Cover image for Any contribution to Open Source is valuable

Any contribution to Open Source is valuable

nickytonline profile image Nick Taylor (he/him) Originally published at iamdeveloper.com on ・2 min read

We hear people say it all the time, but I would like to reiterate it. Any contribution you make to open source is a valuable contribution. Sure we all like adding features or fixing bugs in a project, but updating documentation is still worthwhile. I was reminded of this on the weekend.

My site, iamdeveloper.com, is currently using Gatsby, an awesome React based static site generator on steroids.

For tweets on my blog posts, I had installed the gatsby-plugin-twitter about a year ago. It was working well for me, but then I came across this tweet.

I checked out the npm package, @raae/gatsby-remark-oembed and then followed the links to the repository and demo. It looked pretty awesome and fast and it supported much more than Twitter. I installed the package, copied the code snippet to add to my gatsby-config.js and was all good to go.

I fired up my development environment and I was getting errors about the plugin not being found.

Error: Unable to find plugin "gatsby-remark-oembed". Perhaps you need to install its package?

I was a little perplexed, read over things several times in the documentation and then came to the realization, that since the author published the package, the name of the npm package was not the same name, it was a scoped package, i.e. @raee/gatsby-remark-oembed instead of gatsby-remark-oembed (like in the code snippet in the documentation). I was glad I figured out what was up. I got the plugin running locally and then I published my site and was good to go. I was also happy to have migrated it to TypeScript, but we'll save that for another post.

At this point, I was like, well if I spent 15-20 minutes trying to figure out what was up, I'm sure others would appreciate what I had discovered, so I put up a PR to update the documentation. It got merged and I felt just as good about adding these 6 characters, @raae/ to the code snippet in the documentation as I do when I fix a bug or add new functionality to a project.

Every contribution to open source is valuable.

Thanks for the thanks @raae !

Photo by Slava Bowman on Unsplash

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nickytonline profile

Nick Taylor (he/him)


Senior software engineer at DEV/Forem. Caught the live coding bug on Twitch at livecoding.ca


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Great post. I'm sure you saved multiple people from falling to the same trouble you went through. I totally agree with this that any contribution to an open source project is a valuable one. I started my own open source project recently and I got a pull request the first day to fix the copyright year in the footer of my site. It was a simple, but very helpful fix. I really appreciated that someone took the time to fix it. I would be willing to be that these kind of issues are seen by lots of people and they think that someone else will fix it since it is so easy to do.


That's great you started Dancing Vikings, dancing-vikings.github.io. Best of luck with the projects!


Whoa. I haven't looked into Gatsby yet since I'm not running a site any more, so I didn't realize it's that "cool". Kinda reminds me of:


To each their own. I appreciate the feedback, but that wasn't the point of the post 😉


Does your backup tool allow you to exclude node_modules from backups?

I wish there was a way to have .backupignore files.


Hi Nick, can you enlighten me on the benefits of using Typescript on React? If it's about type, don't we have propTypes for that? Thanks


Proptypes are fine if you're just validating the shape of props that JSX consumes, but proptypes won't be able to check the types of the rest of your codebase. That's where TypeScript, Flow or a language like Reason come into play.

Also, with TypeScript, the refactor story is much better, there's intellisense etc.


In fact, if you use VS Code or even Code Sandbox for your JavaScript based projects, all the refactoring capabilities under the hood are thanks to the TypeScript language service, since JavaScript is valid TypeScript.

Oh I see.. been considering TypeScript for a long time, but haven't learned it because I don't know what tangible benefit it offers. I think I will look into your source code for better understanding. I'm looking forward to your TS post 😁

In the meantime, check out this post. There's some great TypeScript resources in there.


I also wrote this article for newer devs getting into open source. Contributing to documentation is always appreciated and it's a great way to start contributing. If you're looking for some help in getting started in open source, look no further than @jess ' post.


That is a very good story.
My first Open source contribution was on the OWASP Top 10 and I had a lot of fun addind things to that project and contributing to the community.


Thanks, I needed to read this today!