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From contributor to maintainer - any tips or advice?

๐Ÿ‘‹ Hello fellow devs!

For my 3rd Hacktoberfest challenge, I finally decided to participate mainly as a maintainer and I would like to share and discuss with you the benefits (and difficulties! ๐Ÿ˜ฌ) of it!

๐Ÿ‘€ My background

Coding and contributing to projects are only side activities for me. Still, I always loved the spirit behind open source projects and I wanted to be part of it!

๐ŸŽฏ Goals

I used to participate in the Hacktoberfest challenge as a contributor as it was for me a great opportunity to gain experience and to understand how things worked.

But I am also a maintainer of the project on Github.

It was then a good opportunity for me to change my approach: I decided that I would open issues on this project for contributors to work on. โœจ

I wanted to offer some really easy-to-resolve issues, more to understand how to contribute rather than actually coding - in short, everything that I wanted to find when I was a first-time contributor to the hacktoberfest! - which was for me a good way to start smoothly as a maintainer.

GitHub logo aliceandbob-io / aliceandbob

๐Ÿ” A free, light and easy to use client-side tool to generate PGP key pairs, encrypt and decrypt messages. ๐ŸŒ๐Ÿ”

A free, light and easy to use client-side tool to generate PGP key pairs, encrypt and decrypt messages.

โšก Looking for the desktop app instead? Go here or on its GitHub's page.

Check it out! ๐Ÿ”ฅ


Features โœจ

  • ๐Ÿ—๏ธ Generate PGP key pairs
  • ๐Ÿ”’ Encrypt messages with the public PGP key of the receiver
  • ๐Ÿ”“ Decrypt messages with your private PGP key

Tech ๐Ÿ”ง

  • Ruby (v2.6.5)
  • Rails (v6.0.3.2)
  • Stimulus JS (v1.1.1)

Library ๐Ÿ“š

OpenPGP.js (v4.10.10), a JavaScript implementation of the OpenPGP protocol. Find out more on

Contributing ๐Ÿฐ

Please contribute using GitHub Flow. Refer first to the open issues then create a branch, add commits, and open a pull request!

You can also read the CODE OF CONDUCT.

When forking and cloning the repo, don't forget to do the following:

  1. yarn install --check-files
  2. bundle install
  3. Duplicate the database.yml.template file andโ€ฆ

๐Ÿšง The journey

I started by opening begginer-friendly issues such as this one:

docs: update of the landing page #39

The screenshot that appears in the /app/views/pages/_section_webapp.html.erb page needs to be replaced. The new screenshot may be found here and is named screenshot-online-pgp-tool_v2.png.

By doing so I was able to follow the work of potential contributors, to answer them and to guide them if needed. It was also the opportunity for me to understand the role of a maintainer and a reviewer, to assign properly issues and to make sure that contributors would follow the guide of conduct and the Git and Github concepts.

So far so good I must say! I am learning a lot as a maintainer, which is not always as easy as I would have thought! ๐Ÿ˜…

๐Ÿ”ฅ Next steps!

My Hacktoberfest 2021 experience as a first-time maintainer is really exciting and I will definitly participate next year as I am learning a lot.

But now, I would like to be able to open several and complicated issues at the same time, dealing with multiple pull requests and struggling with merge conflicts ๐Ÿคฏ In short, going a step further in open-sourcing the project!

I was then wondering what was your experience of it, both as maintainer and as contributor. What makes a good maintainer? What are the biggest issues you are dealing with? Are you sometimes overwhelmed with inputs from contributors? etc.

I would love to read from you all! ๐Ÿ™

Thanks a lot for reading and for your comments!

Happy Hacktoberfest to all of you! ๐ŸŽƒ

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