back and forth through a few rounds of changes. Timely communication helps and makes the process easier for everyone.
  • Follow the conventions laid out by the project. If they write tests a certain way, try to follow that instead of your own style.
  • When you open a pull request, try to explain as much as possible. If the project has a pull request template, follow that.
  • In general, be nice and easy to work with. No open source maintainer is going to get mad at you for being nice.

Good luck! Contributing to open source is a worthwhile endeavor. If you make it something you do regularly, you'll have a handful of contributions one day.

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