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Discussion on: Learn by Contributing

nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor (he/him) • Edited
  • I would say only work on stuff that you find interesting and challenging. Otherwise don't bother. You won't enjoy it.

  • When I first started learning react, I started contributing as a way of learning. I found a react boilerplate project, react-slingshot, and just started offering suggestions that became PRs, and also did bug fixes. Eventually I was asked to become a maintainer to which I said yes.

coryhouse / react-slingshot

React + Redux starter kit / boilerplate with Babel, hot reloading, testing, linting and a working example app built in

Build status: Linux Build status: Windows Dependency Status Coverage Status

A comprehensive starter kit for rapid application development using React.

Why Slingshot?

  1. One command to get started - Type npm start to start development in your default browser.
  2. Rapid feedback - Each time you hit save, changes hot reload and linting and automated tests run.
  3. One command line to check - All feedback is displayed on a single command line.
  4. No more JavaScript fatigue - Slingshot uses the most popular and powerful libraries for working with React.
  5. Working example app - The included example app shows how this all works together.
  6. Automated production build - Type npm run build to do all this:

React Slingshot Production Build

Get Started

  1. Initial Machine Setup

    First time running the starter kit? Then complete the Initial Machine Setup.

  2. Clone the project

    git clone

  3. Run the setup script

    npm run setup

  4. Run the example app

    npm start -s

    This will run the automated build process, start…

Takeaway from this is open source is a great way to learn from others and if you contribute enough to a project, you may be asked to become a maintainer (if that's your jam).

  • In terms of problems/solutions, the more recent one I had while converting the Refined GitHub extension to TypeScript (TS), I had converted everything to TS, but webpack builds were failing. So initially, I tried some configuration changes in regards to webpack and the TS config, but no dice. I compiled each entry point from webpack directly with the TS compiler and they built fine, so clearly something was not right with webpack/TS situation.

At this point I started to debug webpack, specifically the ts-loader plugin. If you've never debugged webpack code, you can run the following command to get started with the debugger. node --inspect-brk ./node_modules/webpack/bin/webpack.js. I found the error that was being thrown from webpack in the code and put a breakpoint there. First I saw that the files weren't being generated. When I reran the debugger, this time I saw that a particular boolean was not set properly which was related to webpack/TS configuration. Once I fixed the configuration, I was good to go. Takeaways, use your tools. Also, I was probably tired at this point and probably missed the obvious misconfiguration. πŸ™ƒ

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agoldis profile image
Andrew Goldis Author • Edited


  1. I started using refined-github :)
  2. Would you mind if I copy your comment to the article? It's very inspirational and a good showcase of real-world example
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nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor (he/him)

Sure, no problem.

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agoldis profile image
Andrew Goldis Author

πŸ‘πŸ» thanks a lot!

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