I took a week off from blogging and in that time a couple of things changed. I joined Gatsby and became an open-source project maintainer overnight. 😳
As a result, I've had a lot of new experiences over the past week. I thought it would be fun to share some of them, as well as things I've learned. Perhaps they'll come in handy for others.
Github UI tricks!
As it turns out, Github has wonderful documentation and that's been incredibly valuable as I learned how to use the UI in a new way.
For reviewing pull requests (PRs), using the files changed tab was helpful. Especially for PRs that encompassed multiple commits or multiple files.
Another trick I loved was line by line comment changes. I'd submitted PRs before and seen edits like that, but I never really knew how it was done until now.
Upstream is not a git keyword
Another trick I loved was from my new boss @marcysutton . I've forked repositories and set upstream repos before. But when following the documentation I'd never realized that
upstreamwasn't a required keyword, it was just a variable name.
This is incredibly valuable because the Github UI is powerful, but it isn't always enough. In certain cases, I want to pull down contributor changes in order to run them locally. Since
upstreamis only a name, I can use the contributor's name instead. That makes it easier to keep track of multiple forks.
As an aside this is why changing names when you go through tutorials is so helpful. You learn what is and isn't fungible.
Attention to Detail
When reviewing PRs there is a lot to consider! My role is on the Learning Team, so I'm looking at whether the information is accurate from a technical perspective, whether it's written clearly, if it follows our style guide and a number of other things.
It can be easy to miss one of those items by focusing too much on another. In addition, every PR is considered with an eye towards the project as a whole, and being new I don't know all of our docs yet. Or our features. Or, anything really!
So it's definitely a challenge to hit the ground running. But what's wonderful is that I can leave comments for the things I find, and other team members can add on with their contributions. The beauty of open source at work.
All eyes on you
One of the fears in open source is that all your work is in public and everyone knows when you make a mistake. But I learned pretty quickly that the projects move so fast, and there are so many PRs, that it's impossible to keep track. So rest assured that no one is judging your contributions, only reviewing them for alignment with the project.
And if you need further evidence of that, I give you my first PR. Complete with a typo...🤦🏻♀️ Proof
Open source never sleeps
Hacktoberfest is one of the busiest times of the year for open-source projects. But even still, my Github email notifications were non stop. I love completing tasks, so this is going to be an adjustment for me. I will never "finish" reviewing PRs, because there will always be more coming in.
Thinking of PR review as a timeboxed activity is important. By doing that, I can also move forward our long term initiatives, instead of playing Lucy on the conveyer belt.
These are just a few scattered thoughts from my first week. But I hope this was a fun insight into my new role. Happy maintaining!