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Advanced Open Source

yuanleemidori profile image Yuan-Hsi Lee Originally published at dev.to ・2 min read

What is the difference between programmer and developer?

After taking the Open Source Development course last term, I started to think about this question.

After 2 years studying in computer programming in college, I may be confident enough to say that I'm an okay programmer, I know how to solve the issue and make the program works. However, it is not enough for a developer. A developer should be able to design the program and write quality code. What is quality code? In my opinion, it has to be well-structured in order to efficiently use the resources, no duplicates, and easy to maintain.

And these are the abilities that I need to gain in order to become a real developer. The Open Source Development course that I took last term helped me to get these conclusions and gave me some experience to practice.


This semester, I take an advanced version of open source development, Open Source Development Project. We're focusing on 2 part in this advanced course, keep diving in open source community, and start to work on project management.

Project management

We're using an open source web application project to practice project management. For example, we've already had our first triage meeting in this week. In this very first meeting, we, the new team members learned about the schedule of release. Also, we went through the rules and steps of reviewing open PRs. Reviewing other people's PRs seems to be overwhelming and difficult, but it can actually be analyzed in different ways. Reviewing PRs isn't only about checking code, it also relates to managing the description and ensure the contributor and the maintainer are on the same page. Moreover, by declaring the issue and PR content, the maintainer can give the contributor more help.

Even though we are provided with an excellent documentation to teach us how to do the PR review, I'm still a bit anxious about reading people's code since I'm not sure whether I'm able to handle it or even be good enough to understand the code. However, I'll never know how good or how many things I should learn until I do a real PR review. By practical experiencing it, I'll figure out what kind of help I need to ask for and what else do I need to learn.

Keep contributing

In the last term, I started to contribute to the open source community. During the time, I began to work on browser extensions and some new languages and tools such as Python and Docker. In this term, I do have interests on VS Code extension and also want to keep working on browser extension. However, from my experience in the last term, I found out my JavaScript skill needs to be improved. Moreover, I'm not quite familiar with NodeJS and some popular JS frameworks such as React, NextJs, and Gatsby.

Therefore, I want to get more familiar with this powerful language and gain experience on these tools. I will be focusing on the projects using these frameworks in this term. If possible, I would like to try on VSCode extension or some more complex browser extensions.

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